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Derby County claimed a dramatic and late 1-0 win over Stevenage at Pride Park Stadium in Sky Bet League One on Saturday.

In a contest of few clear-cut opportunities at either end, substitute Louie Sibley scored with a first-time finish as the clock hit 90 minutes.

His fifth goal of the campaign meant the Rams were able to claim all three points and retain second place in League One table.

Key Moments

Head Coach Paul Warne made three changes from Tuesday evening’s impressive 3-0 victory at Exeter City.

Striker James Collins and winger Corey Blackett-Taylor both picked up issues in the match and were ruled out of the fixture. Left-back Callum Elder and midfielder Conor Hourihane shook off knocks to be included in the squad, while defender Ryan Nyambe returned to the fold after missing the Exeter trip with a minor problem.

Defenders Sonny Bradley and Nyambe, as well as forward Tom Barkhuizen, came into the side with Collins, Blackett-Taylor and Hourihane stepping out of the starting line-up.

With Collins absent for the first time this season, it meant Derby tweaked their system somewhat to accommodate for the loss of their leading goalscorer. Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Kane Wilson operated in wide roles, with Barkhuizen taking up a fluid central attacking role.

The opening exchanges provided little in terms of opportunities as both sides found their feet and it wasn’t until the 14th minute that a chance of any note arrived. A long throw into the Derby box by the visitors was hooked across the area by Stevenage's skipper Carl Piergianni and Jamie Reid, under pressure from Eiran Cashin, headed wide.

Derby worked themselves into some good attacking areas in the opening half an hour, notably from out wide, but they were unable to turn those moments into meaningful opportunities on goal.

A corner almost resulted in a goal for Stevenage on the half hour mark. The ball into the box from Derby’s left appeared to be directed goalward by the shoulder of Curtis Nelson, but fellow defender Bradley reacted quickest to hook the ball off the line and away from danger.

Derby survived another scare ten minutes before the break and this time it was goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith to the rescue. Another long throw into the area was flicked on towards Jordan Roberts at the far post and the Rams’ number one made himself big and kept out Roberts’ powerful effort with a fine block in what proved to be the final noteworthy action of the first half.

Warne’s side attacked towards the packed South Stand in the second period but, like in the first half, Derby were having to be patient in their approach to find a way through a well-organised and stubborn Stevenage defence.

The Derby boss opted to make a change just after the hour mark with Korey Smith making his first home appearance in almost three months off the bench in place of Nyambe, meaning Wilson reverted to wing-back and Smith slotted into his customary central midfield role. It was a move that helped see the Rams wrestle control of the contest.

Derby had a chance after 68 minutes, with Wilson the creator. A mazy run forward saw the Rams’ number two eventually spot Mendez-Laing's run inside the right-hand side of the box, but he couldn’t direct his strike on target as it flashed wide of the near post.

A good block by Bradley kept out Reid’s deft flick at the near post after Stevenage played a free-kick routine smartly the match entered the final 15 minutes, which came after a strong spell of Rams pressure.

Midfielder Max Bird looked to continue his excellent recent form with just under ten minutes remaining with a right-foot strike, however Taye Ashby-Hammond in the Stevenage goal got across to his left to push the ball away.

Sibley replaced Barkhuizen in the closing stages as the Rams looked to find a creative moment of magic in the final third to unlock the Stevenage rearguard. The 22-year-old did just that as the clock hit 90 minutes by turning Mendez-Laing's low cross into the back of the net with a first-time finish to send the Derby fans wild.

Derby were forced to roll their sleeves up to see out the closing stages as Stevenage threw men forward, but they did so with confidence to claim a vital victory in front of the home crowd.

The Teams

Derby County: Wildsmith (GK), Wilson, Bradley (C), Cashin, Barkhuizen (Sibley 81), Bird, Mendez-Laing, Elder, Nyambe (Smith 63), Adams, Nelson.

Substitutes Not Used: Loach (GK), Hourihane, Thompson, Fornah, Ward.

Stevenage: Ashby-Hammond (GK), James-Wildin, Butler, Piergianni (C), Forster-Caskey (Burns 73), Freeman, Roberts (White 79), Vancooten, Reid, Thompson (Oliver 90), Hemmings (Pressley 73).

Substitutes Not Used: MacGillivray (GK), Sweeney, MacDonald.


27,055 (1,042 away supporters)

What’s Next?

Derby will have the luxury of a full week on the training ground before heading to fellow top six rivals Barnsley in a week’s time on Saturday 24th February (3pm kick-off).

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