Derby County 3, Leeds United 1
Leeds United manager Neil Warnock thought the outcome of their match at Derby yesterday might have been different if home midfielder Jeff Hendrick had been shown a red card instead of a yellow for a 35th-minute lunge on Ryan Hall.
“How Hendrick did not get a red card I will never, ever know,” he said after the 3-1 defeat against County.
“It’s a horrendous challenge, it’s a career-threatening challenge and to get a yellow card for that, I do not understand the game.
“They’re even saying Ryan Hall got up quickly, as if that’s a crime. What do we tell them to do, stay down and roll around? It was bad at the time but it’s even worse when you watch it again.
“I thought we were poor for the first half-hour but we withstood that and I didn’t think they could improve, but I thought we could be 100 per cent better in the second half and I thought we were.
“The second goal was always going to be the winner and we couldn’t quite manage it.
“You need the rub of the green at times but it would have been entirely different with ten men.”
Meanwhile, Derby manager Nigel Clough will do everything he can to keep rising star Will Hughes after the teenager orchestrated the club’s eighth successive victory over Leeds.
The 17-year-old midfielder was outstanding in the npower Championship clash, setting up the opening goal for Conor Sammon.
And although Paul Green equalised against his former club, Jake Buxton and Ben Davies sealed a deserved 3-1 win yesterday.
“I think a few of the big boys are watching him which is a great compliment to him and the academy lads, but if they are we will do everything we can to hang on to him,” Clough said.
“Early on, I thought they stopped him playing just through good closing down so we couldn’t quite get him on the ball, but once the game opened up he was outstanding again.
“We were on the front foot early on and it was a very, very solid home performance. Apart from a small period in the game we played some excellent stuff and the character and honesty of the players again shone through.
“Considering the rivalry (between Derby and Leeds), it’s not a local derby in terms of miles but usually they are very tight games, as it was here, so to get eight straight victories is quite incredible.”
There was little to warm the fans on a cold afternoon until Derby took a quick free-kick inside the Leeds half in the 15th minute and Hughes’ astute pass sent Sammon in to beat Paddy Kenny with a low shot from 12 yards.
Leeds had been second best but they scored just before the interval when Lee Peltier crossed from the left and Luciano Becchio headed on for Green to turn the ball in.
Hughes almost restored Derby’s lead in the 59th minute when he beat two defenders and fired in a shot which Kenny turned away.
But the keeper was beaten again in the 66th minute when Leeds failed to clear a corner and Richard Keogh drove in a low shot which went in off Buxton.
Davies then came off the bench to settle the contest in the last minute of stoppage time, bending an unstoppable shot to keep Derby’s amazing run against Leeds going.