REPORT | Wanderers 2 Derby County 1

Dacres-Cogley celebration

Wanderers came from behind to claim a confidence-boosting win and move back level with the leading pack at the top of League One, writes Pete Oliver.

After in-form Derby had led from the penalty spot in pursuit of a fourth win in five games, the Whites hit back with a spot-kick of their own as top scorer Dion Charles scored for the third game in a row.

And after the Rams had been reduced to 10 men early in the second half with the dismissal of goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith, Ian Evatt’s men then won it through an own-goal from Tyrese Fornah to go into the international break on a high.

Fornah deflected a cross from Josh Dacres-Cogley into his own net but any fortune going Wanderers’ way was well deserved in a game they dominated almost from start to finish.

Charles penalty Derby

The Whites ultimately made their numerical advantage count against a side likely to be one of their rivals in the challenge at the top end of the table and with 13 points from their opening six games, Evatt’s side can reflect on an excellent start to the season as they take a two-week breather from League One action.

Wanderers had fit-again skipper Ricardo Almeida Santos back in the ranks and Eoin Toal alongside him in a first start in the league this season.

But it was Derby who had to do all the early defending in a blistering start from the Whites.

There were only three minutes gone when the Rams were opened up for the first time as  Charles ran onto a Gethin Jones’ pass to pull the ball for George Thomason, whose fierce first-time strike brought a sharp save out of Wildsmith.

Charles then created an opening for Kyle Dempsey, who against tested the Derby keeper at his near post.

Charles penalty celebration

And in a first half-hour of almost total domination from Wanderers, Wildsmith was then relieved to see an effort from Josh Dacres-Cogley clip the top of the crossbar after wing-back was picked out by the over-lapping Jones.

Derby’s only threat had come from set-pieces but with 33 minutes gone they capitalised on one to go in front following back-to-back corners.

The first brought a penalty shout for handball from the visitors and from the second they did get a verdict when referee Charles Breakspear pointed to the spot for an off-the-ball infringement by Victor Adeboyejo to give Conor Hourihane the chance to convert from the penalty spot.

That briefly stunned the Whites but they gathered their wits and delivered the perfect response with an equaliser before half-time with a penalty of their own.

Josh Sheehan’s burst into the box was ended by Korey Smith, who bundled the Wanderers’ midfielder to the floor.

Charles coolly stepped up to send Wildsmith the wrong way and steer home his fifth goal of the season to deservedly send Wanderers in level at the break and only inches from being in front as Toal’s header from a Sheehan corner bounced inches wide of the target.

Evatt touchline Derby

Breakspear was again at the centre of events three minutes into the second half when he sent off Wildsmith for saving a Charles’ effort outside the penalty area as the Wanderers’ striker drove the ball goalwards after Wildsmith had come out of the box to tackle Adeboyejo following another rapid Wanderers’ start.

That left the Rams with 10 men as substitute keeper Josh Vickers replaced striker Conor Washington and Wanderers with even more possession as they set out their stall to try and find a winner.

The first chance fell Adeboyejo’s way after a lovely jinking run by Sheehan but the striker’s shot on the turn was blocked and Thomason couldn’t make more of the rebound.

It was attack versus defence as Derby threw up a wall of green shirts as the volume cranked up inside the stadium.

And 20 minutes into the second half, the home fans had something extra to shout about as the pressure paid off.

Wing-backs Randell Williams and Dacres-Cogley saw as much of the ball as anyone as Wanderers looked to stretch the player and wear Derby down.

And it was Dacres-Cogley who made the breakthrough when his cross took a deflection off Fornah and looped up and in to put the Whites in front.

Wanderers still needed to make sure and Williams almost added a third with a low drive palmed out by Vickers before Evatt sent on further fresh legs to try and finish the job.

Derby also made all their permitted changes and, with nothing to lose, inevitably mustered some late pressure in the eight minutes of added time.

But Wanderers’ dealt with the threat to secure three valuable points to further banish the disappointment of their sole defeat to Wigan a fortnight ago and keep looking up.

Wanderers: Baxter; Jones, Almeida Santos, Toal; Thomason (Maghoma 79); Dacres-Cogley (Mendes Gomes 76), Sheehan (Morley 87), Dempsey, Williams; Charles (Nlundulu 87), Adeboyejo (Jerome 79). Substitutes: Bodvarsson, Forrester.

Booked: Williams

Derby County: Wildsmith; Rooney (Bradley 14), Nelson, Forsyth; Mendez-Laing, Smith (Cashin 75), Hourihane, Elder (Collins 75); Fornah; Washington (Vickers 50), Waghorn (John-Jules 75). Substitutes: Barkhuizen, Radcliffe.

Booked: Smith

Referee: Charles Breakspear

Attendance: 21,754 (3,139)

Read Time: 5 mins