Brentford 2 Derby County 1
Andre Gray 49 Chris Martin 27
Stuart Dallas 90+3
The log jam nature of the Championship was evidenced again as the Rams slipped from top of the league to 5th place owing to this defeat at the hands of Brentford that was capped off by a late late winner from Stuart Dallas.
For the second league game in succession the Rams went in at half time 1-0 up and ended up losing the game – maybe it is a Uwe Rosler thing as this occurred against his current and former teams – hopefully so as we will now have got this bad habit out of our system until the reverse matches – but there does appear to be a falling away of performance and application across these two games.
Ifs ands and maybes serve no benefit but it is hard to ignore the fact that if, for instance, we had gained 4pts from those two half time positions we would still be top tonight with a lead of 3pts over third place.
The Rams started well in this game, passing the ball around fluently and creating half chances and indeed chances the best of which Simon Dawkins was not able to put away.
A characteristic finish by Chris Martin from an excellent Craig Forsyth cross just before the half hour put us 1-0 up and continues our Number 9’s golden run of form that has produced 12 goals so far this season and 8 goals in his last 8 games.
It is not difficult to see how important he is to us not only from his goal scoring contribution but also what he adds to the build up play and attack.
It is interesting to look at Chris Martin’s career stats before and after last season (2013-14)
Prior to August 2013 he had scored 57 goals in 221games (a goal in every four games roughly) but since the start of last season he has scored 37 goals in 72 games (better than a goal in every two games) a significant upturn in scoring rate and one that certainly puzzles a Swindon Town supporting work colleague of mine who saw him on loan at that club two years ago.
As has been the case in a few games now the Rams tempo went off the boil and allowed the opposition a way back into a game we really should have closed out if we want to live up to ambitions of a top two finish.
Brentford hit Derby on the break as the half was barely five minutes old Andre Grey looping a shot into Jack Butland’s goal and the rest of the half was one that fell into a pattern of even possession without either side really carving out any meaningful chances.
Steve McClaren shuffled the pack in a predictable fashion with Will Hughes replacing Craig Bryson and Jordan Ibe replacing Simon Dawkins, and a little more surprisingly removing Johnny Russell from the fray with Paul Coutts taking his place.
Will Hughes’ presence had an immediate impact and we did look more threatening with him co-ordinating play.
- Being wise after the event is the easiest job in the world but why he and also John Eustace did not start is a pertinent question. It was a question, though, that was not particularly welcomed in the after match interview on Radio Derby as we got our first appearance from grumpy Steve McClaren this season in response to Owen Bradley’s reasonable queries.The last ten minutes of the match became more fractious with yellow cards flying around and tempers fraying. The Rams carved out a couple of half chances that never really developed but were not able to hold onto what would have been a decent point as Dallas struck a cross that had made its way across the Rams box first time and it flew into the net. Two home games now before the international break and there is a sense of unease around about our performances in the last two league games. Two confident performances and six points from those home games would give a boost to us all but Huddersfield fresh from their 3-0 win over Forest and Wolves having an excellent season following promotion will be a test for us.