Derby County match-winner Jamie Paterson has pinpointed Lukas Jutkiewicz’s penalty miss as the turning point during the Rams’ 3-2 victory over Birmingham City on Saturday.
Chris Martin and Martyn Waghorn had put Phillip Cocu’s side 2-0 up before Gary Gardner and Ivan Sunjic struck to level the scores, and Juktiewicz then saw his penalty saved by Kelle Roos before Paterson’s winning goal.
The narrow victory meant Derby secured a successful ending to a difficult week, which had seen captain Richard Keogh ruled out for the season following an “alcohol-related incident” also involving Liam Lawrence and Mason Bennett.
Neither of these players were included in Cocu’s squad for Saturday afternoon’s clash following their arrests during the week for a drink-driving offence which had seen Keogh seriously injure his knee.
However, the Rams did not let the incident affect them on the pitch as they secured their first win since the opening day of the season to ease the pressure on Cocu following a challenging period.
It was Paterson who secured Derby’s victory after he side-footed home Jack Marriott’s pass, but the forward has now claimed that Roos’ penalty save was the moment the match took a turn.
“I think we played well and deserved to be 2-0 up, but Birmingham are a very dangerous side and we let them back into it with two soft goals,” he told RamsTV.
“What we did do is respond and the penalty save was the turning point really before we got the winner. It was a good feeling to score soon after and it felt like an important goal.”
Paterson’s strike marked his first goal for Derby following his loan switch from Bristol City over the summer, with the 27-year-old also registering an assist for Martin’s late equaliser against Leeds last week.
It would have been an enormous relief for Derby to secure three points over weekend after an eventful week, and it is interesting to hear Paterson highlight the penalty save as they key moment rather than his own winning goal.
Jutkiewicz’s miss came at a time in the match where Birmingham were in the ascendency after scoring a quick-fire double just before the hour mark, but Roos’ stop swung the momentum back in Derby’s favour.
This could well go down as a crucial victory for Derby which kick-starts their season after an indifferent first two months, which has seen them draw five of their first nine league matches.
The victory over Pep Clotet’s side now moves the Rams up to 15th in the table and they can now start looking forward to the rest of their campaign, while putting the events of the past week firmly behind them.