Derby County 1 - West Bromwich Albion 0

Date: Monday 27th December 2021 Live on Sky Sports
Competition: Sky Bet Championship
(3-4-3) Johnstone 2.8, Kipré 4.6, Bartley 4.4, Clarke 4.1, Furlong 3.1 (Gardner-Hickman, 76 6.1), Livermore 4.4, Molumby 4.1, Townsend 5.2, Diangana 3.6 (Hugill, 63 2.7), Robinson 3.8, Reach 3.6 (Fellows, 62 6.4)
Unused subs: Button, Ajayi, Tulloch, Ashworth
Manager: Valérien Ismaël  1.8
Referee: James Linington (Isle of Wight) 5.1
Attendance: 24,846   Home Fans 4.2   Away Fans 5.9
Submit your ratings for this game by clicking here: Ratings submitted so far: 16

Brendan Clegg:

Quite familiar. Physically stronger, better players, largely in control of the match because of that and despite our kick n rush tactics and predictable long throws.

Disappointing selections - I thought this was a real opportunity for TGH to come in on the right of attack and give Diagana a go on the left in his almost painfully obviously best position. Reach got the nod instead.

The better team first half but woeful decision making in the final 3rd, or rushed passes when there was no need. Poor finishing when decent chances came.

At half time I’d still have got TGH on the right and moved Grady left for Reach. Derby were absolutely there for the taking. As poor as Barnsley. Maybe worse.

But nothing changed and then a howler from SJ, putting Kipre in an impossible position, gifted Derby the lead.

With more than 30 to go and with 2 Derby centre backs on a yellow, there was plenty of time to not just equalise but to go on and win it. Change the system, introduce some variety.

But no - on plodded Hugill in the same system and Diagana was hooked for the rookie Fellows.

And it was all the same. At least Fellows playing on his natural side looked quick and created things without having to check back, but we didn’t look like getting back into it and the hoofs were what the very old and very booked Derby centre backs wanted more than anything.

TGH came on and improved us, and at the death Robinson on the left dribbled and crossed with his left foot (what is this witchcraft?) and Bartley drew a decent save.

I can’t be the only person absolutely furious with the manager, his tactics, his selections, his complete refusal to change things and his inability to help this team score goals. It shouldn’t be beyond this squad and we are massively under achieving. It does feel like he’s a total blagger, out of his depth, devaluing the few assets we have with every game and bending statistics to justify his failing methods.

What the hell was that corner about in the second half when we had 3 centre backs wrestling with their markers in the goal on the back post and then we floated it into the keeper’s arms? Elite football it was not.

Sorry to be so negative - I can stomach a lot with the Albion but under-achieving when the stakes are so high is criminal. He does feel like our poorest manager in 20 years. I hope I’m wrong, we get Dike in and suddenly it all clicks into place. We will get pummelled into oblivion if we ever get promoted though. I’d take it mind you!

  • SJ - 5 Big error but too little to do.
  • Kipre - 6 Thought he did okay.
  • Bartley - 6 On top and our most dangerous attacker.
  • Clarke - 6 Solid but loves the whack too much.
  • Furlong - 5 Committed but quality was really bad again. Relax man.
  • Livermore - 7 Dominated the centre and tried to pick passes. Sure he’ll get the blame.
  • Molumby - 6 More understated but we were on top of the midfield.
  • Townsend - 6 Decision making seems to have deserted him.
  • Grady - 4 Is just too easy to play against on the right and when it’s whack ball.
  • Robinson - 4 Seemed to pick the wrong choice all game but was at least in the thick of it.
  • Reach - 4 Honest but limited and when he got the chance to deliver he messed it up.
  • Hugill - 3 Weakened us, if that was possible.
  • Fellows - 6 Through basic quick play he put two of our best crosses in. Looked lively.
  • TGH - 6 One of our better players when introduced.


It hurts. To see this grand old club playing elementary crude football like this. unable to get into the penalty box and hurt the opposition. Every manager knows how to play us. It hurts.

When will we be free of the likes of Mr Lai and this dud manager.

When we signed him from Barnsley I worried. Now I am beyond worrying. My fears have proved well founded. I just could not care less any more.

This is no longer the club I grew up with from childhood. Once upon a long ago we had quality. West Bromwich Albion once stood for quality. Not any more. It has been coming since the days of Mr Peace and it has steadily worsened.

The days of wine and roses? they laughed and ran away through a closing door. A door marked never more.

Kev Buckley:

Edge of the Boxing Day 2021: Albion find, and upwrap, left-over present for Rams

This is getting beyond a joke now, and no, I don't mean the Ashes: I mean this strict adherence to the 343, even when the starting XI are not going to be able to do what the preferred starters are sent out to try and do with it.

With two starters missing, Molumby for Mowatt kind of makes sense, but with Grant out, and Grant being the player asked to hang out on the left up front and to cut inside and get off a right-footed shot once a game, surely you want a player (probably a right-footed player ?), who is going to be able to reprise the same role, with a potential bonus of any replacement having a decent chance of having a bit more impact on the game than that one shot.

So what do we get? We get Reach, a left-footed player whose best game, for me, was the time he played as the left-centre-back. This seems to beg the question of the manager: if you are going to play a left-footed player wide left, and give up on the 'cutting in" part of your plan, then why not play your best left-footed wide player, Diangana, at the club there, and change the plan?

Look, I know this will be seen as heresy by anyone still putting their faith into the "Barnsley in the Black Country" four-year plan, and the anticipation that bringing in strikers from Barnsley - who will not only know exactly what the manager wants, but might also score the goals that they haven't yet helped Barnsley with - but why not, before more Barnsley players arrive, give another formation a go against the bottom team in the division: even if it's just for a half? It is Christmas after all: people like to have a break from the routine at Xmas.

Once again though, we get to witness a performance that gives the manager another chance to play the "if only we had a striker, it'd be "ding, dong, merrily on on high time" card, although with the best "chances" of the first half being Reach's cross - that was just a little too firm to allow Furlong to get onto the end of it; Kipre just failing to get a touch after a set-piece melee saw the ball loose inside the six-yard box; Livermore failing to get enough direction on a side-footed shot to get it beyond the blocking defender, and the same player playing in Robinson down the inside-right channel, only to see a weak left-footed effort as the end product, you do have to wonder what any new striker is going to have to work with.

Just short of the hour though, it become a sad joke, as a high looping ball, the result of one of our midfield players trying to intercept another Derby pass that seemed to be going astray and merely slicing it skywards, looked like landing a couple of yards behind our back three, on the edge of our box, at the edge of which box stood Johnstone.

Johnstone clearly thought all he had to do was come out of the box a yard or two and head it clear, but Kipre clearly thought that all that was needed was for Johnstone to go back a yard from the edge of the box and he would head it back into the keeper's arms, and so in what seems likely to be best classified as the complete opposite of an "After you Claude" moment, in which neither player does anything, both players did what they clearly thought was right, which thus saw Kipre's header connecting with Johnstone at head height, and the ball dropping to ground some twenty yards out, from where a just-introduced Derby substitute was able to steer the ball into the middle of an empty net.

As to whether conceding the goal brought forwards the substitutions that, by now, have become as meaningless as they are formulaic, we'll probably never know, although swapping Reach (who had done everything asked of him in the Grant role, by way of having as little impact as Grant would have, bar that one "almost" moment that guarantees KG a start every game) for Hugill, seemed to offer a tiny sliver of hope that Diangana might move to the left, and see Robinson move to the right to allow Hugill to bring whatever he does to the game centrally. But no: Diangana the left-footed player being asked to cut in from the right is pulled so that Fellows can have a run there, and Robinson gets moved to the left.

This is a kind of total football of a kind that only the deepest Dutch thinkers would understand, and, as if that claim needed any evidence to support it, it surely came when left-centre-back Clarke headed over at the back-post on the right, from a cross from the left by Kipre, the right-centre-back. Not that that was the final attacking contribution from the back three either, with Bartley managing to head straight at the keeper deep into "stick it in the mixer" time.

At one corner too, and this is a new one on me, we witnessed the sight of all three of them loitering around the back post, presumably in an attempt to make a nuisance of themselves in the same way (for those of you who remember international travel) that jet-lagged passengers will stand tightly around the carousel, and so block off the bags actually on it from being claimed by their fellow travellers. Both activities seem about as pointless as they are laughable.


I always try and look for positives after any game but after such a dire performance against one of the worst teams in the division it is very difficult.

Defensively we were pretty solid but one catastrophic cock-up cost us the game, or a point, as we probably would not have scored until next Christmas.

Without Mowatt and Gardner Hickman the lack of creativity in midfield was frightening.

The lack of imagination and courage by our one dimensional manager will only end in mid table mediocrity.

I do believe that some of our squad are better than their performances indicate and this suggests that they are not comfortable being asked to play hoofball. Fellows and Hickman did provide a flurry in the final 15 minutes but too late.

Reyes Cleary on one leg has to be better than Hugill.

After Huddersfield, Barnsley and now Derby my patience with this coach is wearing extremely thin but as we do not have any expertise on the board the club will probably fade away and become another Sheffield Wednesday or Sunderland and as I have said before our talented youngsters will probaly end up at the Villa.