It was a performance to remember from Fleetwood Town on their first ever visit to Pride Park as they walked away winners after the 2-0 win over Derby County.
In a game that saw the Cod Army sing throughout, it was two first-half goals that secured the win for Town. First up was a barnstorming strike from Jayden Stockley, which rebounded into the goal of the back of the keeper, and that was backed up soon after by a stunning Carlos Mendes Gomes solo run.
With the first chance of the game, Scott Brown’s men put themselves into the lead as he was in a yard of space outside the Derby area and decided to strike the ball first time, with the shot hitting the underside of the bar before it came off Joe Wildsmith’s back and into the back of the net.
The hosts tried to come straight back into the game and take back the momentum as Nathaniel Mendez-Laing struck an effort into a crowd of players from the edge of the Town area, which deflected back to him – the follow-up effort went wide of the mark.
Town were very much in the ascendancy in the first half as Jack Marriott had a couple of half chances, with one of those coming from a Corrie Ndaba cross and forcing Wildsmith into a smart save. Mendes Gomes and Josh Vela were also active in the final third of the pitch throughout.
At the half-hour mark, Fleetwood doubled their lead as a brilliant example of transition play is shown as Shaun Rooney wins the ball back and Stockley plays a perfect ball down the wing for Mendes Gomes, who dribbled past the backline and fires straight into the near post to make it 2-0.
It should have been three not long before the break as the referee rules Stockley had fouled a Derby player in the build-up to assisting Marriott’s lob over Wildsmith, but the goal didn’t count, and Town’s advantage stayed at two goals to the good.
After a flurry of changes from Paul Warne, the Cods had to weather a storm of pressure from the home side in the opening stages of the second half with neither side creating a clear-cut chance until the 67th minute when Marriott forced another save from the keeper after a venomous strike.
The first real effort on goal in the second half by the home side came in the last 20 minutes as Lewis Dobbin cut inside from the left, taking the ball past two men and firing it towards Jay Lynch’s goal, but the crowd in between the substitute and the goal stopped the shot.
In the 87th minute, Derby had the last effort of the game as substitute Jason Knight decided to try his luck from range and test Lynch’s handling but, unfortunately for the home side, Town’s number 13 was a match and stopped the effort, meaning Fleetwood would walk away winners from this clash.
Derby XI: Wildsmith (GK), Forsyth (C), Hourihane (McGoldrick 44’), Cashin, Bird, Collins, Mendez-Laing (Dobbin 62’), Smith, Sibley (Barkhuizen 46’), Springett (Knight 44’), Davies (Roberts 46’).
Unused subs: McGee (GK), White.
Town XI: Lynch (GK), Wiredu, Ndaba (Nsiala 83’), Mendes Gomes (Macadam 75’), Vela (C), Stockley, Marriott (Hayes 88’), Warrington, Holgate, Rooney (Johnston 83’), Earl.
Unused subs: McMullan (GK), Patterson, Batty.