Derby County 1 Coventry City 1
Coventry refuse to be derailed by Shaw's woes
Thursday 15 September 2005
Shaw's team-mates deserved their draw, none more so than Stephen Bywater. The goalkeeper, who is on loan from West Ham, athletically tipped over a fierce drive by Marcus Tudgay as Derby made a late push for a first victory in five matches.
Derby gave up more points at home last season than a side finishing fourth would expect. The shortfall prompted Phil Brown, who succeeded George Burley as manager during the summer, to insist that players pictured on the programme cover and centrefold pose moodily, and in dim lighting, to create a less welcoming aura for visiting sides.
Brown's own column last night featured a stubble-faced, sneering stare that would not have been out of place on Crimewatch. Whether the Coventry players were intimidated must be doubtful, but Derby took only 15 minutes to take the lead. Bisgaard was allowed to turn and shoot from 20 yards out on the left, the ball deflecting off Shaw to leave Bywater flat-footed.
Coventry are more accustomed to playing away than in their new stadium - by Saturday night, six of their nine league games will have been on the road - which may be why they often looked as much at home as Derby. Midway through the first half, the referee denied them a penalty, ruling that Gary McSheffrey had dived under Michael Johnson's challenge, while Adebola's header flashed inches wide.
The hectic pace was stalled by the injury to Shaw soon after the half-hour. The former Crystal Palace defender, knocked out in a clash of heads with Tudgay, required lengthy treatment on the pitch before departing on a stretcher and going to hospital with concussion.
Derby came tantalisingly close to doubling their advantage three minutes after half-time. A second Coventry substitute, Andy Morrell, announced his arrival with a reckless challenge on Seth Johnson and a quickly taken free-kick saw Tommy Smith scampering into the 18-yard box before angling a shot against the foot of the far post.
The aerial threat of Adebola - who sent another header narrowly over from a corner kick early in the second half - looked the likeliest threat to Derby's lead.
When Coventry equalised in the 57th minute, however, it was his shooting prowess that did for Lee Camp, the goalkeeper failing to narrow the angle swiftly enough as the striker powered through the centre to convert Hall's pass.
Just as Coventry had been thrown into disarray by Shaw's misfortune, so Derby now struggled to regroup. As the contest entered its final third, Adebola should have punished them with a far-post header, but two yards from goal he somehow contrived to miss the ball.
Derby County (4-3-2-1): Camp; Kenna, Edworthy (Peschisolido, 88), M Johnson, S Johnson; Bolder, Idiakez, Thirlwell (Fadiga, 66); Bisgaard, Smith; Tudgay (Holdsworth, 73). Substitutes not used: Poole (gk), Nyatanga.
Coventry City (4-4-2): Bywater; Duffy, Shaw (Whing, 37), Heath (Wood, 60), Hall; Flood (Morrell, h-t), Jorgensen, Doyle, McSheffrey; Adebola, Scowcroft. Substitutes not used: Ince (gk), Hughes.
Referee: P Walton (Northants).
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