Derby County extended their unbeaten run to five matches in all competitions, as they came from behind twice in a 2-2 draw with Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium.
Middlesbrough took the lead after 16 minuets, thanks to a 25-yard strike from Lewis Wing. Derby improved in the second half, but there was an element of fortune about the equalising goal, as Jason Knight’s cross deflected in off the far post.
Paddy McNair put Middlesbrough back in front from the penalty spot, after Patrick Roberts had been brought down by Matt Clarke in the box, but Derby snatched a point in injury-time with a stunning volley from Duane Holmes.
The result means that Derby remain 17th in the Championship table, level on points with Middlesbrough. Phillip Cocu’s side remain without at away win since the opening weekend of the season.
Here are THREE things we clearly learnt about Derby following their 2-2 draw at the Riverside…
They need to be starting matches better
Middlesbrough were all over Derby in the first half on Saturday and should have had more goals to show for it. Half-time couldn’t come soon enough for the visitors and they were lucky to go in at the break trailing by only one goal.
Cocu was able to get a response from his players in the second half and all credit to them for the way they were able to get back into the match.
However, the reality is that Derby need to be starting games better. On another day, had Middlesbrough taken their chances, this match could have been all over before half-time.
They showed great character
As mentioned above, Middlesbrough were by far the better team in the first half at the weekend and they easily could have scored more goals.
However, you have to give credit to the visitors for the way they came out fighting in the second half. Cocu would have demanded a response from his players at half-time and he certainly got one.
There may have been an element of fortune about their first equalising goal, but their overall performance and attitude was so much better than the opening 45 minutes.
At one stage, they actually looked the more likely to go on and win the match, before a clumsy foul by Clarke gave away the penalty. However, the players were still able to dig in and keep fighting. In the end, they deserved to come away with a point.
Wayne Rooney was influential again
Derby improved a lot in the second half and a lot of that was to do with the fact that Wayne Rooney was moved further forward.
He was used in more of a deep-lying role in the first half and although he didn’t have a bad game, he was far more influential in the second period.
A few weeks ago, there were those who felt that Rooney’s arrival at Pride Park couldn’t come soon enough and now it’s starting to become clear why. His experience and quality is clear to see and he should improve physically too as he plays more matches.
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Even after just a few games, it’s so clear to see that Rooney is going to be absolutely crucial to Derby’s chances of getting their season back on track.
Thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.