Writer: Steve Guscott
Date:Thursday March 11 2010
10th March 2010
The Royals comfortably beat Derby with a professional performance to run out 4-1 winners in an eventful game that saw Rams midfielder Robbie Savage play more than 45 minutes in goal. Shane Long, Jimmy Kebe, Ryan Bertrand and Simon Church grabbed the goals, Gilles Sanu had equalised for the visitors.
Brian McDermott switched back to a 4-4-2 formation and brought back Grzegorz Rasiak in place of Simon Church upfront. That was the only chance from the defeat by Aston Villa at the weekend with the returning Zurab Kizhanishvili left on the bench with Ivar Ingimarsson and Matt Mills still at the heart of the defence.
In the opening seconds Jimmy Kebe raced down the right hand side and crossed for Gylfi Sigurdsson who headed over, but it only took 8 minutes for us to take the lead. Shane Long got on the end of a flick from Kebe and raced past the defender as if he wasn`t there, and his finish into the bottom corner was sublime.
Sigurdsson could have scored again moments later when he volleyed over and then Ram`s keeper Stephen Bywater was forced off with a back injury. At the time it wasn`t clear how key this would be to the rest of the game when sub Saul Deeney came on for his debut.
The visitors equalised against the run of play when a poor clearance from Matt Mills eventually found its way to Gilles Sanu who poked the ball past Adam Federici.
We continued to dominate though and deservedly took the lead again with 10 minutes left of the first half, Kebe latching onto Jay Tabb`s pass and racing through on goal to give the deputy keeper no chance.
Before the break Tabb raced through the middle of the Rams defence, and rounded Deeney but was brought down for a clear penalty. The ball was going away from goal but the ref still decided that the keeper had denied a clear goal scoring opportunity and sent the replacement stopper off. After much deliberation the enigmatic Robbie Savage took the Gloves but he wouldn`t need them for the resulting penalty, Long blasting it high over the bar. A very eventful half came to and end.
The second period saw the Royals extremely edgy, with the home support expecting a rout that never looked like it would arrive. Eventually though after Savage had made a world class stop from Sigurdsson`s free kick and then also denied Kebe and Long, the third goal finally arrived, and from an unlikely source left back Ryan Bertrand.
The ball fell to the on loan Chelsea man in the area and he smashed home with his right foot into the roof of the net. Simon Church and Brynjar Gunnarsson were introduced not long after and it was the Welsh striker who added the fourth.
Savage denied him initially but the ball fell back to the young striker and he tapped into an empty net to round off the scoring. It was not the best performance we will ever put in, and in truth it was scrappy at times, but a well deserved win and another 4 goals to boost our goal difference.
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Date:Thursday March 11 2010
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