He scored the all-important matchwinning goal, but Tom Ince was left praising the manner in which Derby County were unaffected by falling behind at West Bromwich Albion.In a tight first half, Matt Phillips’ calm finish from 20-yards out put the high-flying Baggies in front at the Hawthorns, a goal that sent Tony Pulis’ side into the half time interval in front.
Ince, however, was in no doubt that Steve McClaren’s men could turn the game around and reach Round Four of the Emirates FA Cup, especially based on the display that he and the players had put in over the first 45 minutes prior to falling behind.
The 24-year-old told RamsTV after the game: “I thought we were brilliant in the first half. We kept the ball ever so well and it was just one mistake that gifted them the goal.
“We didn’t really let that affect us too much. We knew that if we could continue the style of play that we had done – continuing to show that endeavour to get forward – that we could make a change in the game.” A devastating start to the second half saw that very change take place as the Rams turned the game on its head with two goals in three minutes.
Darren Bent got the ball rolling, smashing a high effort beyond the reach of Boaz Myhill after good work by the impressive Abdoul Camara down the left, before Ince struck his ninth goal of the season with a free kick.
On his strike, Ince revealed the defining factor that made his mind up of what he was going to do when he saw the line-up of the wall.
“We work on those things the day before games to try and whip it across the area for the big centre halves to try and get their heads on it,” he said.
“Not on this occasion, though! I looked at it beforehand and thought it was a bit too central to cross it – it was quite a way out – but when I saw the ‘keeper line the three players up in the wall, I made my mind up.
“I have always said that you should never put wingers in the wall but when I saw my old partner in crime at Blackpool, Matty Phillips, on the end of it, I thought I would have a chance if I could bend it around him. “I managed to put enough pace and enough dip on it and thankfully it has found its way into the bottom corner.”
McClaren, the Derby manager, was seeking a reaction from their trip to the West Midlands, following their 3-0 defeat to Norwich City earlier in the week – their first loss in ten.
A goal in front with more than half an hour to play, there was still a lot of work to do and Derby were then at their defensive best, throwing their bodies on the line to make sure they saw the result out amidst a flurry of West Brom attacks.
Job done, Ince feels the Rams answered their manager’s call and got over the line with a fine show of character as well as quality.
He added: “The second half was all about reaction. That’s what the game was about after the Norwich game.
“This was a bonus game for us, a game to enjoy against a Premier League side at a great stadium.
“We had over 5,000 supporters come and watch us and we wanted to enjoy the moment. In the second half, we defended well when we had to against a very direct side.
“They put us under pressure at every opportunity and that’s something we coped with well. It was nice to get the two goals and see the game out by showing the great character to get over the line.”
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