Derby County player ratings v Birmingham City: Tom Ince stars in entertaining draw

Tom Ince England U 21s

Derby County drew 1-1 with Birmingham City at St. Andrew's on Friday night.

Derby County claimed their fourth draw in as many games in the Championship as a resilient Birmingham City were able to hold on to a point despite a late surge from the visitors. 

Despite Derby's dominance in possession, it was the home side that took the lead through Stephen Gleeson just minutes before half-time. Nevertheless, Paul Clement got the reaction he wanted from his players after the break and saw his side produce wave after wave of attacking football. 

Johnny Russell notched his second goal in as many games with a fine finish midway through the second half and put the East Midlands side in the ascendancy for the remainder of the match. 

If not for an outstanding save from former Manchester United keeper Tomasz Kuszczak, substitute Andreas Weimann would have wrapped up the three points for the Rams following a piece of individual brilliance just moments after his introduction to the field.

It was not to be, though, and the spoils were shared at St Andrew's.

Player ratings:

Scott Carson - 8

Cyrus Christie - 6, Richard Keogh - 8, Jason Shackell - 7, Craig Forsyth - 8

Tom Ince - 8, George Thorne - 7, Chris Baird - 5, Johnny Russell - 6

Chris Martin - 6, Darren Bent - 6

Substitute: Ryan Shotton - 5, Andreas Weimann - 6

Analysis:

Carson and Keogh continued their fine starts to the season, with each putting in solid performances. The former Liverpool goalkeeper was largely faultless and kept the Rams in the match in the first-half, while Keogh's distribution and man-marking ensured that clear-cut chances for Birmingham were hard to come by. 

Forsyth, who replaced Stephen Warnock in the starting 11, had an excellent game despite tailing off towards the end of the match and Christie showed signs of the player full of confidence he was at the start of last season. 

Ince and Russell provided speed, energy and movement on each wing, while the ever-present Thorne once again made sure Derby were in charge of possession. Baird was largely at fault for the first goal and showed a serious lack of energy when off the ball. However, when on the ball, showed great intelligence and professionalism to keep it in Derby's possession. 

The front two of Martin and Bent showed early signs of promise, but struggled to have the impact they would have liked on this particular game. Nevertheless, their partnership showed signs that it could be something Clement can look to build around in the future. 

Weimann made an impact within his first five minutes on the pitch, hitting the post following a mazy run, but struggled to create another opening following that opportunity. Shotton, who replaced Christie late on, had a couple of good chances to put crosses into a packed box, but lacked the quality when he needed it the most. 

The signs are encouraging for Derby, but now the game against Leeds United next week will come with added pressure after no win in five games in all competitions. 

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