Football: Eranio's double take

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The Independent Online
Derby County 1

Eranio 43

Barnsley 0

Attendance: 27,232

Jim Smith praised his Derbygoalkeeper Mart Poom after he kept Barnsley at bay to earn the Rams their first points of the season and finally christened their new Pride Park Stadium with a victory. It was something of a relief to the Derby manager after the abandonment of the match against Wimbledon and defeat in their other two games.

Stefano Eranio scored the only goal from the penalty spot after 42 minutes, but even that decisive moment was less than convincing. His fellow Italian Francesco Baiano, making his debut after joining from Fiorentina, was pulled down by Barnsley's goalkeeper Lars Leese. After the German saved Baiano's penalty, Eranio knocked in the rebound, but referee Paul Durkin ordered the kick to be retaken. Baiano stepped aside and Eranio completed the job.

Nevertheless, Smith singled out Poom as his man of the match, as the Estonian international made a number of fine stops including a double save from Andy Liddell. "The best two players on the pitch were the goalkeepers," Smith said.

The Rams boss was impressed with Baiano on his debut and feels he and Dean Sturridge will form a formidable partnership when they are both fully fit.

Baiano, he said, "could have had a hat-trick by half-time if he had scored the penalty", but he said Dean Sturridge needed to acquire match fitness. His opposite number, Danny Wilson, saw it as another painful lesson in life in the Premiership, clearly in the penalties for missing chances at this level.

If Barnsley are to prove the doom mongers wrong and avoid relegation, they will need to improve in that department quickly, because Poom is not the only good goalkeeper in the division.