Skipper Keogh says Rams defence coped well with potent Forest strike force
DEFENDER Richard Keogh felt Derby County coped well against what he rates as one of the Championship's most potent strike partnerships in the 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest.
Billy Sharp and Simon Cox led the line for Forest at Pride Park Stadium on Saturday.
Neither got their name on the scoresheet, although Cox did hit the bar and Sharp went close to a winner with a late effort that fizzed inches wide.
"I don't think you'll find many better strike partnerships than theirs in this division," said Rams skipper Keogh.
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"They also had Dexter Blackstock to come on off the bench.
"So we knew we would be in for a tough time but I thought we dealt with it quite well.
"Coxy hit the bar in the first half but apart from that, I thought we limited them to half-chances more than anything."
As it was, Derby's defence was only breached when midfielder Chris Cohen broke the deadlock just after the half-hour mark.
It was a slightly fortunate strike, with Cohen's initial miscued volley dropping kindly for him to finish low past Adam Legzdins.
"I thought their goal was a bit harsh on us – a couple of ricochets went against us in the build-up," said Keogh.
"The goal came as a bit of a sucker punch to us and I don't think we deserved to be 1-0 down at half-time.
"But we showed good character to get back in the game."
Derby equalised in the 52nd minute, when Conor Sammon robbed Simon Gillett and set up Jamie Ward, who coolly slotted home his sixth goal of the season in his first start since the end of September due to injury.
"I think that goal summed up what we are about," said Keogh.
"Sammo worked hard to nick the ball of their guy and slipped Wardy in.
"And Wardy showed why he is back in the team – he's a great finisher."
Lifted by the goal, the Rams pushed for a second but they eventually had to settle for a point as the visitors ended the game strongly.
"When we got the goal, I thought we might go on to get a couple more," said Keogh.
"Jeff Hendrick went through and had a shot saved and was then brought down just outside the area.
"And OB (Mark O'Brien) had a header that went just over, so we were the team in the ascendancy at that point.
"We did go for it but in the end, we made sure we didn't lose the game, which was important.
"Overall, I think a draw was a fair result."
Keogh enjoyed his first experience of a Rams-Forest derby at Pride Park, having helped Nigel Clough's men to a 1-0 victory at the City Ground earlier this season.
"The atmosphere was fantastic," said the former Coventry City centre-back. "The fans were great and stuck with us right through the game."