Derby County 2 Ipswich Town 0
Derby County won three points at home for the first time in the Frank Lampard era courtesy of a couple of fine strikes from Joe Ledley and Tom Lawrence against Paul Hurst’s Ipswich.
The away side – who have yet to win under new manager Hurst – impressed for spells of the game but were undone on both goals from set-plays.
The first of these – on 59 minutes – came as a result of a corner taken by Chelsea loanee Mason Mount. Ipswich centre-back Tota Nsiala could only head out into the path of Welshman Joe Ledley, who steadied the ball and then hit it to Bialkowski’s left from 20 yards out. It looked like it may have deflected off Ipswich captain Chambers on the way in.
Derby’s second came following a free-kick awarded against Nsiala. Former Ipswich loanee Tom Lawrence struck the free kick through the wall with goalkeeper Bialkowski only getting his left hand to the ball late on as it ricocheted backwards into the net.
Derby County: Carson, Forsyth, Bryson, Tomori, Keogh, Mount, Lawrence, Evans (Ledley 27), Bennett (Jozefzoon 69), Nugent (Marriott 78), Bogle
Unused: Roos, Wisdom, Waghorn, Lowe
Ipswich Town: Bialkowski, Donacien, Nsiala, Chambers, Knudsen, Chalobah, Skuse (Downes 55), Ward, Nolan, Edwards (Roberts 75), Harrison (Jackson 63)
Unused: Gerken, Spence, Sears, Kenlock
Lampard’s Derby set up in what was broadly a recognised 4-3-3. The defensive line of Forsyth, Tomori, Keogh and Bogle had protection from George Evans as a sitter (later Ledley when Evans went off injured). Ahead of the pivot was Craig Bryson and Mason Mount. Wide players Mason Bennett (right) and Tom Lawrence (left) supported central striker David Nugent.
Once the game had settled, it was clear Paul Hurst’s team has chosen to set up in a variation of 4-3-3 – namely a 4-1-3-1-1 system. The back line of Donacien, Tsiala, Chambers and Knudsen had Chalobah acting as a screener, with a three-man midfield of Cole Skuse, Gwion Edwards, and Grant Ward in front of him. Jon Nolan played off striker Ellis Harrison.
First half takeaway:
The Rams started the game at full throttle. Neat passes along the ground in central positions were consolidated with increasing numbers of attacks down Derby’s right side. Although this early rhythm from the home team suffered a slight setback when Ipswich midfielder Nolan went down injured and play stopped, the Rams picked up where they left off. Again, Derby looked to build from the back, particularly through Fikayo Tomori who regularly brought the ball forward to find teammates in space. Derby’s emphasis on utilising the flanks resulted in left-back Craig Forsyth and winger Lawrence increasingly teaming up against Ipswich right-back Donacien – something which forced Gwion Edwards to track back in order to offer defensive support.
Ipswich, meanwhile, were starting to play positively with Grant Ward situated in an advanced left position and aiming to stretch the Derby back-four. Whenever the Blues won throw-ins deep inside the Derby half they looked a threat – this was seen with the fact that the Rams continued to get nine outfield players behind the ball when defending. Having been exposed in 4-1 defeat by Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds last time out at Pride Park, Lampard wasn’t going to take any chances, and was keen to ensure his high defensive line wasn’t exploited. With Curtis Davies injured, Chelsea loanee Tomori was able to add technical ability and pace alongside skipper Richard Keogh’s no-nonsense defending.
The away side’s sharp play mostly came through Jon Nolan. Hurst’s new signing from Shrewsbury Town continued to demonstrate well signing him was money well spent, as he increasingly proved the pick of the bunch of the Ipswich players with his ability to pick a pass , drive forward and glide opponents, in addition to bringing teammates into play around him. In fact, Nolan was playing as a supportive striker to Ellis Harrison for most of the half. This allowed Harrison to keep popping up in the inside-forward positions on the left and right of the pitch, with his teammates often making runs into the box. In addition to this, Ipswich’s commitment to press was seen once again with tricky winger Gwion Edwards applying pressure from the right-hand side.
Derby continued to dominate with centre-backs Tomori and Keogh compressing the pitch a long way from their own goal. When Ipswich’s Trevoh Chalobah lost possession near the halfway line, midfielder Mason Mount kept up the pressure on Ipswich, picking balls up and offloading to the advancing Craig Bryson. On one such occasion, Bryson’s cross was just overcooked as he aimed for the head of striker Nugent in the penalty box. Mount’s runs would continue to provide Keogh and Tomori with plenty of options going forward as Derby’s front players continued to interchange and offer flexibility in performing different roles. Ipswich responded by dropping back to a 4-1-4-1 while playing in the defensive phase.
Second half takeaway:
Less than ten minutes into the second half and Hurt decided to freshen things up by taking off Cole Skuse and bringing on Flynn Downes in a like-for-like swap. It was just after this substitution that Ipswich nearly scored the opening goal. Grant Ward delivered an accurate ball from the right, taken following a Tomori foul. Jumping higher than the home defenders, Ipswich captain Luke Chambers was only able to direct his header high of Scott Carson’s goal. Admittedly, he was surrounded by opposition players which prevented him from getting a run up prior to attacking the ball.
Once Derby had scored the game’s first goal on 59 minutes via substitute Ledley, Paul Hurst responded by bringing on Kayden Jackson for Ellis Harrison in what was initially a like-for-like. Five minutes after that, Derby doubled their advantage through a free-kick from Lawrence which caught Bialkowski off guard (he looked unsighted as the ball was struck).
Frank Lampard made his side’s first change, removing the tiring Bennett and bringing on the pacey Florian Jozefzoon. The substitute got into a running battle with Ipswich’s Danish left-back Knudsen – just as Bennett had – with the Dutchman often used as a direct outlet on the wing as Derby tried to score a third. Ipswich too had an impact sub as former Crawley player Jordan Roberts put in a bright display after replacing Gwion Edwards. Roberts added some clever movement, and also applied late pressure on Derby’s young right back Jayden Bogle, beating him several times and getting accurate crosses into the box. With Roberts taking up the left role, Grant Ward switched to the right with the former Spurs trainee taking up similar advanced positions as he had done so during the first 45 minutes.
Ipswich continued to have bright patches and as the clock ran down, continued to show their abiltiy at winning possession back in Derby’s half of the pitch. Ipswich used Downes as another body further forward in attack, but couldn’t often match their good movement on and off the ball with clear cut chances. The press did contribute a couple of late chances when sub Kayden Jackson caught Derby’s Tomori attemping to play out from the back one time too many. After collecting the ball, Jackson worked it to Downes on the overlap. The ball reached Chalobah via Grant Ward but the former’s shot was high and wide to the left as he hit it from outside the box.
Winning the ball in advanced positions also resulted in Ipswich’s other close chance of the last 20 minutes. Chalobah’s strength was key as he regained possession, spotted Chambers to play it forward to, befpre the captain laid it onto Roberts. He then sent it Nolan’s way and the skilful midfielder threaded it beyond Derby right back Boyle to striker Jackson. Jackson turned Tomori and hit a curling shot on his right but it was too central and ended up in Carson’s arms.
The game was settled by two clear moments of quality from Derby, although the first could be said to be partly the result of a deflection off Chambers which took it away from Bialkowski. Despite periods of pressure in the first half from Ipswich – as well as a somewhat belated high pressing in the second 45 minutes – the Suffolk side could not fashion clear goalscoring chances. Derby did, but it’s worth saying that for all their progressive style football which they impressed with, the Rams never looked seriously like scoring a third goal. In particular, David Nugent found the going tough against Nsiala and Chambers. To Ipswich’s credit, the Tractor Boys looked a different side from Mick McCarthy’s team of last year. In Nolan, Nsiala, Chalobah and Edwards, Ipswich possess lots of technical quality on the ball, and this season they should be in a position to entertain their fans more as the season progresses and new signings gel.