Robins hit by late Rams rattle
Hulse grabs winner to boost Derby's survival hopes
Last Updated: 07/03/09 5:27pm
Hulse: Late winner
Rob Hulse pounced for a late winner as Derby County put a dent in Bristol City's promotion hopes with a 2-1 win at Pride Park.
The Rams enjoyed a dream start on home soil when Chris Taylor followed up his midweek brace with the opening goal inside 60 seconds.
A point appeared on the cards when Gavin Williams equalised for City on 83 minutes, but Hulse earned Derby another vital victory with the decisive goal just two minutes later.
Porter resumed where he had left off in midweek.
The January signing from Motherwell scored his first goals for the Rams in Wednesday's 2-2 draw against Swansea, and wasted no time in adding to his tally for Nigel Clough's side.
Robins midfielder Lee Johnson failed to react to a loose ball in the middle of the park after Jamie McCombe's headed clearance.
There was no such hesitation from Mile Sterjovski, who collected the ball and drove forward down the right side of the City penalty area.
The Australian sent a low ball across goal where Porter was lurking unmarked to turn it past the helpless Adriano Basso.
Gary Johnson's side responded well to their early setback and Nicky Maynard should have brought them level after seven minutes, however the former Crewe striker never looked confident when one-on-one with Stephen Bywater and the Rams goalkeeper blocked his shot.
Two minutes later neat play between Maynard and strike partner Stern John on the edge of the box saw the former force Bywater into another save.
The Robins continued to put their hosts under pressure and were seeking a penalty when Lee Johnson's free-kick appeared to strike Lewin Nyatanga's arm in the defensive wall.
The ball was half-cleared but launched straight back into the penalty box and McCombe struck the post with a header.
McCombe then looped another headed effort on to the roof of the net from Jamie McAllister's free-kick midway through the half.
City's seemingly relentless assault on Bywater's goal showed no signs of easing and the goalkeeper had to get down quickly to smother a snap shot from Lee Johnson following good work down the right from Maynard just after the half-hour mark.
Goalscorer Porter had to go off at the break with a hip injury, forcing Clough into a reshuffle.
Porter was replaced by Andy Todd and the centre-half was used as a holding midfielder as the Rams adopted a rigid 4-5-1 formation, with Gary Teale occasionally supporting Hulse.
It did little to change Derby's fortunes in the early stages of the second half as the visitors continued to press.
John headed over from Michael McIndoe's corner after 51 minutes, before the hosts provided a rare threat just after the hour mark, and Sterjovski was again the instigator.
His through-ball set Hulse free down the right side of the box but his shot was palmed away by Basso.
The Brazilian then blocked an effort from a similar position from Nacer Barazite after 65 minutes.
Much like the first half, City enjoyed the bulk of the possession but they were unable to create the number of chances they had prior to the break.
Williams forced Bywater into action with a volley from the edge of the area midway through the second half.
Gary Johnson brought on forwards Ivan Sproule and Peter Styvar in an attempt to find the equalising goal.
The Robins almost shot themselves in the foot after 77 minutes by handing Derby a second goal.
Confusion between Basso and Bradley Orr resulted in the defender's backpass going beyond the goalkeeper who raced back to slide and kick the ball off the line.
Williams looked to have salvaged a deserved point for the Robins when his volley flew past Bywater and into the bottom corner.
But Hulse had other ideas. Teale crossed from the left and the big striker got across his marked to volley home from eight yards.
Sky Bet Championship
Sat 7th Mar
Derby2 - 1Bristol C
N Forest1 - 1Swansea
Blackpool2 - 0Norwich
Birmingham1 - 0Southampton
Plymouth2 - 2Reading
Charlton2 - 3Watford
Sheff Wed0 - 1Wolves
QPR0 - 0Sheff Utd
C Palace2 - 1Preston
Cardiff3 - 0Doncaster
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