Derby County 2 : Huddersfield Town 0 – 5th March 2016

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Well that was a bit strange. Played off the park at times by a very neat & literally luminescent Huddersfield side, we ended the game as reasonably well deserved victors. That 5th place in the league looks pretty solid for the time being. Promotion is not a priority though. It’s not a results game. Obviously.

After the usual lunchtime Welsh Rarebit with Spicy Kev we actually had the opportunity to watch a scintillating game of high tempo, top class, end to end football for once. Sadly, the Spurs v Arsenal game was over pretty quickly & we had to settle for a less than hopeful discussion regarding our prospects for the main event.

The team news was sort of encouraging. No Johnson thankfully, out due to illness. Russell & Thorne dropped, presumably due to their poor performances v Wolves. Hanson, Blackman & Ince back in. No place in the squad (yet again) for the tweeting warrior, Camara. Yet another player who’s arrived at the iPro & then only had a passing acquaintance with the 1st team squad.

And Ince on the left.. What a revelation! To be fair, Ince had a great game, Huddersfield afforded him a lot of space, he linked up well with Olsonn &, of course, there was none of that cutting in nonsense you get from him on the other side. He probably should have had a couple of goals but hopefully that’ll come IF he stays in this new position.

Huddersfield started the game really well, knocking the ball round very prettily but effectively too. They went through our midfield like it wasn’t there at times & might have scored 3 goals in the first 20 mins. How embarrassing would that have been? I’d done a bit of research on their Head Coach, David Wagner, before the game & he’s certainly not what you’d expect from your average Championship manager. A few hundred appearances for a few disparate German sides, 8 caps for the USA national team & 5 years looking after Borussia Dortmund’s reserve team. Not bad.

Anyway. We steadily got back into the game. The usual shot wide of the post from Blackman, a deflected attempt from Ince hitting the bar & then we were in the lead, courtesy of a newly short haired Martin. Christie raided down the right & whacked in a powerful cross, right onto the head of our top striker, who adroitly placed to ball past their goalie. They’d both done well with that & it was good to see them celebrate together. Maybe Wassall’s introduced some team spirit with his go kart trip after all.

Half time came and went. Now we’d got the lead, you would have thought it was an opportunity to bang in a few goals and take advantage of any fragility on Huddersfield’s part. Nope.

Huddersfield had a good 15 minutes or so after the restart, with Paterson coming closest. We sort of got back into it after that and carved out a couple of chances each from Ince and Martin. Ince was the closest, with a powerful drive that had the beating of their goalie but bounced off the top of the bar.

A double substitution after 64 minutes proved to be a source of controversy despite having an eventual positive impact on the game. Bryson and Russell came on to replace Blackman & Butterfield. You could understand Blackman being taken off as, yet again, he was like a lost soul stuck out on the right. It would be interesting to see him working with another striker in a front two but I just don’t think that’s ever going to happen. As for Butterfield, he’d done pretty well & had certainly played better than Hendrick. However, his departure provoked a chorus of boos from the Huddersfield fans & some Derby fans too (unless the iPro acoustics were playing up). There were also some chants of “You don’t know what you’re doing” thrown in Wassall’s direction.

Things did improve though, so the Head Coach must have done something right. Both Russell & Bryson added energy & impetus in midfield. Before long we had doubled our lead after a fine finish from Russell, following some nice link up play from Martin & Hendrick.

And that was really it, bar the shouting. Just time for Hanson to come off to a standing ovation when he was replaced by Thorne. He’d done well I thought. Several dangerous set pieces and a few crunching tackles. Perhaps Wassall will rotate them from now on? We’ll see. We’ll also have to see if Wassall continues his fist pumping celebrations at the end of any future victories. Not sure about them myself. Let’s see if he does it after the QPR game.

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