The storm of booing which greeted the final whistle here was lower in volume than the dissent which Derby County faced at half-time, but only because two-thirds of those who braved the elements had left once it became clear Scunthorpe United were cruising to a crushing victory.
The game that marked the first anniversary of Nigel Clough's arrival as manager produced Derby's heaviest home defeat since their final Premier League fixture two years ago. Garry Thompson, who had not scored for Scunthorpe in 12 months, helped himself to two goals and nearly collected a hat-trick as the home defence came apart like a cheap Christmas cracker.
The manner and margin of Derby's third consecutive home defeat were all the more embarrassing given that Scunthorpe came into the game on the back of only one win in 12 matches. Nigel Adkins' side had also won just once away and they have the worst defensive record in the Championship.
Clough, who described his first year in charge as one of "scrapping and fighting" towards the lower end of the table, did not attempt to try to play down Derby's deficiencies. "At the moment, when the first goal goes in against us, we're having problems responding," he explained. "The two centre-halves who did ever so well in the 0-0 draw at Newcastle [Jake Buxton and Miles Addison] struggled today.
"We just didn't have the character out there at the moment to get back into a game. We had a good spell for 20 minutes after half-time, and if we'd played like that throughout, I don't think we'd have been beaten. That sort of desire is all supporters want to see. We lack aggression, and teams coming here are finding it too comfortable. That's going to have to change."
Adkins was quick to praise Thompson, the winger he signed on a free transfer from Morecambe after he had helped the Lancashire club gain promotion to the League, but added surprisingly that he "raised his voice" to his players at the break because he felt they had "lacked concentration".
Gary Hooper gave Scunthorpe an early lead by firing his ninth goal of the season from Martyn Woolford's pass. Paul Hayes dummied the ball for Thompson to stroke the second as half-time beckoned, and although Marcus Williams deflected Kris Commons' shot past Josh Lillis to raise Derby's hopes, Adkins' introduction of Sam Togwell restored the initiative to Scunthorpe.
The newcomer soon forced Stephen Bywater into a desperate save and sent another drive inches wide before Hopper, holding off Buxton, cleverly set up Thompson for his second goal. Thompson's benefit afternoon culminated in a shot which was charged down, the ball rolling obligingly for Jonathan Forte to complete Derby's despair.Reuse content