Two second half goals gave Derby the win in a game missing a lot of our big names, including new boy Charles N’Zogbia, but provided a useful, if uninspiring, run out for a lot of young squad players.
This post is more a stake in the ground to record the result, I managed to pick up very little during what was very much a low key, perhaps even dull, affair. From pictures at the ground, and descriptions floating around the web, McLeish seems to have stuck with the 4-2-3-1 we’ve favoured of late:
I would have expected Eric Lichaj to make this line-up, but the good folk of Twitter reliably inform me that he’s carrying an injury at present. Must have missed that myself. EDIT: Lichaj must have made some kind of amazing recovery because he managed to play 59 minutes in a reserve game against Tamworth tonight (04/08/11).
Derby opened the scoring a little more than 10 minutes into the second half after Shane Lowry handled in the box blocking a shot on goal and Steven Davies sent Brad Guzan the wrong way from the spot. McLeish responded by sending Nathan Delfouneso on in place of Fabian Delph.
Jonathan Hogg and Gary Gardner came on for Darren Bent and Jean II Makoun shortly after, leaving Delfouneso as the lone striker and Ciaran Clark with the armband. Both Hogg and Gardner picked up bookings during their limited time on the pitch.
Ben Davies made it 2-0 to the home side with a little less than 15 minutes left on the clock with a shot from the edge of the box that Guzan had little hope of saving. Apparently.
And that’s how it finished. A comfortable win for the home side and perhaps a little toothless from a visiting side that provided few positives. BBC WM Radio reported the lack of chances created as one particular point of concern; Darren Bent barely had a sniff, and Stephen Ireland was apparently anonymous once more.
So, just the one game left to dial it in for the new season. The squad will jet out to Portugal to take on Braga at their fantastic stadium on Saturday. Hopefully the surroundings can inspire something a little more positive.
Derby County Starting XI: Fielding, Brayford, O’Brien, Shackell, Kilbane, Bailey, Cywka, Hendrick, B Davies, Maguire, Tyson. Subs: Anderson, Legzdins, Bryson, S Davies, Doyle, Robinson, Croft, Ball, Jones.
Aston Villa Starting XI: Guzan, Herd, Beye, Clark, Lowry, Albrighton, Makoun, Delph, Bannan, Ireland, Bent. Subs: Marshall, Williams, Johnson, Gardner, Carruthers, Hogg, Delfouneso.
[Pride Park Pic: MattB88]