Friday, 27 January 2017

Derby County 2 v Leicester City 2 - FA Cup 4th Round

Friday 27th January 2017
FA Cup Fourth Round
at the IPRO Stadium (Pride Park)
Derby County (2) 2
Darren Bent 21, Craig Bryson 40
Leicester City (1) 2
Darren Bent 8 OG, Wes Morgan 86
Admission: it said £21 on the ticket, but I received it as a gift
Programme: £3. Attendance: 25,079
Not what I'd expected to be doing tonight at all; in fact prior to taking a phone call while I was just about to go down 'our hill', in East Retford upon Idle, to pick up a 'chippy tea', my destination for tonight was going to be Brooksby Melton College, to watch a Mansfield Town's Under 21 side take on Boston United in a practice match on the 3G pitch (for the record Boston won 3-0).
But a meeting place near Pride Park (AKA Subway) was quickly organised and I was soon on my way to pick up a match ticket and car park pass... as the lure of the magic of the FA Cup gripped me by the knackers,
As a consequence, I wasn't ever so well organised upon my arrival and any photos that I have used to break up my monotonous text tonight, were taken earlier in the season, when I saw Mansfield Town win at 'the Ipro Stadium' and Birmingham City lose.
It was too wet to take many notes or risk water damaging my phone taking pictures.
Any slight pangs of a guilty conscience that I may have felt about getting a free ticket tonight, were somewhat offset by the fact that I had paid £32 when Gianfranco Zola's Blues played here in December... and as I recall, they were bloody awful!
Besides, on the subject of ex gratis gifts, I put a lot of unpaid hours in each and every week, in pursuit of doing all manner of jobs for several clubs, who ply their trade at different levels of the game... and I seldom hang on to my petrol receipts; so the odd freebie every now and then doesn't hurt anybody.
I put in far more tan I ever take out, 'nuff said!?
For the record, I nearly always take my own food with me to matches and I don't actually like prawn sandwiches.
So anyway, on  with the game...
Derby are unbeaten at home since Steve McClaren returned as manager. while the Foxes have won away from home just once all season, when a brace of goals from  Ahmed Musa, saw them overturn a one goal deficit to beat Everton at Goodison Park, in the third round of the FA Cup. The Rams won at West Bromwich Albion by the same score in the previous round, with Tom Ince and Darren Bent, both scoring after the Baggies were a goalin front at half time.
The last time I was here, Darren Bent scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot, but he eclipsed that achievement tonight by scoring for both teams inside the opening twenty one minutes.
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His first was an own goal of epic comedy proportions, when he miscued a goal line clearance, after Chris Baird had inadvertently directed the ball towards him, from Huth's header back across the six yard box from Marc Albrighton's right wing corner kick.
Bent made amends, when he directed a glancing header beyond the reach of Kasper  Schmeichel, after Will Hughes had latched onto the Leicester keeper's punched clearance before picking out bent with a pinpoint cross.
Hughes put in a dominant performance before having to leave the field of play halfway through the second half with a pulled hamstring... the outcome might have been different, if the England U21 midfielder had seen out the whole game, such was his influence.
Craig Bryson put the home side ahead five minutes before the break, when he made a surging run past three pedestrian Leicester defenders before planting his angled shot into the net across the face of Schmeichel, the ball took a slight deflection off of Huth, but was goal bound all the way anyway.
HT: Rams 2 v Foxes 1
So, WTF has happened to Leicester City, who are seemingly trying to reclaim their unenviable title as being a perpetual yo-yo team, who regularly switch their league status between the top two divisions? Because having stormed their way to the Premier League title last season in a remarkable fashion, that was probably only ever bettered by Nottingham Forest as a fairy-tale scenario when Brian Clough took over at struggling Nottingham Forest and led them to promotion, league championship honours and back to back European Cup triumphs, Claudio Ranieri's side are currently only five points above the relegation places... though ironically, they are through to the knockout stages of the European Champions League as well.
Teams who were caught out by Leicester's game plan last term, seem to have the measure of them now and last season's top flight scoring sensation Jamie Vardy isn't having a party anymore and is currently suffering from a severe goal drought. I'd go so far as to say, that if he carries on playing like he did tonight, he'd struggle to get back into the Stocksbridge Park Steels team.
But joking aside, good players don't become bad ones overnight and once Vardy gives his head a shake and stops getting carried away with all of the hype, he will be back among the goals.
This one wasn't taken tonight
Leicester had enough chances to get back into the game, but Scott Carson, the Rams keeper made some good stops, while also demonstrating no small amount of good positional awareness and benefitting from a decent portion (plus second helpings) of good fortune once or twice, especially when he saved a Shinji Okazaki shot by catching the ball between his thighs.
Demarai Gray crashed a shot against the upright and right at that moment in time, it looked as if Leicester wouldn't be in the hat for the fifth round draw (yes, I know that it is really a suede draw string bag with monogrammed FA crest on it that the FA Cup draw balls are kept in, but it has always been called a hat and probably always will be), but Wes Morgan headed home Gray's corner with just four minutes to go, to take the game to a replay.
The home side had good reason to feel aggrieved when they weren't awarded a penalty late in the game, when Abdoul Camara's shot hit Huth's hand. It was a 'ball to hand' call, but Camara had hit the ball cleanly and it was on target, but Mark Clattenburg is a better referee than the likes of you and I could ever aspire to be, so give him his due and accept the decision... while calling Leicester dead jammy!
FT: Derby County 2 v Leicester City 2
...and neither was this!
A draw  was just about a fair and just result all told.
The replay will take place on Wednesday 8th February at the King Power Stadium in Leicester.
Both teams now face away gamesin the league this coming Tuesday, with Derby heading to Portman Road to face Ipswich Town, while Leicester take on Burnley at Turf Moor.
I got soaked to the skin tonight, but it was a decent game, full of twists, turns and sub plots and it was a good night, in spite of the Subway 'meatball marinara' being completely inedible and only fit to chuck at the old guy selling half and half Derby/Leicester scarves.
I didn't actually see anyone buying one BTW, nor did I actually throw the sloppy mess at him.