Brighton 2 Derby 0
After 5 successive defeats to Derby, including two in the play-offs last season, the Seagulls reversed the trend with a somewhat fortunate victory. The Rams dominated possession and had many more chances but we took ours whilst David Stockdale made two crucial saves to keep us in the game.
Before the game John Pargiter asked me for my view. I said that I thought Derby in the absence of Chris Martin and Darren Bent would not score as their only forward was a makeshift Johnny Russell. Under Chris Hughton we are a better organised, more tenacious, side which kept us in the game during periods of Derby pressure. Dale Stephens struck a loose ball home to give us a lead which Lua Lua increased with a powerful drive from 15 yards.
Before the game tribute was paid to Dave Mackay who both captained and managed Derby to a league title. The Spurs double side was the first great side I recall as I was too young for the Busby Babes. I remember skipper Dave Mackay, chest puffed out at the heart of the side. It’s always interesting to ponder whether he could play in today’s game as he was neither the quickest nor the best in the air. Mind you, nor was Bobby Moore. It was an inspired move of Brian Clough to bring him to Derby as he was a born leader and winner. I once met him and he was so softly spoken, belying his hard image epitomised in that photo clutching Billy Bremner’s shirt, the latter looking petrified.
I commiserated with Alan Tanner after the defeat at Watford. He said Fulham might have got something from the game and certainly they have improved too after the 5-0 drubbing at Craven Cottage by Watford. At least both our teams had beaten the league leaders 2-0 and clear blue water was opening between us and the bottom four.