Jacob Brown scored the only goal of the game and took advantage of the unique goal opportunity. Nick Powell found a seat on the right before noticing a mismatch at the far post. It was Brown versus Jason Knight in an aerial battle that Knight barely got going. Powell floated a cross to allow Brown to attack and he got his head off the six yard box so Kelle Roos had no chance.
Brown’s header ended a terrible run for the Potters but extended derbies. Wayne Rooney’s team have now played seven games without a win and have failed to score in their last six games for the fifth time.
The two teams struggled to find their groove in the first half hour of the game. Stoke dominated possession, but it often ended with a long ball that Andre Wisdom or Matthew Clarke had to deal with – which they did with ease.
Instead of scoring goals or even trying, the first half became a game in which both sides try to commit as many fouls as possible without being booked. Derby won that fight when Tom Smith received a yellow for a lively challenge against Lee Buchanan.
Derby’s first shot came in the 43rd minute when Colin Kazim-Richards ripped out of range, he dragged his bet and the goalkeeper which didn’t bother Potters. The first half finally came to an end and only the one shot on goal was registered.
In the second half it was similar, but Clarke played a well-timed pass that Patrick Roberts could follow. Roberts linked up with Louie Sibley, who shot his shot and scored a goal kick.
Derby was substituted on three times after having virtually no chances for all games. The approach changed immediately, Kamil Jozwiak ran after and Tom Lawrence stepped into the box.
After a short break of five to ten minutes, gaps opened and both teams began to get involved. But it took halfway decent delivery to break the impasse. Powell was seated on the right and noticed a mismatch at the rear post. He swung a delivery in which Brown rose over Knight and walked home from the six-yard box. The Rams keeper had no chance.
Despite the deficit, Derby didn’t seem more likely to hit than in the last 70 minutes. It was Stoke who came forward looking for a second but was denied by another head try.
For Derby they remain winless in the last seven games, but Stoke climbs on the table and holds their tight playoffs Hopes up.
Derby started with three in the back, Mengi in the middle, Clarke on the left and Wisdom on the right. They had Nathan Byrne and Buchanan as full-backs with Graeme Shinnie and Jason Knight in midfield. The hero from the comeback against Brentford, Sibley, sat in the hole behind the two attackers Kazim-Richards and Roberts.
At times Derby played a high line that forced Stoke to pump long balls behind the defense. They also fought to win the ball in areas where they could capitalize.
In the second half, Rooney made all three substitutions at once. It almost changed the shape to five in the back, three in midfield, and two on top. The two front runners were Lawrence and Jozwiak – they brought a bit more pace and high press, but not much more.
After leaving a goal behind, they opted for three in front, which made them look even more incoherent. Derby lacked a plan that all eleven players on the pitch were familiar with. They lacked chemistry, looked lost, and ended up confused.
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