Huddersfield Town 1 Derby County 0 - 15th September 2012

Derby County’s stuttering start to the season continued as they slipped to an unlucky 1-0 defeat away to Huddersfield Town on Saturday.

A Danny Ward strike after just 47 seconds proved to be the difference between the two sides at the John Smith’s Stadium.

But the scoreline did not tell the full tale of the Championship contest in which Derby bossed large parts of the game and dominated virtually the entire second half.

Not for the first time County’s slick passing and off-the-ball movement failed to turn into clear-cut chances, with Alex Smithies in the Huddersfield Town goal not having a real save to make all game.

Ward, Doyle and Sammon all enjoyed half chances, with Doyle guilty of blazing high and wide with the goal gapping just after the hour mark - a finish that summed up Derby’s day.

Despite the decent display from his side, the result will further frustrate Rams boss Nigel Clough who spoke earlier in the week of the need to not drop further ‘silly points.’

The result now leaves he Pride Park outfit in 19th place in the table and in need of back-to-back wins to kick start their season.

Derby travelled north full of confidence after the 5-1 drubbing of Watford in their last outing.

Nigel Clough made just one change to the starting line-up with Connor Doyle replacing Paul Coutts, who missed training during the week due to an illness.

But it was Huddersfield who got off to the perfect start when a mazy run by Adam Hammill down the right flank had the Derby defence all at sea.

Hammill burst past Roberts before crossing to Danny Ward who had the simplest of tasks of firing home after just 47 seconds.

County responded well to the early set-back and began to boss the game with some controlled passing football, but were unable to break down the hardworking Huddersfield midfield and fashion some chances.

And it was the Terriers whoDoyle continued to enjoy the best of the goalscoring opportunities with the ever-dangerous Hammill again calling Fielding into action with a deflected shot on 15 minutes.

The lively Hammill, signed by Huddersfield on loan from Wolves, again caused major trouble after robbing Hendrick of the ball in midfield before seeing his shot blocked out for a corner on 22 minutes.

Derby continued to probe with some fluid passing as the solid Huddersfield midfield continued to stand firm.

Conor Sammon found space in the Huddersfield box only to see his goalbound shot blocked by Peter Clarke as the visitors finally registered their first strike on goal on 38 minutes.

Clarke then sent a mis-directed headed clearance just past Smithies’ post for a corner as Derby began to up the pressure.

Craig Bryson had to be at his best for Derby just before half-time when he cleared a whipped in Norwood free-kick for a corner as the huddersfield attackers prepared to pounce.

Fielding produced a quality save just three minutes after the res-start when he turned away a rasping 30-yarder by former Leeds midfielder Paul Clayton.

Nigel Clough’s men were then breathing a huge sigh of relief when Peter Clarke failed to keep his close-range effort down from the resulting corner.

Jamie Ward burst down the left flank before cutting into the box past Peter Clarke as Derby raided on goal in the 52 minute.

But Ward was unable to get full purchase on his effort and only succeeded in slicing the ball out for a throw-in.

Doyle then saw a header blocked by Paul Dixon after more good work from Ward down the left wing moments later.

Brayford was then unable to keep down his header from Doyle’s corner in the 56th minute as the energetic Rams continued to push for the equaliser.

Doyle was next to go close when he blazed high and wide from close range after Clarke had missed his kick at the back post as fluid Derby piled on the pressure

A poor error by Dixon in the home defence gifted Derby another corner, which came to nothing as time began to run out for County.

Sub Lee Novak failed to make the game safe for Huddersfield on 82 minutes when he fired wide from a tight angle after picking up a Jack Hunt cross at the back post.

A well worked move along the edge of the Huddersfield box found Ward, but the striker was unable to find the required finish and scuffed his shot wide on 88 minutes to end County’s hopes.

HUDDERSFIELD TOWN: Smithies, Dixon, Norwwood, Clarke, Clayton, Ward (Novak 67 mins), Hammill (Arfield 85 mins), Vaughan (Scannell 89 mins), Southern, Hunt, Lynch: Subs not used: Bennett, Woods, Gerrard, Lee.

DERBY COUNTY: Fielding, Brayford, Keogh, O’Connor, Roberts (Buxton 90 mins); Doyle (Jacobs 65 mins), Hendrick, Bryson, Hughes; Ward, Sammon (Robinson 79 mins). Subs not used: Legzdins (GK), Gjokaj, Freeman, Tyson.

REFEREE: Trevor Kettle.


BOOKINGS: Clarke (foul, 25 mins); Ward (dissent 30 mins); Lynch (time-wasting 94 mins).