Sun, Jan 25, 2009 - Page 18 News List

THE FA CUP: Earnshaw equalizer stuns Derby taunters

AFP , DERBY, ENGLAND

Robert Earnshaw made Derby fans pay for their taunting of absent Nottingham Forest boss Billy Davies with the crucial equalizer in a 1-1 FA Cup fourth round draw at Pride Park on Friday.

The result also denied new Derby boss Nigel Clough, in charge of the club once handled by his late father, Brian, a win over the former European champions where he also once played under his famous father.

Despite public information messages explaining Davies was in Glasgow at the bedside of his ill son, Derby fans still baited their ex-manager.

But Earnshaw exacted the kind of revenge that Davies would have been looking for with the second half equalizer that deprived Clough of his first win in charge of Derby.

Davies, who guided Derby to promotion to the Premier League before being sacked 14 months ago, will get the chance for victory in a replay a week on Tuesday.

Davies’ son William underwent a scheduled operation which was then extended to six hours because of complications.

Assistant manager David Kelly took charge of affairs in the biggest derby between the bitter East Midlands rivals since Clough senior took Forest to the Baseball Ground to face his former assistant Peter Taylor, who had defected to take charge of Derby.

The absence of Davies’ shrill whistles of instruction from the technical area seemed to leave Forest woefully short of ideas other than to punt long balls in the direction of Nathan Tyson and Earnshaw.

There was little subdued about Derby, with Clough handing Robbie Savage his first start and instructions to stir the passions, a job he took to with relish, charging all over, disrupting Forest possession.

Savage was born for occasions like this, but there was culture too from Derby in the shape of winger Nacer Barazite, on loan from Arsenal. The Dutchman tormented Joel Lynch and stung the fingers of Paul Smith with a well-directed effort from long range as Forest retreated.

Lynch was outclassed by the skills of Barazite and it was down his left-back channel that Derby registered the first telling blow just after the half hour.

Barazite’s low cross ran through the legs of Paul Green, allowing Rob Hulse to swivel and drive a low shot home from the edge of the six-yard box to give the home side the lead.

Forest could easily have been on level terms almost immediately after the interval.

Kelvin Wilson’s powerful run from inside his own half allowed the defender to spring Tyson forward and his low shot was beaten away by Bywater and Earnshaw was crowded out in the battle for the rebound.

Finally Forest found their drive and Paul Anderson, so anonymous for the opening half, brought another sharp save from Stephen Bywater as Forest increased their foothold in the game as Derby wilted. It seemed only a matter of time before the equalizer came.

Lewis McGugan almost delivered it with a swivel and shot at the near post, but that wasted chance became irrelevant moments later as, with almost a carbon copy of the goal they conceded, Forest leveled.

Substitute Garath McCleary teased in a cross that Tyson stepped over and Earnshaw left Miles Addison grasping as he defeated Bywater.

Derby still missed the most inviting opportunity of the evening, and that was made worse by the fact that it was substitute Kris Commons firing over from six yards, when Jordan Stewart’s cross field ball was allowed to travel across the Forest penalty area.

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