Derby County fell to a 1-0 defeat against Coventry City in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday afternoon.
Maxime Biamou bagged the only goal, just ten minutes into the game when a mistake at the back saw him played clear through to slot past Kelle Roos, who was between the sticks for the second consecutive game after David Marshall picked up an injury against Nottingham Forest.
Wayne Rooney shuffled the pack again ahead of the trip to St. Andrews with Colin Kazim-Richards, Martyn Waghorn, Jason Knight, Nathan Byrne and Max Bird all returning to the starting line-up after the Rams’ defeat at Cardiff City.
Ahead of the game, all Derby County players and staff stood side-by-side on the touchline, which they will continue to do ahead of games, in a collective decision to stand together instead of continuing to take the knee. It was unanimously decided that the symbolic gesture is not enough and more needs to be done to fight all forms of discrimination.
The Rams also wore a black armband to honour former Academy player Matty Langton and promotion-winner Mickey Lewis, who both sadly lost their lives this week.
The first flash of positive play from the Rams came inside eight minutes when Nathan Byrne combined with Patrick Roberts on the right. The winger set Graeme Shinnie who pulled back from 20 yards out and his deflected effort was parried towards Jason Knight at the back post, but the offside flag was raised as he looked to hit the rebound.
Straight down the other end, Matt Clarke’s foul on Biamou gave Coventry a free-kick from a dangerous position. Gustavo Hamer dipped the shot on target, but Kelle Roos did well to hold on to the powerful effort.
The Sky Blues took the lead just ten minutes in when Byrne looked to pass across goal. Callum O’Hare intercepted the pass and played quickly forward to Biamou who went one-on-one with Roos, picked his spot and drove his low effort past the Rams’ keeper.
Roberts looked to get the Rams back level midway through the half when he caught out the Coventry defence out. The Derby winger was on the front-foot in the area and was quickest to react to jump on a bad touch from keeper Ben Wilson. Roberts struck across goal, but a deflection send his shot out for a corner.
The resulting corner was played short to Byrne who picked out Clarke by the post with a low pass, but Wilson read it well and met the defender’s sweeping effort.
Just after the hour mark, Roos was called into action to deny a close-range header before playing it forward long to give the Rams a chance on the attack. Lee Buchanan put a good ball into Kazim-Richards at the back post, slotted between two defenders, but he glanced his header just wide.
Moments later, Matty James was a whisker away from doubling the host’s lead when Hamer set him 25-yards out. He rifled an effort that rattled off the post.
Another chance fell to the Sky Blues with 20 minutes remaining when a ball over the top was brought down by Biamou and his half volley glanced wide of the far post.
The Rams were unable to find a way back into the game and will look to bounce back when they travel to face Barnsley on Wednesday 10th March.
Coventry City: Wilson, Ostigard, McFadzean, Kelly (C), Biamou, O’Hare (Sheaf, 90), Hyam, McCallum, Dabo (Pask, 74), James, Hamer (Allen, 74).
Substitutes: Marosi, Rose, Gyokones, Walker, Godden, Shipley.
Derby County: Roos, Wisdom (C), Shinnie (Watson 69), Bird, Waghorn (Gregory, 69), Byrne, Kazim-Richards, Clarke, Roberts (Jozwiak, 69), Buchanan, Knight.
Substitutions: Idem, Forsyth, Edmundson Mengi, Sibley, McDonald