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Derby County moved to five games unbeaten following a 0-0 draw against Stoke City at Pride Park Stadium.

The Derby defence held strong again, earning a third consecutive clean sheet and limited the Potters to just a handful of shots leaving David Marshall without having to make a save.

However, despite coming close through Tom Lawrence, Colin Kazim-Richards and Matt Clarke the Rams couldn’t find the goal to give them the first home win of the season.

Midway through the second-half, it looked as though Derby would be awarded a penalty as Lee Buchanan came down in the box. However, in a bizarre moment, the referee blew his whistle then signalled a drop ball.

The Rams showed their attacking intent early on and were camped out in the Potters’ half for the majority of the first half, having a lions-share of possession and limiting the visitors to just one shot.

Within eight minutes, Lawrence came close to breaking the deadlock. The Welshman received the ball in space on the edge of the box and rifled a dipping left-footed shot looking to dip under the cross-bar, but it was watched well by Josef Bursik and tipped over.

The Rams remained patient and another close call came midway through the half. Buchanan skipped past two men on the edge of the area and lifted the ball over for Kazim-Richards to go one-on-one with the Stoke keeper. He went round Bursik and struck from a tight angle with a shot destined for the bottom corner, only to be denied by a sliding block by James Chester.

On the half-hour mark, however, Derby were forced to make their first change when Lawrence, who had already been down a couple of times already, was unable to continue and was replaced by Morgan Whittaker.

Ten minutes later, Whittaker came close too. Kazim-Richards held the ball up brilliantly just inside the Potters’ half and pinged the ball over the to the forward who saw a close-range effort deflected.

The Potters came out with more aggression in the second half and forced Derby to defend hard for spells in the early stages. They rode the storm out well and didn’t give Stoke a opening.

After the hour mark, Buchanan – who picked up and earlier booking – appeared to have been brought down in the area. The referee blew his whistle and with everyone inside Pride Park expecting him to point to the spot, instead he signalled for a drop ball, to the bemusement of both Derby and Stoke.

Buchanan was not booked and Derby were not penalised.

Soon after, Martyn Waghorn stood behind a free-kick from 30-yards out. He looked to take aim, but instead chipped over the wall to MClarke. The defender flicked the ball on for himself and took the shot but it was deflected wide of the far post.

Clarke came close again from another set piece with just under 10 minutes left to play. An outswinging corner met him at the back of the area and he headed powerfully on target looking for the roof of the net, but a brilliant save from Bursik tipped it over.

Derby were unable to find the winning goal and will be back at Pride Park on Wednesday evening to face Swansea City.

Derby County: Marshall (C), Wisdom, Bielik, Jozwiak (Ibe, 87), Bird (Sibley, 69), Lawrence (Whittaker, 32 (Waghorn, 69)), Byrne, Kazim-Richards, Clarke, Buchanan, Knight.

Substitutes: Roos, Forsyth, Evans, McDonald, Stretton.

Stoke City: Bursik, Fox, Chester (C), Brown, Fletcher (Oakley-Boothe, 83), Cousins, Powell, Thomson (Ince, 76), Tymon, Souttar, Collins.

Substitutes: Lonergan, Lindsay, Vokes, Shawcross, Verlinden, Porter.

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