Derby County struck late through Chris Martin’s penalty to salvage a draw with Sheffield Wednesday in what was largely a performance to forget for the home side.
The Rams looked to put an end to a winless run of three Championship games.
The first half performance, however, was up there with one of the worst for the season. It was men against boys at times with the Owls physically dominant all over.
Steven Fletcher opened the scoring after his first-time effort from Barry Bannan’s pass left Rams goalkeeper Ben Hamer with no chance. It was all Derby’s own doing, needlessly giving possession away in their own defensive third with Craig Forsyth the guilty party.
The half-time interval was met with a smatter of jeers. Something needed to change.
Derby improved after the break. Chris Martin almost levelled with a header moments after half time, before manager Phillip Cocu decided to roll the dice.
Martyn Waghorn came on for academy graduate Morgan Whittaker who was making his first league start. Jack Marriott, meanwhile, replaced Jason Knight in a bold attacking move.
Derby suddenly became more direct. And Marriott won the penalty after being felled by Moses Odubajo chasing a loose ball. Martin sent Cameron Dawson the wrong way.
Cocu’s side pushed for a winner. However, Wednesday saw the game out despite going down to 10 men when Odubajo topped off a woeful display with a second yellow card.
Academy duo Whittaker and Knight were handed starts. It was a brave call from Phillip Cocu, and the latter certainly showed his potential with a solid display.
Things to improve:
The first 70 minutes were not good enough. Lawrence showed why he is a shadow of himself playing out wide, while physically the Rams were being bullied all over.
There is a real lack of creativity in the side. January seemingly can’t come quick enough for the Rams, and the availability of Wayne Rooney should give the side a big lift.