Vital three points secured at Pride Park
npower Championship . . . Derby 1 Ipswich Town 2
CAPTAIN David Norris and new-boy Jimmy Bullard were the Town scorers, as Paul Jewell’s side picked up a vital three points at Pride Park.
Town went behind to a Bueno goal in the seventh minute, but a Bullard bullet and a classy Norris winner in the second half, sealed the points.
Town boss Jewell made two changes to the side that had bowed out of the Carling Cup at Arsenal seven days ago, in their last outing.
In addition to Bullard coming in for his Town debut, having signed on loan for the rest of the season from Hull City last week, Lee Martin returned to the side after being cup-tied for the Gunners trip.
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Defender Darren O’Dea and midfielder Colin Healy were relegated to the substitutes’ bench.
New recruit Andy Drury had travelled with the team, but a hold-up in the paperwork at his old club Luton Town prevented him from signing in time to play last night.
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The visitors had just one brief sight of goal before they conceded the early goal. New man Bullard whipped over a cross which squirmed through to Connor Wickham, only for the teenager to completely miss-kick on the edge of the penalty area.
Derby were threatening a second goal, just two minutes after Bueno had steered home his fourth goal of the season, and his first since mid-October. Defender Miles Addison met Davies’ corner with a header that ballooned over the bar.
It had been a nervous start from Town, and it needed a well-timed block-tackle from Carlos Edwards to deny the flying Davies a clean shot on target in the 13th minute.
Town finally threatened an equaliser on 26 minutes. David Norris slammed in a low left-footed drive that Bywater was at full stretch to push away to safety.
But two minutes later and Bywater found Bullard’s long-range rocket too hot to handle, to bring the scores level.
The Rams had a couple of half-chances, both falling to goalscorer Bueno, after the half-hour mark. The Spaniard blasted a 20-yarder over the bar, and was again off target with a flick-header from Davies’ free-kick.
There was almost an unfortunate moment for Damien Delaney, two minutes before the interval.
The Town centre-half over-extended himself, in trying to intercept James Bailey’s lofted ball over the top. The ball skimmed off his head and rolled goalwards, only for Fulop to smother the danger down to his right and so prevent an own goal.
Lone striker Tamas Priskin had hardly had a kick in the first half, but the Hungarian was not far adrift with a 20-yard snap shot that skidded a yard wide of target inside the first minute of the second period.
Otherwise, though, it was Derby who looked the more menacing during the opening stages of the second half
Davies pounced onto Delaney’s stray header and let fly with a thunderous volley which soared only a foot wide of the near post, while another long-range effort from Bueno was deflected off target for a corner.
Town weathered the storm and were close to taking the lead on the hour mark. Bullard surged through the middle and spread the ball out to fellow midfielder Norris, whose low drive whistled the wrong side of Bywater’s upright.
At the other end, McAuley was in the right place to charge down Davies’ fierce shot, following left-back Roberts’ strong run and cross on 63 minutes.
Three minutes later and livewire Edwards, always eager to get forward from his right-back role, nearly set up a goal for Delaney. His cross only required a touch, but it was too strong for Delanery with Bywater safely gathering.
However, Bywater had no answer to Norris’ slick finish on 68 minutes, and nor did Derby during the final quarter of the game.
The only other main highlight was a young Derby supporter, male, running onto the pitch clad only in his sky-blue boxer shorts. He ran towards Rams boss Nigel Clough, before eventually being halted in his tracks by a couple of stewards. That was with 10 minutes remaining.
There was one glimmer of hope for the Rams, when Edwards upended Pearson just outside the box on 85 minutes. But Davies’ free-kick struck the defensive wall and rolled to safety.
Into stoppage time and another free-kick from Davies was clawed over the bar by the back-pedalling Fulop.
That was Derby’s last chance, and the final whistle was greeted with a chorus of boos from the home crowd.