Game Report: Derby County 2-2 Birmingham City

Fresh faces, fresh result

In almost identical fashion to what Birmingham City did last week against Peterborough, a late response by beleaguered Derby County stole a point from the visitors in a very entertaining contest.

For much of the game, especially the first half, it was all Blues as the team used an aggressive pressing strategy. This resulted in an early goal less than 7 minutes in by newcomer Lyle Taylor, in his first game on loan from Nottingham Forest. He was assisted by Onel Hernandez, who also impressed last week in his own debut.

Despite having a sizeable possession deficit, the Blues looked entirely in control up to the break, racking up 9 shots. The advantage continued early in the second half, culminating in a flicked-in Scott Hogan goal – his fourth in five games – 56 minutes in. Just a few minutes later he barely missed an almost identical chance.

Then the wheels came off. City began to cruise for the next 15 minutes or so, and were possibly lucky to avoid a penalty when a shot deflected off Teden Mengi’s hand. Derby finally found some energy and in the 87th minute Luke Plange drew one back. That seemed to shock the Blues and then 6 minutes into stoppage time, midfielder Krystian Bielik added the second to tie the game. With no time left on the clock, that was how the game ended.

While the attacking play should give Blues fans something positive to take from this game – as well as the 3,000 of them who contributed to Derby’s best home attendance in a couple of years – the failure to close the game out is a concern.

That being said, Derby is not as bad a team as its 15 points suggest. Under administration (essentially, control by a bankruptcy court) they were hit with two financial fair play deductions totalling 21 points and are subject to a transfer embargo, Despite that, they have earned three more points than the Blues. With the tie, they remain in 23rd place. Birmingham jumps a position to 17th, but have played 3 more games than 18th place Swansea, who are 1 point behind.

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