MATCH REPORTS

Resilient Rams Deny League Leaders

Nile Ranger v Derby

NEWCASTLE UNITED 0
DERBY COUNTY 0
Coca-Cola Championship
St.James' Park
Monday, December 28, 2009
Kick-off 5.20pm

Craig Hope reports from St.James' Park ...

FULL-TIME SUMMARY

NEWCASTLE United paid the price for a string of missed chances as a resolute Derby County held on to claim a point at a frost-bitten St.James' Park.

The Magpies made a roaring start and Ryan Taylor crashed a 20-yard free-kick against the crossbar in the 11th minute.

The same player then found himself clean through on goal just moments later but couldn't find the finish to match Jonas Gutierrez's defence-splitting pass as Stephen Bywater stood strong to deny the Scouser.

Steven Taylor was next to see Bywater thwart United's ultimately fruitless search for an opener when his header, from six yards, was plucked to safety by the visiting stopper on 57 minutes.

But the best chance of the game fell to substitute Nile Ranger with just two minutes left on the clock; the Londoner seeing a close-range volley cannon up off the underside of the crossbar before bouncing on the goal-line.

Derby saw Jay McEveley sent off in injury time for a second bookable offence but The Magpies were unable to find that elusive winner.

SECOND-HALF UPDATES (click refresh for latest)

Full-time, it ends goalless.

90+3min - United have a corner - last chance surely! Gutierrez delivers but it's a poor delivery and Savage hacks clear at the near post.

90+1min - DERBY RED CARD: Gutierrez is sent flailing by Jay McEveley on the right flank and the Scot duly receives a second yellow.

There will be three minutes to find a winner.

90min - Kevin Nolan is booked for a blatant trip on Green 20 yards out Savage lifts the resultant free-kick high over the crossbar.

88min - United will not get a better chance than that! Kevin Nolan drops a cross onto the boot of Nile Ranger two yards from goal but the young forward, stretching, can only steer up onto the underside of the crossbar before the ball bounces on the line and is grasped by a relieved Bywater - that was close.

87min - Nile Ranger is flattened by a sliding Robbie Savage and the skipper is booked.

85min - Robbie Salvage gets a knee full in the face of team-mate Miles Addison and is leaft crumpled in a heap just inside the Derby half.

81min - United are struggling to break down what is a deeply entrenched Rams backline and a succession of crosses from Pancrate are all comfortably dealt with by Addison and Buxton.

78min - Nile Ranger is going to enter the fray as one last throw of the dice for United with Peter Lovenkrands making way.

75min - United have 15 minutes to find a winner - they are currently camped in County territory.

73min - Pancrate does well to hook into the danger zone from the right, the ball falls from the sky with Ameobi and Buxton jostling six yards from goal, the County man manages to apply the merest of touches to divert clear but Nolan returns with a looping cross. Pancrate, drifting in from the right, heads but Lovenkrands is unable to turn his knockdown on goal and The Rams swipe clear.

70min - Chris Hughton makes another change with Fabrice Pancrate coming on for Ryan Taylor.

69min - Kris Commons replaces Lee Hendrie for Derby.

67min - Ameobi immediately gets to work down the left and wins a corner off McEveley. Ryan Taylor whips in but namesake Steven is penalised for a high boot which connects with the forehead of a stooping Miles Addison.

65min - Andy Carroll is going to be replaced by Shola Ameobi who receives a warn reception from the home fans - can he find the winner?

59min - The crowd will Smith to shoot 30 yards out and the skipper duly obliges but his daisy-cutter is kept out with relative ease by Bywater.

57min - And that spark arrives when Andy Carroll steps inside a Rams shirt on the edge of the area before clipping right footed onto the head of an unmarked Steven Taylor six yards from goal. The Geordie defender leaps to power on target but fails to guide clear of Bywater who plucks the ball to safety in the middle of his goal.

55min - Dare we say it but this game is meandering towards a draw; United need a spark from somewhere.

52min - Carroll escapes Pearson midway inside The Rams'half and powers upfield. The Geordie looks for partner Lovenkrands with a whipped ball to the far post but the recovering Pearson arrives to intercept at the expense of a corner. Bywater claims, though, from Taylor's delivery.

49min - Veterans Hendrie and Savage combine with the former teeing up his blonde-haired skipper for a strike from range. Sadly, though, for Derby, the Welshman slices wildy into the Gallowgate End - much to the delight of the Toon Army.

Derby get us started attacking the Gallowgate End.

The temperature must have dropped inside St.James' - big Andy Carroll has emerged for the second half having changed into a long-sleeved shirt!

FIRST-HALF UPDATES

Half-time, 0-0.

45+1min - A speculative punt downfield somehow springs Kevin Nolan clear. The Scouser carries into the area but, under pressure from Buxton, fails to get a shot away on target and County clear.

There will be one minute added time.

42min - A full speed Gutierrez is chopped down by Hulse on the East Stand touchline and the burly frontman duly sees yellow.

40min - County are enjoying their best spell so far and win a corner when Green's centre skids behind off the studs of Enrique on the left. Green centres but a whistle sounds for a foul by Hulse and United have a free-kick.

36min - United have lost a little momentum after their purposeful opening but win a corner after good work from Nolan down the left. Ryan Taylor whips over and shouts go up for a penalty when Andy Carroll flies to the turf under the challenge of Addison - referee Kevin Wright is having none of those appeals and County clear.

33min - The game's first booking sees Jay McEveley penalised for a tug on Ryan Taylor on the Milburn Stand touchline.

29min - A training ground routine almost pays dividends for United when Ryan Taylor drops a reverse free-kick over the shoulder of Kevin Nolan but the Scouser, on the angle of the six-yard area, can only hook onto the roof of Stephen Bywater's net - not a bad effort, though.

25min - A rare Derby attack almost ends in a goal when Hulse gets the better of Coloccini before zipping a low ball into the near post. Campbell has stole in unmarked and is only denied a goal by the knees of Steve Harper who blocks his first-time stab.

22min - The Magpies are camped in the County half and win another corner when Hulse hurls his frame to divert Ryan Taylor's dipping cross up and over the crossbar from the toe of Steven Taylor. Carroll wins from Taylor's delivery but Savage hacks clear the loose ball.

19min - Gutierrez carves open the visiting defence with a slick reverse ball and Ryan Taylor is on goal. The Scouser has time, perhaps too much, and fails to beat Bywater who keeps his feet before toeing behind Taylor's low side-footer from the edge of the area. United fail to make anything from the corner.

16min - Gutierrez drives at The Rams backline before drawing a low cross into the area from the left, Lovenkrands races to seize the ball and shows terrific invention in teeing himself up for a volley which skids across goal before brushing the base of the post and travelling wide - unlucky.

15min - Enrique hoists a cross over from the left and Andy Carroll wins his tussle with Buxton only for the striker's header to bounce the wrong side of the upright.

11min - And when the set-piece is taken it's Ryan Taylor who rattles the Gallowgate End crossbar with the ball bounces up into the fans behind the goal - that was close.

10min - Enrique roars by a succession of blue shirts down the left flank and slips a pass inside to Lovenkrands. The Dane, having been caught by Buxton, is stumbling and when he fails to find Carroll, unmarked in the area, referee Kevin Wright blows for a free-kick at the scene of Buxton's earlier offence.

6min - Stephen Pearson sets off on a powerful burst from midfield but his pace is no match for that of Jose Enrique and the Spaniard out-muscles the former Celtic man as he attempted to make inroads into the United penalty area.

2min - United build down the left and Peter Lovenkrands beats the offside trap before floating a far-post cross in the direction of strike partner Andy Carroll. The Geordie, judging the flight of the ball, peels off Addison but can only head into the ground and then into the side-netting of Stephen Bywater's target from the angle of the six-yard area.

United get us started attacking the Gallowgate End.

The tea-time start means today's other Championship results are in, and with West Brom winning away at Scunthorpe, United's lead at the top has been shaved to five points. Notts Forest also collected maximum points, at home to Coventry, meaning they are now seven points behind Chris Hughton's men.

TEAM NEWS

CHRIS Hughton makes four changes to the side which drew at Sheffield Wednesday on Boxing Day with Alan Smith returning to skipper the side.

Smith, who sat out of the Hillsborough clash with a slight ankle knock, replaces Nicky Butt in the centre of midfield.

A new-look forward line of Andy Carroll and Peter Lovenkrands replace Shola Ameobi and Marlon Harewood, whose loan deal has now expired.

The other change sees Ryan Taylor come in for Danny Guthrie on the right-hand side of midfield.

TEAMS

NUFC: Steve Harper, Danny Simpson, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini, Jose Enrique, Ryan Taylor, Alan Smith (c), Kevin Nolan, Jonas Gutierrez, Andy Carroll, Peter Lovenkrands
Subs: Tim Krul, Tamas Kadar, Danny Guthrie, Fabrice Pancrate, Shola Ameobi, Nicky Butt, Nile Ranger

DCFC: Stephen Bywater, Paul Connolly, James McEveley, Paul Green, Miles Addison, Robbie Savage (c), Rob Hulse, Stephen Pearson, Jake Buxton, Lee Hendrie, DJ Campbell
Subs: Lee Croft, Kris Commons, Gary Teale, Saul Deeney, Ben Pringle, Jake Livermore, Paul Dickov

Referee: Kevin Wright
Attendance: 47, 505

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