Blackpool denied as Rams hold firm
The Seasiders have now drawn their opening three games after failing to break down a stubborn Derby rearguard. The first half saw precious few genuine goalscoring opportunities as the Rams largely dominated possession without making their advantage pay. Derby midfielder Lee Croft had the first chance of the game inside the second minute but fired straight at Seasiders goalkeeper Paul Rachubka. Moments later Robbie Savage crossed dangerously and Rob Hulse rose highest to connect with a firm header that flew straight into Rachubka's midriff. The lively opening continued in the sixth minute when former Rangers midfielder Charlie Adam collected possession from 25 yards and advanced forward before unleashing a fierce shot. Rams goalkeeper Stephen Bywater - making his 100th appearance for the club - was not seriously troubled as he made a routine save and the visitors remained a threat at the other end of the field. Kris Commons' shot flashed narrowly wide in the seventh minute and shortly afterwards an inswinging corner from Lee Croft found Hulse unmarked 12 yards from goal. The former Leeds and Sheffield United striker headed over the crossbar and the pendulum swung back towards Blackpool in the 33rd minute when Alex Baptiste blazed a shot over from 12 yards. Seven minutes before the break, Blackpool fashioned arguably the best move of the opening period when Adam engineered the space to hit an 18-yard shot which drew an excellent save from Bywater. Three minutes after the restart, veteran striker Brett Ormerod - deputising for injury victim Ben Burgess - fired goalwards from distance but Bywater was happy to deal with a comfortable save. Derby went a lot closer two minutes later when Ormerod clumsily fouled Dean Moxey to give the visitors a free-kick deep in home territory. Commons flighted the ball in from the left flank but Miles Addison could not control his header as the ball flew over the crossbar. In the 56th minute Hulse shot over from 12 yards and soon after Blackpool introduced Arsenal youngster Jay Emmanuel-Thomas. The 18-year-old is highly rated by the Gunners backroom staff and captained Arsenal's Under-18s to the FA Youth Cup and Academy League Cup double last term. He has joined Blackpool on a month's loan and replaced David Vaughan in midfield as Holloway sought to add additional pace into his side. But Jake Buxton headed over for Derby and Luke Varney then did likewise from a fine cross by Gary Teale as the stalemate continued.
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