James Chester scored early to secure Aston Villa’s first win in 2017, extending Derby’s winless run to five league games.
The hosts began the better of the two sides and went ahead when some poor defending allowed Chester to score. Cyrus Christie played a weak back pass to Derby keeper Scott Carson who was forced to clear. From the resulting throw in Villa earned a corner which was taken by Henri Lansbury and after some bad marking, central defender Chester headed past the helpless Carson.
Derby had 71 per cent possession but struggled to create opportunities in the first half. They were left massively hard done by when a cross found Darren Bent who was then tackled to the ground by Nathan Baker. Baker was nowhere near the ball, it looked a clear penalty but referee Andrew Madley chose not to give it.
The visitors then had another penalty shout when Alex Pearce was brought down in the box after a set piece. This led to frustrated Rams boss Steve McClaren storming onto the pitch at the break to question Madley’s perhaps incorrect decisions.
The home side came close to adding to their tally early in the second half. After a quick counter, a dangerous cross from the right found Andre Green who’s diving header hit the post before being cleared by Richard Keogh. Derby captain Keogh got injured in the process and was forced off, being replaced by Chris Baird.
Steve Bruce’s side had another chance to seal the win at the second half’s midpoint. After Derby failed to clear a cross, Villa full back Alan Hutton tried to place a shot into the corner but Alex Pearce threw his body in the way to block brilliantly.
The Rams then began to completely dominate as they searched for an equaliser. They brought on David Nugent and youngster Mason Bennett who made his first appearance for the first team in over two years. The closest the Rams came to levelling was when a Cyrus Christie cross found ex Villa striker Darren Bent who headed brilliantly before his effort was saved spectacularly by Sam Johnstone.
The Derby onslaught was held when in added time, Aston Villa midfielder Leandro Bacuna went head-to-head (literally) with the assistant referee after a decision wasn’t given his way. Bacuna was then sent off, putting a slight dampener on his sides win as they managed to hold on.
Derby striker Darren Bent speaks post match:
Derby boss Steve McClaren speaking post match:
Derby youngster Mason Bennett speaking post match:
Nobody could fault Derby’s effort and desire but they failed to create enough big opportunities. I feel the decision not to give a penalty for Baker’s foul on Bent was a key point in the game. Next up for us is Blackburn away on Tuesday night, yet another brilliant opportunity to end our poor form.