Ed note: Before you read this, you should probably know that we have a new Head Coach. Read about it here.
On a sort of decent Boxing Day, our opponents found themselves at the top of the table while we stayed in 18th place, following an own goal from Tim Ream and a calm finisher by Jacob Butterfield.
The game got off to a hectic start, with Tom Ince slapping in a corner in the second minute, which a brave Dan Burn managed to defend to deny both Bradley Johnson and Jason Shackell, before our good old Ross McCormack found Alexander Kacaniklic at the other end, the latter's shot forcing Derby goalie Lee Grant into a save.
Derby had most of the posession for the rest of the half without doing much in sense of making chances, but we did have a couple when Kacaniklic let a long shot fly, requiring Grant to punch away the effort, before Ryan Fredericks' end of half cross was parried by the Derby skipper.
It was the beginning of the second half, however that signalled the end of the game for us. Johnny Russell picked up the ball at the edge of the box and hit a low cross which hit Ream and Emerson Hyndman, bouncing in off the American and beating Andy Lonergan to make it 1-0. The own goal was credited to Hyndman, even though Ream was to blame. We replied with a 25-yard effort from McCormack, but it skimmed just past the corner of the net. A Moussa Dembele effort missed too, before Luke Garbutt hit the hands of Grant in the 77th minute, just before Matt Smith sent a header over the net.
The hosts made it 2-0 in the 83rd minute, literally ending the game for us, when Butterfield's one-two pass with Johnson on the edge of the box ended up with the ball past Lonergan to secure three points, landing them at the top of the table, while we remained in 18th.