Derby County had to settle for a point on Friday night as Phillip Cocu’s side were held to a 1-1 draw with Cardiff City.
The Rams took the lead through Scott Malone’s close-range finish after initial good work from Duane Holmes. Cardiff, however, pegged them back via the penalty spot.
Cocu’s side dominated the second half, but the crossbar denied Jack Marriott while Martyn Waghorn saw an excellent opportunity saved by Cardiff’s Alex Smithies.
A draw and the points shared; Here are five things we learned from the encounter:
Max Lowe continues to impress:
Derby academy graduate Max Lowe put in another strong display. In for the injured Jayden Bogle at right-back, the natural left-back was strong defensively and excellent on the ball.
How Derby have missed Duane Holmes in midfield:
Duane Holmes helped Derby establish control in midfield. The lively runner was instrumental in the opening goal as he drove into the box before providing a cut-back, prompting the goal.
The 24-year-old still isn’t at full match fitness as he was withdrawn on 80 minutes. He will get better, but Derby certainly looked a more threatening side with him in the middle.
Krystian Bielik is a midfielder:
Krystian Bielik joined Derby in the summer but has had to bide his time due to his fitness. In his opening matches, the Pole has featured at centre-back.
Against Cardiff, Cocu finally deployed him as a holding midfielder and he was superb in the physical exchanges while on the ball he helped drive the team forward.
Derby aren’t getting the rub of the green:
There was some controversy over Cardiff’s penalty. While it was the correct decision, Derby were aggrieved not to have a penalty of their own moments earlier as Martyn Waghorn was tripped in the area.
The Rams have been on the end of some poor officiating this season. While it’s generally swings and roundabouts, it’s another decision which may have cost Cocu’s side two extra points.
Derby have played better than their points tally suggests:
The draw against Cardiff leaves Derby in the bottom third of the table with seven points from seven games. Results wise, it has been a poor start.
But take the Brentford game out of the equation, and the Rams have generally played well against tough opposition. Fans should remain positive, and victories are surely just around the corner.