Top two up as Derby lose
By Graeme Bailey
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Birmingham and Sunderland were promoted as Derby lost at Crystal Palace.
Birmingham and Sunderland were promoted to the Premiership on Sunday as third placed Derby lost 2-0 at Crystal Palace.
Considering a Premiership place was still in Derby's reach - their performance was woeful and they will really have to pick themselves up if they want to come through the promotion play-offs.
Former Birmingham man Clinton Morrison will have been the toast of St Andrews as he opened the scoring on 29 minutes.
The lead was doubled by Mark Kennedy midway through the second half, but if anything the score flattered Derby - who never seriously threatened to score.
Palace started brightly and Morrison should have opened the scoring on five minutes.
The Irish international latched onto a failed clearance from Dean Leacock and he lobbed the ball over the on-rushing Lee Camp but it dropped the wrong side of the post.
Derby were looking very lethargic with the exception of Gary Teale who put two teasing crosses into the box in quick succession but none of his team-mates were on the same wave-length.
Just before the half-hour mark and the deadlock was broken as Palace took a deserved lead.
Carl Fletcher's shot found Morrison on the edge of the box, having been played onside by Marc Edworthy, and he turned before finishing calmly past Camp.
The goal finally kick-started Derby into some action and they created a number of half chances.
But efforts from Matt Oakley, Steve Howard, David Jones and Giles Barnes all failed to seriously test Julian Speroni.
At half time Edworthy was replaced by Tyrone Mears - but a major setback was soon to follow as Barnes was carried off.
Indeed Palace were still creating the chances and Camp was needed to produce a fine save to keep Ben Watson at bay.
The home side missed another good opportunity when Morrison crossed in from the right, but Mark Kennedy could not control the ball without handling it and the chance was gone.
On the hour Jobi McAnuff was then guilty of missing a gilt-edged chance as he was sent clear on goal, but he could not find the back of the net as he fired wide of the post after beating Camp.
Palace were producing chance after chance and it was little surprise when on 66 minutes the lead was doubled.
Derby were once again caught with players up the field as Kennedy was played clear and he made no mistake as he drove the ball past Camp.
Kennedy then almost turned provider as he again got free down the left but his cross went through the six-yard box as Morrison just missed the chance to slide home.
On 82 minutes, Derby had their first meaningful effort as substitute Arturo Lupoli turned on the edge of the box and fired a shot at goal, but Speroni managed to turn the ball wide.
But it was all too little, too late for Derby who now know they need to go through the play-off route if they want to seal a place in next season's Premiership.