Rams fightback downs Owls
Derby County came from two down to secure a 2-2 stalemate against Sheffield Wednesday at Pride Park.
Last Updated: 06/01/08 4:55pm
A quintessential FA Cup third round tie ensued at Pride Park as Derby came from two goals down to secure a replay against a Sheffield Wednesday side that will rue a missed opportunity for a Premiership scalp.
All four goals were scored in a first half that was enlivened by high-octane and frenetic football but was in truth devoid of anything that even flirted with the idea of quality.
Indeed, Derby's defending in going two behind within 23 minutes was more befitting of a Keystone Cops farce than professional football.
The first saw young goalkeeper Lewis Price horribly embarrassed by Mark Beevers' on-target but tepid effort from distance; the second proving Derby's problems lie not just in youth, as the experienced Darren Moore allowed the ball to go over him as Marcus Tudgay nipped in to the delight of an impressive 5,500 away following.
Wednesday's joy was, though, to prove short-lived as Kenny Miller's typically predatory effort reduced the deficit, before Giles Barnes concluded the scoring on the stroke of half-time with a tidy finish after yet more poor defending.
When Price handed 18-year-old centre-back Beevers the first goal of his fledgling career in the eighth minute, the Wednesday followers broke into a chorus of 'that's why you're going down.'
That one incident summed up in a nutshell Derby's campaign as it was an error of their own making, and from an international into the bargain. There was no danger for Welshman Price as he dived low to his right onto Beevers' 20-yard drive, only to inexplicably spill the ball and watch ashen-faced as it trundled over his own goal-line.
But Derby's failings did not stop there as in the 15th minute Craig Fagan sidefooted over an open goal from six yards after a left-wing cross from Gary Teale had bounced off the bar.
Then midway through the half Darren Moore joined the error-prone club as he attempted to back flick a ball on to Price.
But the veteran centre-back barely got off the ground as the ball skimmed off the top of his head and fell into the path of Tudgay. The 24-year-old then scored his first goal since 27th October, ending a 12-match drought, with a precise shot inside the left-hand post.
Mercifully for Derby and Paul Jewell, Brian Laws' side are not one point off the relegation zone in the Championship for nothing.
Seven minutes from the break, Scotland striker Miller gave Derby hope as he made amends for a miss just two minutes earlier when he only had Lee Grant to beat.
Grant had also denied Miller just after the half hour, but he had no chance with a shot on the turn from 15 yards following a ball into the area from Fagan.
Then in the 44th minute Barnes capitalised on inept defending from Wednesday at a corner, allowing the 19-year-old to fire home a left-foot shot from 15 yards.
With the goals came confidence, and Derby should have clinched a place in the fourth round as they had the chances in the second half.
Within a minute Eddie Lewis dawdled on a shot following a fine run by Teale, while Barnes saw a 20-yard shot deflected inches wide.
Johnson also headed narrowly over and Barnes cleared the bar with a 25-yard free-kick before Grant pulled off a superb save to turn aside Teale's close-range volley.
Wednesday went close via a downward header from Tudgay that was saved on the line by Price, while another former Ram in Deon Burton had a goal disallowed late on.
|Derby County||Team Statistics||Sheffield Wednesday|
|2||1st Half Goals||2|
|5||Shots on Target||4|
|6||Shots off Target||3|