Couldn't do anything about the goal which was a great top corner finish from Will Hughes. McCarthy, kept us in the match in the first half with a couple of good saves and also commanded his box well. The keeper's only negative was a few goal kicks that went straight out.
Chris Gunter: 6
Solid for most of the game and linked up well with McCleary a couple of times. However as a player he still doesn't fill me with confidence either defensively or when attacking.
Also solid. The captain looked comfortable on the ball, tackled and headed away when needed. Even when he'd been punched in the head by their keeper, 30 seconds later he was heading away a long ball from Derby's keeper's goal kick.
Alex Pearce: 6
Like Morrison he was dependable when needed but unlike the captain, Pearce looks like a rabbit in headlights when the ball is at his feet.
I always feel for a player playing out of position as Kelly was forced to after Wayne Bridge's injury. The Irishman had a good game but struggled to make an impact further forward because of his lack of a left foot.
Danny Guthrie: 7
It would be an 8 if he'd had cleared the ball before their goal while the former Bolton player was also guilty of giving the ball away a couple of times. Overall our new style of play is working much better with Guthrie's ability to pass and keep the ball moving.
Chris Baird: 7
Looked comfortable at this level, including organising the team well at set plays. Interestingly a number of times he dropped into centre back to pick up the ball from McCarthy creating a back 3 with the centre backs going out wide and the full backs pushing up the field.
Jordan Obita: 8
A confident first start from the 19 year old going about his work with minimum fuss, keeping passes simple and fitting into the team like a seasoned regular. His set piece delivery was quality through out and led to the all important opening goal. All impressive considering he has been touted as a winger not a central midfielder. Against strong central midfields he might be a bit light weight.
Great pace and desire to set up the last goal. Didn't show much in the first half but second half he also put a chance on a plate for McCleary that should've been taken.
A constant threat down the right wing but lacking quality with his finishing and deliveries. Got a bit lucky with the assist for the Pog's goal.
Pavel Pogrebnyak : 7
First half a 6, second half an 8. Very much a game of two halves for the big Russian. First half starved of service he looked isolated from the midfield/wingers. Dropping deeper for the ball meant more involvement but didn't have the pace to make it into the box to be ready to take any chances. Second half took his chances well and looked like a different player, showing a lot more desire to shut down the opposition and show for the ball.
Hope Apkan: 6
Replacing Baird was always going to be difficult as Apkans ball-playing ability is not of the same quality. But put a shift in, worked hard, a Karacanesque performance.
Did okay playing out of his normal position, but with Guthrie was also at fault for their goal, being out muscled and not clearing the ball.
Looked lively when he came on and took his chance well. Had to make a very long run to be in position to take the chance. Not too sure about the celebration.
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