REPORT: DERBY COUNTY 3-4 CARDIFF CITY
CITY STUN DERBY IN VALENTINE'S DAY THRILLER
Joe Ralls’ injury-time penalty secured a 4-3 City win in a dramatic, pulsating encounter away at Pride Park.
The Bluebirds had begun the game on the back foot, as Derby kept the ball well through Tom Ince and Will Hughes, carving City open to create several opportunities.
They made one such chance pay on seven minutes, having won an early corner. City stopper Allan McGregor did well to save Alex Pearce’s header, but the ball fell at the feet of Boro loanee Julien De Sart, who made no mistake from close range.
Ten minutes later, it was 2-0 to the hosts. Ince picked up the ball on the edge of the box, his hopeful effort found Darren Bent at the far post, and the forward dinked the ball past McGregor to make it two.
As half-time approached, City began to play their way back into the game, predominantly through the lively Kadeem Harris. The young winger was in fine form and halved the deficit when he latched onto Zohore’s knockdown and struck a dipping effort which drifted over Scott Carson in the Derby goal.
That strike gave the Bluebirds renewed hope going into the interval – paving the way for an incredible turnaround to come after the break.
The comeback continued within two minutes of the restart. An Aron Gunnarsson long throw caused havoc in the box, and when Sean Morrison’s effort was blocked, the ball dropped to Harris once again. The winger was at the heart of all of the Bluebirds attacking play, and took the opportunity to double his tally, smashing home to level the scores.
It was to get even better for City just before the hour mark. Greg Halford’s excellent work in midfield saw him feed Craig Noone on the right. The winger cut in and let fly – his trademark effort curling into Carson’s top corner to turn the game on its head in incredible fashion.
As Derby looked for a response, the Bluebirds almost killed the game off on the counter. Zohore had three City men overlapping on the left, but opted to shoot, seeing Carson save his effort.
There were more twists and turns to come; however, as Bent headed home his second on seventy-four minutes, despite City’s claims that he had fouled Morrison in the process. The goal levelled the match up at 3-3, with momentum seemingly in the hosts favour.
However, as the game went into six minutes of additional time, the Bluebirds dealt a final blow to cap of a thrilling contest at Pride Park. Substitute Rhys Healey raced into the box, and as he was clipped from behind, the referee showed no hesitation in pointing to the spot.
Joe Ralls stepped up and, with nerves of steel, dispatched the spot-kick to secure a sensational victory for the Bluebirds, and round off a Valentine’s Day that will live long in the memory of all City fans.
FULL TIME: DERBY COUNTY 3-4 CARDIFF CITY