Despite changing personnel and formation Derby County failed to win against promotion rivals Middlesbrough. The Rams inability to defend against some of the in-form attacking players in the Championship let them down yet again.
The performance, on the whole, was better than in previous games but that vital killer instinct in from of goal again deserted them. Before going behind Derby looked lively and should possibly have taken the lead from a diving header by Bradley Johnson early in the first half.
Failure to challenge in and around the box was again the problem as Muhamed Besic took full advantage and scored with a well placed shot in the 20th minute. The Rams to their credit responded well after going behind and had some good movement down the wings and up front but little final product from the moves.
Second half the Rams continued their improvement but it was the Rams inability to challenge in their own penalty area that again saw them slip two goals behind.
The ball was fizzed around in the area and Derby defenders looked to be either too slow or unable to match the pace of the passing before the ball was slipped out to the left-hand side of the area to a completely unmarked or challenged Britt Assombalonga. The Former Nottingham Forst forward had time to pick his spot despite a flailing attempt by Scott Carson to save the savagely struck shot.
The Rams kept on attacking but it was clear that they didn’t have the firepower to challenge Boro, although there was a glimmer of light in the first minute of stoppage time as a substitute Kasey Palmer was bundled over in the penalty area for a penalty.
usual spot-kick taker Matej Vydra had been substituted the kick fell to David Nugent, who duly obliged and slotted the kick in the back of the net. Derby had left it too late to score the equalizer as the four minutes of time added on was nearly up.
The Rams now move on to ‘That re-arranged game’ with Cardiff City, if the Rams want to maintain any hopes of getting back in the playoff games, a win is imperative.