Derby County took the honours in the East Midlands derby and in spectacular style, with a 5-0 win over Nottingham Forest that marked the biggest victory for the hosts over their rivals since the back end of the 19th century and also led to the departure of Billy Davies on Monday – an uncanny event given the aftermath of the reverse fixture.
Six months earlier it was Forest who won out, with Derby sacking Nigel Clough just hours later. However, on Saturday it was Davies’ side’s turn to feel humiliated, not least because the result saw Forest slip out of the play-off picture for the first time in four months. At the time of writing, Neil Warnock is the favourite to replace Davies at the City Ground.
Both Derby’s Steve McClaren and Forest assistant manager David Kelly alluded afterwards to the match being good timing for Derby with Forest’s lengthy injury list. On the other hand, one could argue Forest were playing Derby at a good time for them with the Rams having suffered a dip in form, failing to score in their previous four matches and losing ground in the promotion race as a result.
As great as the result was for Derby, they remain 10 points behind Burnley after the Clarets came through what looked a potential banana skin on Charlton’s rain-sodden pitch. Many have questioned the depth of Burnley’s squad this season, and on paper top scorer Danny Ings’ ankle injury, sustained against Birmingham 10 days earlier, looked a potentially major setback. However, Sean Dyche’s side have won both matches since then and Ings’ replacement, Ashley Barnes, netted his side’s opening goal on Saturday, a feat duly noted by Dyche.
“Ashley is getting his chance now and I thought he delivered an all-round good performance,” he said. “He’s full of life, he wants to work for the team and he’ll get more and more used to how we work. To get a goal is excellent. He knew the challenge in front of him when we brought him in.”
Burnley closed the gap on leaders Leicester – the only team in the top six following the conclusion of Saturday’s games not to win – to five points after the Foxes were held by Blackburn, but Nigel Pearson’s team have played a game less.
For Charlton the defeat wasn’t costly; the Addicks remain above Millwall on goal difference after the Lions were beaten at Leeds, while Barnsley stay bottom after a home defeat to Bournemouth. However, Yeovil missed a massive opportunity to climb outside the relegation zone for the first time since September after surrendering a two-goal advantage against Bolton and missing a penalty in the process.
Naturally Gary Johnson said the result “felt like a defeat for all of us”, and he’ll have to pick his side up quickly as the Glovers travel to Leicester on Tuesday, where a point would feel more like a victory. It’s the three fixtures afterwards, however, that could be the most crucial to Yeovil’s survival as they host Barnsley next weekend before facing trips to Blackpool and Charlton.
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