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Archived News from September 2002

11th September 2002 23:06

Rams halt the Stags' charge
Derby Evening Telegraph, By Peter Green

Ian Evatt scored his first senior goal for Derby County last night to seal a 3-1 victory over Mansfield Town in the Worthington Cup first round.

Evatt went on as a substitute in the 25th minute, replacing the injured Branko Strupar up front, and scored the Rams' third at Field Mill.

"A good cross came over but the keeper managed to make a great save to stop my header," said Evatt, who has also played in the centre of defence and in midfield for the Rams this season.

"But my momentum took me in to get a second touch and force the ball over the line.

"Once Branko got injured, I think the Gaffer just wanted to put someone up front who might be able to hold the ball up and it was great to get my first senior goal.

"I could have had another if the keeper had not pulled off another good save a few minutes later.

"I played up front and scored a hat-trick for the Reserves last season when we beat Aston Villa in a game behind closed doors.

"That was when John Gregory was manager at Villa and he saw the game. Perhaps that gave him the idea to try me there in this match."

The Stags, who had captain Lee Williamson sent-off for serious foul play after a challenge on Adam Bolder, took an eighth-minute lead through Neil Moore, cancelled out two minutes later by Lee Morris.

Malcolm Christie put the Rams ahead in the 71st minute and Evatt added the third.

Brian O'Neil made his first start of the season and continues to build his fitness following a thigh injury.

"I tired a bit towards the end and it felt like I was towing a caravan in the last five minutes," said O'Neil.

"But it was a great result for us and I think we showed a lot of patience.

"The sending off was the right decision because the player went over the top and Adam Bolder has a horrible gash at the top of his ankle.

"It was a case of being patient after that and not getting desperate or resorting to the long ball."

Rams manager John Gregory added: "It was a good test of character after falling behind early.

"Although they went down to 10 men, we still had to break down banks of four in their half of the pitch.

"We knew it could take 70 minutes before we took control and I thought we moved the ball around quite well."


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