Derby County 2 – 1 victory against League 1 rivals Barnsley
The visitors to Pride Park on a scorching hot Saturday afternoon were Barnsley.
26,123 watched Derby achieve their second win of the season with a 2-1 victory, after an own goal from Conor McCarthy and an impressive strike from Nathaniel Mendez–Laing from the edge of the box.
Derby was without captain Curtis Davies, who had picked up an injury during training earlier in the week. Richard Stearman made a welcome return into defence as one of six changes to the team that faced Mansfield Town on Tuesday night in the Carabou Cup.
Derby started well with the first opportunity coming for Sibley in the 4th minute after a back pass for Collins got away from the Barnsley keeper. However, the keeper reacted quickly to the subsequent shot from Sibley to prevent the Rams from taking an early lead.
Derby did not have long to wait before taking the lead though. A corner from Hourihane found the box and was helped into the back of the net by Barnsley defender Conor McCarthy.
It was then a nervous performance from Barnsley until the 20th minute when Rams keeper Wildsmith dealt well with a shot from Norwood.
The 34th minute saw Derby County net their second goal with a brilliant pass from Barkhuizen on the left, picking out Mendez-Laing on the edge of the box, who executed his strike with perfection, driving the ball hard and low into the bottom left corner of the net to rapturous applause from the home fans.
The first yellow card of the game was awarded soon after the break for a late challenge by Cashin on former Derby County player Luke Thomas before Aitchison failed to capitalize from close range in the 48th minute after a Barnsley freekick.
Derby County made the first change of the game with Korey Smith coming on for Louie Sibley in the 58th minute.
James Collins was inches away from his first goal for Derby County, failing to find the back of the net after a neat cross from Hourihane on the left-hand side. The Rams midfielder was fouled by McCarthy in the 61 st minute which saw him booked, played in a good ball from the free-kick on the left-hand side, but there was nobody on the back post who could convert it to another goal for the Rams, which would have sealed the result.
But it was the visitors who got the next after a slight deflection off a shot from Benson in the 63rd minute.
Barnsley’s substitutions brought some fresh energy for them which saw some rather desperate
defending at times by the Rams. Derby goalscorer Nathaniel Mendez-Laing was taken off for Lewis Dobbin in the 75th minute and Tom Barkhuizen went off in the 87th minute after a good performance down the left, replaced by Craig Forsyth.
There were seven minutes of added time, which saw some scrappy play from both sides, as Derby tried to hold on for the win.
Overall, Derby put on a good performance in the first half but was met with a different Barnsley
side after the break, who put the Rams under a lot of pressure. It took a lot of resilience from the Rams to secure the three points and despite some nail-biting moments, the men in black and white held on to make it two wins out of two at home.
Derby County: Wildsmith, Hourihane, Cashin, Barkhuizen (Forsyth 88’), Bird (C), Collins, Mendez-Laing (Dobbin 75’), Roberts, Sibley (Smith 58’), Stearman, Knight.
Substitutes: Loach, McGoldrick, Thompson, Rooney.
Man of the Match: It was a superb performance from Eiran Cashin who dealt with pressure from Barnsley with composure and experience beyond his years. His blocks, tackles, and headers were a thing of beauty and he received a standing ovation from his teammates in the home dressing room following the game.
Written by Gemma Marie