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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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Matches

Table

Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Bournemouth 21 39
2 Middlesbrough 21 39
3 Derby County 21 38
4 Ipswich Town 21 38
5 Brentford 21 37
6 Watford 21 35
7 Norwich City 21 33
8 Blackburn Rovers 21 31
9 Nottingham Forest 21 30
10 Charlton Athletic 21 30
11 Cardiff City 21 30
12 Wolverhampton Wanderers 21 30
13 Sheffield Wednesday 21 28
14 Bolton Wanderers 22 26
15 Fulham 21 25
16 Birmingham City 21 25
17 Reading 21 25
18 Huddersfield Town 21 24
19 Leeds United 21 23
20 Millwall 22 23
21 Rotherham United 21 21
22 Brighton and Hove Albion 21 18
23 Wigan Athletic 21 17
24 Blackpool 21 13

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