Derby County (Away)

Jun 1, 2023 | 2023 A Season in Review

Pride Park Saturday 29th October 2022

Derby County 4

McGoldrick (5,24, 40), Collins (12)

Bristol Rovers 2

Thomas (35), Evans (45+3 (pen))

Referee: Martin Coy


Although they played two FA Cup ties at Pride Park in the noughties, this was Rovers’ first ever visit to that venue for a league match.

Once again manager Joe Barton was forced to make changes to his starting XI. Ryan Loft, who limped out of the game at Hillsborough three days earlier, was missing, as was Lewis Gibson who picked up a slight injury in the same game and was a non starter this time.

In came Luke McCormick, surely overdue a performance after struggling to make an impression in his second spell at the club, and Luca Hoole who was handed the left sided central defensive role. That latter selection did seem a little bit strange, given that recognised central defenders Alfie Kilgour and James Connolly were on the bench.

Backed by an away following of almost 3,100, Rovers were playing their third crucial game in a week and, following their showing against Sheffield Wednesday, many of that amazing away support were backing them to return to Bristol with three points under their belts.

Those thoughts were quickly blown out of the water by a Derby side keen to impress their own fans and they quickly raced into a three goal lead.

David McGoldrick struck first, after only five minutes. A poor pass by James Gibbons who was attempting to find Hoole, was intercepted by Nathaniel Mendez-Laing who found McGoldrick and he raced on to beat James Belshaw quite comfortably.

Seven minutes later, a corner from the right was glanced on by Haydon Roberts and there, waiting at the back post and completely unmarked, was James Collins who was left with the simplest of tap ins.

McGoldrick scored again after 24 minutes when he turned Hoole and fired a fierce shot into the roof of the net.

Bobby Thomas pulled a goal back for Rovers, hitting a tremendous shot high into the roof of the Derby net when the ball rebounded to him after the home side’s inability to clear Josh Coburn’s header.

That was in the 35th minute, but five minutes later McGoldrick claimed his hat trick when he dispossessed Thomas, who was trying to play his way out of trouble at the back and hit a shot past Belshaw from a tight angle.

Three minutes into first half stoppage time Rovers again reduced the deficit, Antony Evans firing home a penalty after Coburn had been brought down by Craig Forsyth.

It gave hope of a possible dramatic second half comeback, but that never materialised as the home side comfortably saw out the second half with consummate ease.

For Barton’s side, it was probably a game to far in what had been a hectic week. There were positives, though, and that came in the shape of the manager’s substitutions; both James Connolly and Scott Sinclair showed enough to be considered for starts very soon.

The unfortunate Trevor Clarke, though, may have to wait for another opportunity after he became the second Rovers substitute to be substituted in consecutive games and yet the crude challenge which eventually left him unable to continue, saw hat trick hero McGoldrick go unpunished.

Derby County: Wildsmith, Mendez-Laing (Thompson, 80), Cashin, Forsyth, Roberts, Smith, Bird, Hourihane, Dobbin (Sibley, 67), Collins, McGoldrick (Osula, 71).

Substitutes: Stearman, Loach, Oduroh, Rooney.

Bristol Rovers: Belshaw, Gibbons, Hoole (Connolly, 57), Thomas, Gordon (Clarke, 57) (Saunders, 85), Finley, Rossiter, McCormick (Sinclair, 57), Evans, Collins, Coburn.

Substitutes: Jaakkola, Kilgour, Westbrooke.


There were no former Rovers players in the Derby County side

A yellow card was issued to Lewis Gordon

Sam Finley was skipper

Four substitutes used

Second consecutive game when a Rovers substitute (Trevor Clarke) has been substituted

Rovers play in front of 49,847 fans in the space of three days

Nine added minutes

(Photos courtesy of JMP)

Keith Brookman