Derby County have repeatedly come close to a Premier League promotion in recent years but missed out narrowly on each occasion but were desperate to wipe out their misfortune this term as they hosted Fulham at Pride Park in the first leg tie of the Championship play-off semi-final.
The Rams improved immensely under manager Gary Rowett who guided them to clinch the final playoff spot but had a tough contest awaiting against Fulham, who narrowly missed out a direct promotion and finished third with just a couple of points behind the runners-up Cardiff City. The fixture, thus, was not a stroll in the park for either of sides and ended in a narrow 1-0 win for the hosts, thanks to the first-half header of Cameron Jerome that went in.
Below are the Derby County players rated in their hard-fought win against Fulham.
Scott Carson: 8
Was spot on between the sticks as he made a number of crucial stops in both the halves and thoroughly earned the clean-sheet against his Friday night opponents.
Andre Wisdom: 7
The ex-Liverpool youngster did extremely well to contain Ryan Sessgnon and always had his eyes set for Cameron Jerome inside the box while running forward and whipping in crosses.
Richard Keogh: 7
Was off-paced at times but the experienced centre-back made his presence known with his positioning, timely movements, and no-nonsense clearances.
Curtis Davies: 7.5
Davies did extremely well to contain Aleksandar Mitrovic who is in a great scoring run since joining the Cottagers back in winter.
Craig Forsyth: 8
His pin-point cross from the left flank was converted by Cameron Jerome in the first half and earned the hosts the all-important lead prior to the return leg tie.
Tom Huddlestone: 7
The experienced Englishman had a matured display in the middle of the park as he broke down a number of moves from the opponents and also helped his defence to deal with pressure and defend the lead.
Bradley Johnson: 7
The former Norwich City midfielder was combative, worked tirelessly with down the middle runs and did not allow the visitors to dominate the midfield game.
Andreas Weimann: 7.5
Was lively down the wing, made some decent strides and created some glorious opportunities. Was replaced by Jamie Hanson in the closing seconds of the game.
Matej Vydra: 6.5
Has continued his scoring streak but failed to leave much impact this evening despite a few impressive runs and chances early in the game. Was replaced by Ikechi Anya midway through the second half.
Tom Lawrence: 8.5
Was excellent down the flank as he kept on creating chances and troubling the Fulham backline with his crosses, passing, cut insides and tricky movements.
Cameron Jerome: 8
Netted his fifth in four games as his first-half header proved to be the decider of this close encounter and earned the Rams a crucial win prior to the return leg tie at Craven Cottage. Was replaced by David Nugent midway through the second half.
Ikechi Anya: 6
Was inches away from converting Lawrence’s cross minutes within his introduction. The Scotsman was lively and looked purposeful since coming on in place of Vydra.
David Nugent: 5
Replaced Cameron but had only a few touches as he remained isolated late in the game.
Jamie Hanson: NA
Played too little to warrant a rating.
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