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Matlock Town 0-1 Derby County

PUBLISHED

21:45 3rd July 2014

by DCFC Media

Rams kick-off 2014/15 pre-season fixture list with a win.

Craig Forsyth’s first-half strike ensured Derby County kicked off their preparations for the 2014/15 campaign with a victory, as the Rams overcame Matlock Town 1-0 at the Autoworld Arena.

In the 39th minute, the former Watford full-back played a neat one-two with last season’s top-scorer Chris Martin on the edge of the penalty area, before planting his left-foot through the ball, which rifled into the net beyond the reach of Matlock goalkeeper Jon Kennedy.

It was a moment of quality in the game that separated the two sides, as the Rams spent the majority of the opening 45 minutes retaining possession meticulously, playing neat football, but unable to penetrate a stubborn defence.

Head Coach Steve McClaren named a different starting XI for each half, with first-team regulars Martin, Craig Bryson, Jake Buxton and Johnny Russell all handed starting berths from kick-off, while the second period was a side predominantly made up of players from the development squad.

In the opening period, Russell had the first sight of goal, as in the twelfth minute, the former Dundee United forward pivoted 35-yards out prior to thundering a fierce drive against the crossbar.

Martin was next up to try and break the deadlock. The 25-year-old picked up Forsyth’s cut-back from the left, only to see his subsequent effort at goal fall straight into the arms of goalkeeper Kennedy.

The best opportunity of the opening 45 minute, psrior to Forsyth’s opener, fell to the hosts, with right-back Michael Harcourt crossing to Danny Holland, but the former Bradford Park Avenue forward could only prod the ball into the side netting at the near post.

Holland’s effort sparked the Rams into life, as moments after the Matlock striker poked an effort wide, Scotland left-back Forsyth interchanged possession with Martin on the edge of the box, before lashing the ball into the inside of Kennedy’s side netting. 

With the first-half drawing to a close, Bryson and Paul Coutts followed up their fellow Scotsman’s effort with fierce strikes of their own – both forcing Kennedy into fine stops, as the Rams ended the opening half in complete control.

In the second period, McClaren introduced an entirely different XI, as Rams fans were given their first glimpse of new signings Jonathan Mitchell and Alban Bunjaku, while one triliast replaced another as Mo Shariff came on in place of former West Bromwich Albion midfielder Scott Allan.

The youthful Rams were unfortunate not to extend their lead when England youth international Max Lowe was denied twice – firstly unfairly, by Dave Heggarty, as the left-sided player burst towards goal before being tugged back – and secondly by a fine save from Kennedy, who diverted the Academy graduate’s shot away from the bottom corner.

At the other end, Matlock had fleeting opportunities at the Rams’ goal, with substitute Matt Andrews going closest for the hosts, forcing goalkeeper Jonathan Mitchell into a fine one-handed save.

Derby County (first-half): Roos (GK); Freeman, Buxton, O’Brien, Forsyth; Bryson, Coutts, Allan; Martin, Ward, Russell.

Substitutes not used: Santos, Thomas.

Derby County (second-half): Mitchell (GK); T. Naylor, L. Naylor, Hanson, Rawson, Whitbread, Shariff, Lowe, Sammon, Bunjaku, Bennett. 

Substitutes not used: Santos, Thomas.

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