Football:Rammell tames Rams

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The Independent Online
Barnsley . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

Rammell 11, 22

Derby Co unty. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

Pembridge 29

Attendance: 8,737

THE last time the Derby goalkeeper, Martin Taylor, visited an opponent's ground, an oversized Millwall fan tried to throttle him. At Oakwell, he had to cope with something even worse - his defence.

A certain sleepiness in the away team, second favourites for promotion, was evident even during the kick-in. While the entire Barnsley team ran in a line across the pitch repeatedly, Derby deigned to play a comatose version of keep-up. Their ball skills were more in keeping with the post-World Cup euphoria than Barnsley's grim-faced exhibition of fitness, but there was no doubting Roy McFarland's much-touted team were in the wrong frame of mind.

Barnsley's peripatetic striker Andy Payton was allowed to run through the pack frequently into the area and, in the 11th minute, to set up a goal for Andy Rammell. Payton's strength took him to the edge of the box, where Craig Short and company stopped to watch. Payton's finely-weighted pass found the player-manager Danny Wilson. Wilson nearly split the post with his drive and Rammell side-footed in the rebound.

Paul Williams, Derby's central defender, nearly sliced in an own-goal and tended to over- elaborate. He had tightened up by the second half but by then Derby were further behind. After 23 minutes, a ball from the left eluded a row of defenders, the full-back Nicky Eaden slipped in a pass and Rammell scored another simple goal.

Mark Pembridge, Derby's best player, who had shot against the goalkeeper when put through early on, replied within six minutes. His diagonally hit free-kick from 30 yards disappeared into a crowd of players and materialised behind David Watson at the back of his net, with Watson seemingly at fault.

County d ictated the second half but could not force an equaliser. The result will raise eyebrows as Barnsley just missed relegation and Derby failed only at the last Wembley hurdle. But then first-day games often produce turn-ups. McFarland has an excellent nucleus in Short, Pembridge, Gordon Cowans and Paul Kitson. When Tommy Johnson returns from a leg injury, goals should come easier.