Boss backs Rams to go up
By Chris Harvey
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Billy Davies insists promotion is still on for Derby despite their defeat at Ipswich.
Derby boss Billy Davies insists automatic promotion is still on despite their 2-1 defeat at Ipswich.
The Rams blew an early lead in a match that produced 10 bookings and two red cards, with defeat meaning Birmingham will go second if they win their game in hand.
Davies himself was also ordered from the dugout - the third time he's been sent from the pitch-side this season.
The match started at a furious pace with Matt Oakley opening the scoring for Derby in the ninth minute with a thundering drive from 25 yards.
But the match erupted in the 28th minute with red cards for goalkeeper Stephen Bywater and Ipswich defender Alex Bruce for violent conduct at a corner.
The confrontation was carried on as the two players left the field, with team-mates having to separate them.
Francis Jeffers (pictured) levelled for Ipswich in the 69th minute before, three minutes from time, substitute Danny Haynes was brought down in the box by James McEveley, Haynes himself scoring from the spot.
Davies said: "Two individual errors cost us dearly. Two of three clubs can now gain automatic promotion and I am delighted that we are one of those with every possibility of getting over the line.
"I have seen the video and feel that both clubs were most unfortunate to pick up a red card. I think that perhaps the sending off affected us more than Ipswich. A good football match was spoilt by the decisions.
"A bit of common sense was needed. I was sent to the stand for entry onto the field of play but that's an inconsistent decision when there was a break in play
and I had nothing to apologise for.
"How often do Mr Mourinho and Mr Wenger enter the field of play and nothing happens."
The police became involved as a result of the incident when Bywater and Bruce were leaving the field and Davies became involved in the interviews in the dressing room.
Ipswich manager Jim Magilton said: "We started very well, passed the ball well and kept believing after we fell behind. We got our just rewards in the end.
"I don't want the sendings off to detract from our performance. We stuck at it and Francis Jeffers produced a great finish. The introduction of Danny Haynes injected a bit of pace that's proved vital.
"We controlled chunks of the game at Derby earlier in the season and didn't get our reward. This time we did."
Magilton was also disappointed with the sendings off.
"Referees sometimes don't understand the importance of the occasion," he said.
"Perhaps if he'd spoken to them and given yellow cards that would have been enough but maybe he saw something that I didn't see."