The case for the defence

Last updated : 22 September 2015 By Tony Scholes

Despite being under the cosh for much of the second half, there are so many positives to take out of the game. We kept a clean sheet, and that's important. Defensively we were very strong in that second half and, reflecting on the game, Derby really didn't create very much in terms of clear cut chances.

By the end of the game they looked a desperate side and oh, what a pity that the big Jason Shackell mistake didn't lead to the winning goal for us in the last few minutes.

There was no Monday night football for the Premier League so we had to be shunted from Saturday at short notice for this one with our club picking up just ten grand for the privilege and then not having anything like as many supporters there to get behind the team.

Our party had been cut from four to two for the game because of other commitments and I can report, for the first time this season I think, a trouble free journey both there and back.

Tom Heaton's work was kept to a minimum by the defence

We've been moved into the corner at Derby now so it meant just a few extra yards walk to the turnstiles. They've done it to get the home fans behind the goals and that's where most of their vociferous support and drum banging came from throughout the game.

Paul Clement made two changes to the Derby side that had won last midweek against Reading. George Thorne returned from injury and was preferred to Jeff Hendrick and there was a forced change with Andreas Weimann replacing the unavailable Tom Ince.

As expected it was the same Burnley eleven that had started our recent games with the only change coming on the bench where Joey Barton replaced Tom Anderson.

There was a funny moment ahead of kick off when Shackell made his way into position backwards to avoid facing the Burnley supporters. It's not often the case but this is the third time he's been barracked at this particular fixture; the last two occasions we went there it was the home fans on his back.

I think we'd all got it into our heads that this was going to be a tough game but it was the Clarets who started on the front foot. Andre Gray's pace was certainly causing Derby some early problems and he was getting us in behind their defence.

We didn't really create a chance of note and the game did settle down somewhat although there was little on offer in terms of chances at the other end.

Having said that, Derby must have been relieved when Gray went down injured after not much more than twenty minutes. I worry when our strikers go down these days having seen Sam Vokes, Ashley Barnes and Lukas Jutkiewicz all suffer cruciate ligament injuries.

Thankfully, Gray was able to continue after treatment, but not for long. With the clock having just moved past the half hour he was down again and this time had to come off with Rouwen Hennings replacing him.

There were half chances at both ends but it was no surprise we reached half time without a goal. Neither goalkeeper had been called into action very often and neither of them had made a save of note.

Nevertheless, that was good as far as I was concerned and I did think we'd be capable of stepping it up after the break.

That second half didn't go just as I'd expected. Derby really pushed on and we were put under pressure almost from the restart. They fired shots in, they did come close on a couple of occasions from corners too both from Richard Keogh. He headed the first one over the bar and then saw his second headed clear by Tendayi Darikwa.

We just couldn't get any real possession and it looked at times as if it were wave after wave of attack. But, from Derby's point of view, there was one thing missing, they weren't testing Tom Heaton.

He dealt with a couple of long range efforts with one save from Chris Martin in particular a good one, but generally our superb defence kept his work to a minimum as Derby became more and more frantic as the clock moved on.

I once remember watching Derby beat us 1-0 at the Turf in a smash and grab; three seasons ago I saw a late Charlie Austin goal win it for us when we'd been battered. Had we won this one it would not have been anything like as undeserved as those two.

And we nearly did win it and twice. More than once from behind I heard that it was going to end 1-0 to Derby with Shackell scoring but the first of our chances came from Shackell's mistake. George Boyd got onto the ball and played it to Vokes, but the ball to the striker was too strong and gave Vokes no chance. Vokes then did have a chance but his weak effort caused Scott Carson no problem.

By the end you sensed that Derby had run out of ideas. They looked like a side who had accepted that, despite the pressure applied during the second half, there was to be no breakthrough.

Even so, it was good to see the fourth official hold up a board showing two minutes. So often, and for no obvious reason, we'll see a four or five go up. There had been no stoppages and the excellent Dean Whitestone was absolutely correct in his assessment as he'd been for much of the night.

Unfortunately we couldn't make it five successive wins there but it is six unbeaten visits, the last defeat coming in January 2007 when an early Steve Howard goal gave them a 1-0 win on a night when Eric Djemba-Djemba was sent off by referee Mike Riley who also ordered both managers, Billy Davies and Steve Cotterill, to the stands.

That's one home win since the end of February for the Rams, and that against Blackpool. They are a decent side, they have good players and I do expect them to be up there as the season progresses.

For now, we're back up to third and so far it has been a decent start to the season.

The teams were;

Derby: Scott Carson, Cyrus Christie, Richard Keogh, Jason Shackell, Craig Forsyth, Jacob Butterfield (Jeff Hendrick 75), George Thorne (Jamie Hanson 81), Bradley Johnson, Andreas Weimann, Chris Martin, Johnny Russell. Subs not used: Lee Grant, Ryan Shotton, Stephen Warnock, Alex Pearce, Darren Bent.

Burnley: Tom Heaton, Tendayi Darikwa, Michael Duff, Michael Keane, Ben Mee, George Boyd, Scott Arfield, David Jones, Michael Kightly (Matt Taylor 81), Sam Vokes, Andre Gray (Rouwen Hennings 31). Subs not used: Matt Gilks, Matt Lowton, Stephen Ward, Joey Barton, Chris Long.

Referee: Dean Whitestone (Northamptonshire).

Attendance: 26,834 (including 592 Clarets).