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Last Updated: Saturday, 11 August 2007, 16:23 GMT 17:23 UK
Derby 2-2 Portsmouth
By Ian Hughes

Matt Oakley
Oakley opened the scoring for Derby in clinical fashion
Premier League new-boys Derby held their own against Portsmouth as both sides struggled with new-look line-ups.

With 10 debutants fielded, it was always likely the game may be scrappy but it started well as Derby's Matt Oakley volleyed in on five minutes.

Pompey drew level on 27 minutes when Benjani Mwaruwari's low shot slipped underneath goalkeeper Stephen Bywater.

John Utaka poked in to put Pompey ahead on 83 minutes but Andy Todd levelled with a diving header seconds later.

It was Derby who appeared to gel more quickly.

The hosts displayed few signs of first-day nerves early on - admittedly they were helped by the fact they were in the lead so quickly.

606: DEBATE

A long goal kick was headed on by Steven Howard and Oakley thrashed in a low volley beyond David James.

Derby manager Billy Davies, in the stands serving a touchline ban, seemed to be the only person in Pride Park - Pompey fans aside - to remain in his seat.

Had Todd doubled Derby's lead five minutes later, rather than scoop a shot over the bar, Davies may well have been moved to rise to his feet.

Instead, Pompey began to find more possession and debutant David Nugent could have done better with a couple of chances when in good positions.

But the visitors were soon on level terms when Benjani tricked his way past Griffin before firing his shot under the body of Bywater, who will feel he should have done much better.

In an open game, there could, and perhaps should, have been more goals before half-time.

Howard almost put Derby ahead again when his 40th-minute header hit the outside of the post.

But after the break, both sides appeared reluctant to push forwards as much as they had done in opening 45 minutes.

Utaka curled a free-kick over the bar and Craig Fagan fluffed a shot as both teams misfired.

Then on 55 minutes, Fagan raced clear only to see his shot saved by James.

As the match appeared to be drifting along, it suddenly sparked into life in the last seven minutes.

Utaka got ahead of his marker to clip in a shot from close-range to put Pompey in the lead for the first time.

But he barely had time to celebrate before Todd connected superbly with Gary Teale 's cross to restore parity.


  • Derby boss Billy Davies:
    "I am very proud of the performance. I thought overall we deserved the point, although I am disappointed to have got only the one.

    "It's commendable the way we competed with Portsmouth, given the money they have spent, so I cannot complain.

    "Now we find ourselves competing against the best teams, players and managers and we have to enjoy it."

  • Portsmouth boss Harry Redknapp:
    "I was expecting Derby to play the way they did because any team that has just come up is going to have a go.  

    "I'd hate us to play against Manchester United like that, because we'll be ripped to pieces.

    "It's going to be a long old season, a tough one, and if we finish in the top half at the end of it, then it will be a great achievement."


    Derby: Bywater, Mears, Moore, Davis, Griffin (McEveley 80), Fagan, Oakley, Todd, Pearson, Howard, Earnshaw (Teale 74).
    Subs Not Used: Price, Jones, Macken.

    Booked: Oakley.

    Goals: Oakley 5, Todd 84.

    Portsmouth: James, Lauren, Distin, Campbell, Hreidarsson, Utaka, Davis, Pedro Mendes, Muntari (Taylor 80), Nugent (Kanu 70), Mwaruwari (Pamarot 90).
    Subs Not Used: Ashdown, Hughes.

    Booked: Lauren, Davis.

    Goals: Mwaruwari 27, Utaka 83.

    Att: 32,176

    Ref: Mike Dean (Wirral).



    SEE ALSO
    Saturday's football photos
    11 Aug 07 |  Premier League


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