Nott'm Forest 0-1 Derby

Craig Bryson
Craig Bryson

Derby County clinched their third successive win against fierce rivals Nottingham Forest in a full-blooded East Midlands derby at the City Ground.

Rams midfielder Craig Bryson tapped in the winner as Derby took advantage of Forest striker Dexter Blackstock's red card just seconds after half time.

Forest were denied a late equaliser when visiting keeper Frank Fielding pushed away Simon Gillett's low drive.

But Derby held firm to go above Forest into the top half of the Championship.

Forest dominated a fiercely-competitive first half without being able to stretch Fielding, before Blackstock's controversial dismissal just 20 seconds after the interval changed the whole complexion of the match.

Referee Robert Madley immediately brandished the red card after Blackstock's flailing arm caught Derby centre-half Richard Keogh in the face when the pair challenged for a high ball.

Television replays showed Blackstock did make contact with Keogh, although Blackstock protested his innoncence by claiming it was unintentional.

And within 10 minutes Derby took advantage by scoring with their first attempt on Forest's goal.

Rams midfielder Paul Coutts delivered a low cross into the Forest six-yard box which cut out ex-Rams goalkeeper Lee Camp to leave Bryson with a simple finish in front of the 4,000 Derby fans.

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Forest, who left recent signing Jermaine Jenas out of their matchday squad, introduced substitutes Billy Sharp and Henri Lansbury as they launched a late onslaught.

Gillett went closest to restoring parity when he pounced on a loose ball to fire goalwards, only for England Under-21 keeper Fielding to brilliantly drop low to his left and parry the ball.

Matches between the clubs have been tempestuous affairs in recent times, with three red cards in the last three games following a brawl between both sets of players at Pride Park in January 2010.

Both managers stressed the importance of their men keeping cool heads in the pre-match build up, but players from each side were guilty of over-exuberant challenges in a full-blooded first half.

Most of the action centred on the tough tackles, with goalscoring chances for either side at a premium.

Tempers threatened to boil over when away left-back Gareth Roberts clumsily clattered into Chris Cohen on the edge of the penalty area, before referee Madley exerted his authority to calm down a sea of jostling players from both teams.

Chances were limited to long-range efforts as Fielding punched clear Andy Reid's inswinging free-kick before Derby striker Conor Sammon and Forest's Simon Cox both sent similar 35-yard shots whistling over their opponent's crossbar.

But only Bryson found the target as Derby retained the Brian Clough Trophy, named in honour of the man who turned both provincial clubs into English league champions.

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