Gregory kicks-off with win
By Paul Higham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
A goal just before half time from Lee Morris was enough to seal three priceless points for The Rams as they survived a nervous end to the game to hang on to the three points.
The crowd and players seemed to be lifted by the arrival of Gregory, and a hard working and determined approach from the Derby troops gave them a clean sheet as well as the win.
Derby started brightly and Fabrizio Ravanelli combined well with Malcolm Christie to enable the youngster to fire in a left footed shot on eight minutes, and the Italian was just beaten to the ball by Neil Sullivan after the keeper had failed to hold the shot.
The home side had a good chance to open the scoring in the 20th minute when Luciano Zavagno whipped in a wicked cross from the left but Christie was always stretching and failed to get enough power onto his header to trouble Sullivan.
Teddy Sheringham had a bizarre chance to score with 25 minute gone when referee Uriah Renne allowed Tottenham to take a quick free quick near the left-hand touchline, and Sheringham received the ball just outside the box and curled his shot wide, with Rams keeper Andy Oakes in the back of his net wiping his gloves.
The visitors were growing in confidence having seemingly weathered Derby's earlier storm, and Norwegian Oyvind Leonhardsen had a chance with a header from just three yards out that he placed straight at the grateful Oakes.
With Tottenham looking more dangerous, the home side took the lead a minute before half time when Morris's shot just crept over the line to send Pride Park, and John Gregory jumping for joy.
Ravanelli made space for himself and held the ball up in the box before squaring the ball for Darryl Powell, who missed his kick, but the ball fell for Morris who shifted the ball onto his left foot and hit a low shot that Sullivan failed to get down to, and the ball dribbled over the line despite claims from Dean Richards that he had cleared it.
Morris was restored to the first team by Gregory after being in the wilderness at Derby, and the former Sheffield United man repaid his faith in him by scoring the first goal under his reign.
Derby started the second half as they ended the first and looked in control of the game, but without creating any clear-cut chances.
Morris had the best chance on the hour mark when he hit a crisp left foot volley that Sullivan had to dive full-stretch to palm away.
Ravanelli did well in the 73rd minute to shake off a couple of defenders and set himself for a shot that he blazed over the bar from 25 yards out.
Ravanelli also came close late on when he was just inches away from connecting with Danny Higginbotham's header from a corner.
The Rams were sitting back an inviting pressure from the visitors as they looked desperate to hang on, but for all their pressure Spurs did not make Oakes work in the Derby goal, and Christie and Ravanelli did look dangerous on the break.
With the Pride Park crowd on the edge of their seats, Spurs threw everything at The Rams who were unable to get out of their own half.
Sheringham had a golden opportunity in the final minute when Sergei Rebrov squared the ball to him 12 yards out but he incredibly completely missed his kick and Derby survived.
Gregory was buzzing on the touchline, desperate for his team to keep hold of the ball, but he was as relieved as the fans when the final whistle blew to give him the perfect start in charge of the club.
Click below for match summary:
Derby County v Tottenham Hotspur