Verdict: Derby 0 Saints 1

Last updated : 24 August 2008 By Peattie B

Saints made one change from the home defeat by Birmingham putting in young winger/forward Jamie White for Stern John, making up six of the starting line up that had progressed through the clubs youth team setup.

The team lined up as has come tradition so far this season in a 4-5-1 when defending, pushing into a 4-3-3 in attack. Still with no established full backs at the club Lloyd James and Andrew Surman once again filled the right and left back slots respectively. Nathan Dyer made the bench as did new loan signing Jack Cork after his move from Chelsea.

First half - building momentum

Derby began the match the stronger having the better of the opening ten minutes, but after this short period Saints grabbed a strangle hold on the game and could have been three or four to the good by half time.

Ex-Derby winger Lee Holmes had the first opportunity after being put through by a clever ball from debutant Jamie White. However his chip was palmed into the air by Rams keeper Roy Carroll and headed from just in front of the line over the bar from the chasing Tyrone Mears.

David McGoldrick was the next to race clear of the home sides static defence but he seemed to have too much time to ponder and his eventual shot was expertly saved by Roy Carroll who got enough on the ball to push it just round the post.

Derby did threaten to come back into the game with a couple of corners and their first real chance game around five minutes before the break as Rob Hulse's pull back came to Robbie Savage, but the Welshman fired over into the travelling contingent.

However, this was a one off and Saints soon had another chance this time the impressive Lallana being put through after clever play from James and McGoldrick but again Carroll thwarted the attack with another smart save and was quick to smother the loose ball.

The Rams did almost take a surprise lead into the break. A Kris Commons corner found Argentine Emanuel Villa whose header was expertly saved by Kelvin Davis in the Saints net.

Second half - one way traffic

The second half was again one way traffic as Saints really took the game to Derby. Early chances saw Lee Holmes fire just past the left upright and Lallana neatly swivel and shoot wide just inside the area.

It could have all been so different though. New Derby boy Kris Commons being denied one-on-one by Davis, his only other real piece of action needed and a quick break followed that forced the winning goal.

Lloyd James cleaned up in defence and set Jamie White off on a run. As he tormented the Derby defence his cross found Adam LALLANA whose first effort was saved by Carroll however his second hit the bar and bounced over the line, but McGoldrick made sure to take the lead and send the away support into raptures.

In the final hour, Saints took control of the game and could and maybe should have extended the lead. McGoldrick having two headers the first hitting the bar the latter being tipped over.

Paul Wotton replaced the impressive Jamie White with 23 minutes left to play to shore up the midfield with Lallana pushing wide right and Jack Cork made his full debut at full back coming on for the injured Lloyd James with 20 minutes to go.

Saints played out the game in style and secured a valuable first victory in the league and to do it at Pride Park with such a young inexperienced team against a team that has spent a lot in comparison during the summer was simply amazing.

Verdict - breath of fresh air

This was my first match of the season and although I was excited about the regime after the unlucky first couple of league matches I was anxious for us to play well for a full ninety minutes and take our chances.

Although we could have scored more, one was enough today but the pleasing thing is at least we have been creating chances. I can't emphasise enough how much of a pleasure it was to watch the match. The ball rarely left the deck and the whole teams passing was phenomenal.

They really did the club proud and Derby didn't know what had hit them. I could mention names but I would be listing the whole squad! Everyone played their part, but Jamie White and Adam Lallana deserve a special mention.

Onwards and upwards though, if this was anything to go by we should be in for a good season. After travelling to Hull and Sheffield Wednesday last season watching a team mostly full of journeymen who weren't playing for the shirt, seeing a team mostly of vibrant young, mostly home-grown players playing such good quality attacking football was truly a breath of fresh air, long may it continue!