'I think he had a solid performance' - Striker puts boot in on referee's impact and City defenders
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A solid day from the referee and the ideal game plan to hassle defenders - David Nugent felt Derby County got it spot on in their victory at Norwich City.
Once again the former England man scored in East Anglia, a crucial goal on the stroke of half-time that altered the entire dynamic of Saturday’s EFL Championship clash at Carrow Road.
That point was emphasised by referee Peter Bankes’ decision not to award City a first-half penalty, and the hosts’ overeagerness following Timm Klose’s second-half equaliser – eventually outdone by Sam Winnall’s winner seven minutes from time.
The Rams’ win extended their unbeaten run to six games, while ending the Canaries’ own eight-game league streak.
“It’s a great result,” said Nugent. “We weren’t at our best in the first half and I think the goal saved us from the gaffer’s team talk. But it gave us something to hold on to, we sat back a bit, Sam came on and made a fantastic impact.
“I thought when he (Stiepermann) hit the crossbar it had gone in. I was walking back to the centre circle ready to kick off again. The lino never flagged so we played on.
“Then I think Scottie (Carson) won the ball – the ball went in a different direction – but we rode our luck a bit, which you’ve got to do away from home.
“I think the ref got it right. He missed my one on the edge of the box when I got taken out, so I’ll let him off.
“It was a tough one because the fans were getting on his back, but I think he had a solid performance.”
Nugent acknowledged how much he seems to like scoring in this part of the world – but Derby’s Championship momentum pleased him more.
“It must be something about the air here. I’ve scored a fair few against Norwich, going back to my Preston and Portsmouth days, and I always score when I’m down at Portman Road too.”
Nugent added: “We knew they didn’t concede many goals coming into the game, but we knew they didn’t score many either. So it was up to me and Vyds (Vydra) to take that on.
“They’re all nicey nicey on the ball, the centre-halves. They want to take it nice and easy, have simple passes – but they’re not going to get that when I’m on the pitch.
“I’m going to be closing them down, putting them under pressure, and I don’t think the continental defenders like it. I think it showed today.
“It’s all about momentum in the Championship. Once you get on that run you’ve got to keep it going and win as many games as you can, especially away from home. They’re the ones that take you up the table. We’re showing now our true potential.”