Derby County vs Rotherham match report: Jeff Hendrick helps Steve McLaren’s side bounce back from play-off heartache

Rams make winning start as last season's Wembley defeat is quickly forgotten thanks to midfielder Hendrick

iPro Stadium

When Steve McClaren was manager of FC Twente in the Netherlands, he dusted himself down after the Enschede club finished runners-up in the league and cup in his first campaign and duly steered them to a historic first Eredivisie title the next year. At Derby County this season, his job is to put May’s agonising last-minute play-off final loss to QPR behind him and go again in search of promotion to the Premier League and the evidence at the iPro Stadium on Saturday was encouraging.

The 30,105 attendance – some 9,000 up on the opening-day turnout here a year ago – illustrated that the optimism of Derby’s supporters remains intact and McClaren’s men responded with a hard-earned victory which offered reason to believe there will be no hangover from their Wembley heartbreak. McClaren and his coaching staff of Paul Simpson and Eric Steele had signed new three-year contracts on Thursday to complete an encouraging summer in which the club’s academy gained Category One status and, moreover, key players like Craig Bryson, Will Hughes and Jeff Hendrick signed their own new deals. Hendrick, a 22-year-old Dubliner, underlined his value with the winner eight minutes from the end.

“It was a great finish and a great move,” said McClaren of a goal that also showcased the promise of 21-year-old right-back Cyrus Christie, who caught the eye with his forward runs on his debut after arriving from Coventry. When substitute Jamie Ward picked out his overlapping run down the right, he cut inside and picked out Hendrick, who curled a neat finish inside the far corner. “He defended well one-on-one and was aggressive front foot,” added McClaren.

It was a goal that left Rotherham manager Steve Evans frustrated. He argued that midfielder Ben Pringle had been fouled in the build-up and rued the opportunities that went begging at the death when home goalkeeper Lee Grant made an excellent reaction save from a Paul Green header, and Craig Forsyth blocked Kieran Agard’s follow-up on the line. “The whole ground knew we deserved a point,” said Evans, yet he will be satisfied by the way his side dug in.

By contrast, Rotherham won at Wembley in May, beating Leyton Orient on penalties in the League One play-off final and the opening quarter-hour was a case of ‘Welcome to the Championship’ as Derby, starting at a high tempo, pinned them back. However, the manner in which they responded against last term’s Championship top scorers augured well for their prospects after back-to-back promotions.

In terms of real scoring chances, Derby had little to show for their exuberant start. Midway through the first half Simon Dawkins had a curling 20-yard shot deflected behind. Then Christie crossed for Johnny Russell to draw a fine low save from Adam Collin with a near-post header. Rotherham began to threaten from set pieces and it took a goal-line clearance from Hughes to keep out Kari Arnason’s flicked header from a Pringle corner.

Hughes worked hard in the holding midfield role in the absence of George Thorne, McClaren’s £2m summer recruit, the unfortunate victim of a ruptured cruciate ligament days after signing.  But by the time Hughes made way for Omar Mascarell, a loan recruit from Real Madrid’s B team, Rotherham were firmly in the contest and on the hour, striker Matt Derbyshire, one of Evans’ 12 summer signings, could have put them ahead only to direct a glancing header off target.

Instead Derby scored. “For the first 20-25 minutes we were excellent,” McClaren added, “but we got a little frustrated and lost our patience. It was heading for a draw  but I told the players to keep knocking at door as we have the quality to win games, which we did.”


Derby (4-3-3): Grant; Christie, Keogh, Buxton, Forsyth; Hendrick, Hughes (Mascarell, 53), Bryson; Dawkins (Best, 80), Martin, Russell (Ward, 64).

Rotherham (4-4-2): Collin; Broadfoot, Morgan, Arnason, Skarz; Agard, Green, Frecklington, Pringle; Derbyshire (Swift, 70), Revell (Bowery, 58).

Referee: Kevin Friend.

Man of the match: Cyrus Christie (Derby)

Match rating: 6/10

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map