Premier League Cup
Team: Salamon, Harrack, Bagan, Rendall, Hawkins, Flaherty, Ajose, Murphy, Lloyd, Pedder, Bala
Subs: Halwax, Hamid, Cotter, Dougui
The first thing we did upon our arrival at the Loughborough University Stadium was to sort out tickets as there wasn’t an option to pay at the turnstiles.
From the home side’s first attack of the evening, Matteo Salamon managed to successfully push the ball away following a dangerous cross from the right.
Then, Sonny Blu Lo-Everton’s ball in from the right-flank resulted in Cian Kelly-Caprani’s effort being deflected inches wide of the upright.
At the other end, Joseph Ajose’s excellent cross was smothered by Harry Evans.
On 16 minutes, Sam Bagan was booked after a foul on Courtney Clarke. And seven minutes later Harry Murphy was also shown a yellow card following an infringement.
Rangers began to grow into the game and took the lead in the 26th minute when Harry Murphy seized upon a loose ball and precisely fed Alfie Lloyd who went on to shoot low, past Harry Evans.
The Rams had the ball in the net from George Nunn’s header, but Mr Bannister had already blown his whistle for an adjudged foul in the box.
As the R’s went looking for a second goal, Rafferty Pedder was put through, but his shot from inside the box was fired directly into the keeper’s gloves.
A decent 25-yard low shot from the hosts was comfortably held by Matteo Salamon.
Then, following a good move from the away side, Alfie Lloyd ran ahead of Rafferty Pedder in the box and the ball hit his team-mate as he shot and the R’s No.9 was ruled offside.
Two added minutes were signalled and one minute in, following a corner, the ball came off a defender and Bartosz Cybulski’s very tame shot from just two yards out, was easily grabbed by the R’s keeper. Half-time: 1-0.
Into the second-half and the Rams went close to an equaliser after Ola Ibrahim got into a wide position in the six-yard box but could only hit the near post.
Derby were having the best of the early stages and there was a big appeal for a penalty on the hour-mark, but Mr Bannister wasn’t interested. Matteo Salamon had clearly got the ball and not Kelly-Saprani. From the resulting corner, the R’s keeper got a very strong fist on the ball to clear the danger.
Matteo Salamon required some treatment after going down to make a brave save.
Derby were still on top, but Joseph Ajose did manage to force an excellent save from the Rams keeper.
Derby got their equaliser after around 85 minutes. With the R’s keeper positioned off his line, Joe Haigh hooked the ball into the back of the net from the right-flank.
Paul Hall made a change a couple of minutes later, which saw Riley Cotter replace Joseph Ajose.
Mr Bannister blew the final whistle after five added minutes.
Steven Bala had a superb match despite being constantly fouled and the culprits mostly got away with it!
The very sparse crowd looked to be under 100?
Thanks to Sammy for the lift home.