Manchester United are not the only side able to vouch for the spectacular upturn in Derby County’s attacking power.
Kris Commons, the scorer of winning cup goals against United and Nottingham Forest in January, struck twice more – on the second occasion quite wondrously – as long spells of Blackpool resilience were made worthless by a side who have now netted 10 times in three Championship games.
This first of the five wins Nigel Clough had demanded to guarantee survival came amid the drama of three goals in the final 16 minutes, not that the manager was fooled. “We didn’t play very well at times but our attitude was great and that’s what got us the victory,” he said.
Derby’s biggest Championship win of the season and third successive League victory – a sequence they had not managed for two years – lifted them above Blackpool into 16th place.
In Commons, they had a forward who was irrepressible as he took his goal tally to four in five games and, by way of bonus, laid one on for Paul Green. “We saw all sides of Kris’s game, the making and scoring. He looked extremely dangerous,” Clough added.
The fourth goal, from Nacer Barazite, was a beauty in its own right following a run from well inside his own half. Commons currently needs no encouragement but received plenty with Blackpool’s miserable defending in the eighth minute. Matt Gilks raced from his line in an effort to tidy up a misplaced header by his left-back Stephen Crainey, only for Rob Hulse to comfortably beat him to it and square for Commons to finish with his right foot.
Gilks was then reprieved when Shaun Barker headed against his own bar under pressure from Steve Davies, one of Derby’s two first-half substitutes following injuries that make Gary Teale and Miles Addison doubtful for Saturday’s game at Nottingham Forest.
But Blackpool, who had taken four more points away than at home this season, recovered to equalise in the 32nd minute, David Vaughan’s terrific free-kick from the right being matched by a thumping header from his skipper Rob Edwards. Derby would then have trailed had Gary Taylor-Fletcher not dragged wide a clear chance from 20 yards and David Fox and DJ Campbell each fired a yard off target.
Sublime work by Commons revived Derby, though, as he gained possession 40 yards from goal on the right, cut inside Edwards and arced a magnificent left-foot shot beyond Gilks into the top far corner.
Hulse saw a header strangely ruled offside following a corner from who else but Commons, who then slipped Green through to make it three before standing back to watch Barazite come up with a tremendous solo goal, albeit with a deflected left-foot shot.
“The scoreline was a bit cruel,” said Blackpool’s caretaker manager, Tony Parkes. “We came back from the first goal, which was a disaster, but not from the second. We pushed players up and left space behind.”
Derby County (4-4-2): Bywater; Connolly, Addison (Nyatanga, 37), Albrechtsen, McEveley; Barazite, Green, Savage, Teale Davies, 13); Hulse (Porter, 89), Commons. Substitutes not used: Carroll (gk), Sterjovski.
Blackpool (4-4-2): Gilks; Baptiste, Edwards, Barker, Crainey; O’Donovan, Jorgensen, Fox, Vaughan (Ormerod, 83); Taylor-Fletcher, Campbell. Substitutes not used: Rachubka (gk), Coid, Evatt, Owens.
Referee: D Whitestone (Northants).
The number of goals Kris Commons, the Derby midfielder, has now scored in his last five games.Reuse content