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iPro Stadium (ATT 31,541) 25th April 2009 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: F Graham

Derby Derby County vs Charlton Athletic Charlton

Derby 1


Hulse winner sees Rams safe

Hulse scores to spark Pride Park celebrations

Last Updated: 25/04/09 6:32pm

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Hulse: Scored winner

Hulse: Scored winner

Rob Hulse was the hero as Derby secured their Championship status with a hard-fought 1-0 home victory over relegated Charlton.

Hulse headed home with 20 minutes to go to decide a scrappy encounter and spark celebrations at Pride Park.

It was apt he should score with the powerful header - which converted Barry Bannan's header back across goal - after being named Derby's player of the year before kick-off.

There were few chances in a dour first half, with Martin Albrechtsen heading Derby's only on-target effort, while Kris Commons twice shot wide from long range.

Nick Bailey, Charlton's top scorer with 12 goals this season, had two shots from distance for the visitors but both failed to trouble Rams goalkeeper Stephen Bywater.

Hulse then went close with two headers from set pieces early in the second period before heading the Rams in front after the Addicks failed to clear.

Avoid battle

It was the former Sheffield United striker's 18th of the season, securing the Rams' ninth win at Pride Park this term and meaning they avoid a final-day battle against joining Charlton in League One next season.

Nigel Clough - who succeeded Paul Jewell as Derby boss on 6th January - had seen his side lose their last three games to still need a win to guarantee safety.

The hosts began the better, but it took 13 minutes before the first effort on goal was registered, with Albrechtsen heading Gary Teale's corner straight at Charlton goalkeeper Rob Elliot.

Teale's fellow Scotland international Commons shot wide from 25 yards and Jonjo Shelvey's delivery failed him as Charlton had a set-piece opportunity at the other end.

Commons then mis-hit a left-foot shot from long range as Derby again failed to test Elliot, before Bywater - previously a spectator - was called into action twice in quick succession by Bailey.

However both of the Charlton midfielder's efforts from 30 yards were held comfortably by the Rams stopper as the half ended goalless.

Second period

Hulse saw his second-half header from on loan Aston Villa midfielder Bannan's corner tipped over by Elliot before missing the target from Teale's corner kick shortly afterwards.

Albrechtsen headed wide from another Teale set piece before Mark Hudson headed over for Charlton from Shelvey's corner.

Zheng Zhi then twice shot wide from long distance before Hulse struck at the other end.

Charlton defender Kelly Youga failed to clear Teale's corner and the diminutive Bannan headed back across the area for Hulse to power in his effort into the top corner.

Shelvey twice had efforts off target and substitute Tresor Kandol missed from 12 yards, while Commons shot over at the other end.

Hulse then missed the opportunity to add a second from 12 yards after 86 minutes but the Rams held firm to claim the vital win.

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Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Watford 45 88
2 Bournemouth 45 87
3 Middlesbrough 45 84
4 Norwich City 45 83
5 Ipswich Town 45 78
6 Derby County 45 77
7 Brentford 45 75
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 45 75
9 Blackburn Rovers 45 64
10 Charlton Athletic 45 60
11 Birmingham City 45 60
12 Nottingham Forest 45 59
13 Cardiff City 45 59
14 Sheffield Wednesday 45 59
15 Leeds United 45 55
16 Huddersfield Town 45 54
17 Fulham 45 52
18 Bolton Wanderers 45 51
19 Reading 44 47
20 Brighton and Hove Albion 45 46
21 Rotherham United 44 42
22 Millwall 45 41
23 Wigan Athletic 45 39
24 Blackpool 45 25