Spirited Derby County are felled by late strike as Roberts sees red at the KC
DERBY County suffered more away-day disappointment last night when they slipped to defeat against Hull City at the KC Stadium.
On Saturday, the Rams had their hands on all three points at Sheffield Wednesday but lost a two-goal lead and had to be content with a draw.
At Hull, Jamie Ward's ninth goal of the season late on looked to have earned Nigel Clough's team a point after substitute Gedo, an Egyptian international, had put the Tigers ahead two minutes after the break.
But Derby switched off at an 87th minute corner and Ahmed Elmohamady's header gave Hull a 2-1 victory to boost their promotion push.
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The Rams frustration was completed two minutes from time when left-back Gareth Roberts was shown a straight red card and they had to play out the last few minutes with 10 men.
Derby have won only three times on the road this season – one of the worst away records in the division – and a shortage of points on their travels has held them back.
They had to make a change for the Hull game due to injuries at centre back.
Shaun Barker, a long-term absentee, has been joined by Mark O'Brien, James O'Connor and Jake Buxton in the treatment room – a huge dent in what is a small squad.
Clough said he would find solutions to the injury crisis within his squad and the manager switched John Brayford from right-back to the heart of the defence alongside skipper Richard Keogh.
Brayford's right-back role was filled by 20-year-old Kieron Freeman, who made his third start and his first since the defeat at Brighton last month.
That was the one change from the team that drew at Sheffield Wednesday. Buxton was fit enough for the bench, despite tweaking his knee in the game at Hillsborough.
With back-to-back home defeats and only one win in their previous six matches, Hull were determined to start brightly.
They won a couple of corners and tried to put pressure on Rams goalkeeper Adam Legzdins but the first real opening came for Derby, only for Conor Sammon to fire off target.
Hull attempted to play out from the back and knock the ball around – unconvincingly at times – and this drew groans from some home fans which is always music to the ears of the away team.
A mistake by Stephen Quinn did not help matters. He smashed a pass straight at Ward, who headed for goal but Hull defender Jack Hobbs produced an excellent tackle on the Rams striker.
The shooting accuracy of both teams left much to be desired, as Craig Bryson and David Meyler blazed shots way off target, but Hull's wing-backs started to see more of the ball.
Elmohamady's centre was headed wide by Robert Koren, while Robbie Brady needed watching on the left, something Freeman and Paul Coutts did well in the first half.
In a rare Derby attack, Jeff Hendrick played a sharp one-two with Ward on the edge of the box – shades of the move that brought Hendrick his goal at the weekend – but this time Paul McShane blocked the shot.
Frustration continued to pour from the stands as Hull fans wanted to see their team play the ball forward rather than sideways and backwards. The atmosphere suggested there was certainly something in the game for them.
Hull's main threat continued to come down the right through Elmohamady and another of his crosses was headed inches wide by Quinn.
A scrappy half short on quality was not helped by the constant shrill of the referee's whistle. Four players, two from each side, were booked.
Steve Bruce made two changes at the break and switched the shape to 4-4-2. He sent on Gedo and Nick Proschwitz and Gedo scored with his first touch.
Brady, shackled in the first half, whipped in a cross from the left and Gedo, unchallenged, headed wide of Legzdins.
Derby conceded two poor goals against Sheffield Wednesday a few days ago and this was another – and another from a centre that should have been dealt with.
Hull adopted a more positive approach in the second half and Meyler was inches away from doubling the lead when his shot beat Legzdins with the help of a deflection and struck the foot of a post.
With an hour gone, Derby finally registered a shot on target when Ward's strike was beaten away by David Stockdale. That seemed to give the Rams a lift and Sammon was unlucky when he struck the woodwork after 66 minutes.
The two strikers linked well – Ward's lobbed pass picked out Sammon, who took a touch before he lifted his effort over Stockdale and the ball bounced down off the underside of the bar.
Sammon went close again, unwittingly, when Ward's shot cannoned off him and the ball rolled a foot wide with Stockdale scrambling.
Jacobs replaced Sammon, and then Theo Robinson came on for Freeman, as Derby sought an equaliser.
Edginess returned to the Hull side, and Derby took advantage when Ward levelled with six minutes of normal time left.
Bryson whipped in an excellent centre from the left, the Hull goalkeeper and defenders failed to deal with it and Ward ran in to turn the ball into the empty net.
With a point seemingly in the bag, Buxton was sent on to keep things tight but Hull grabbed their winner three minutes later.
Brady's corner was met by the head of Elmohamady. The ball thudded down into the turf and bounced up and over Roberts, who was stationed on the post.
Roberts was then dismissed in the 88th minute for a challenge on Poschwitz, who proceeded to miss a clear-cut chance to make it three for Hull when he somehow missed Gedo low centre.