Derby County 3-2 AFC Bournemouth: Lawrence leads second-half comeback for Rams to deny Cherries top spot
Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Two second-half goals from Tom Lawrence ended AFC Bournemouth's unbeaten away record as Derby County claimed a 3-2 triumph in a thriller at Pride Park.

Scott Parker's side arrived in the East Midlands with aims set on retaking top spot in the Sky Bet Championship, with Derby seemingly playing for pride after being hit with another points deduction for financial breaches.

Wayne Rooney's men took an early lead in the game through a Jason Knight header before Bournemouth responded with two goals to hold the lead at the interval, although the Rams turned it around in the second half. 

Story of the game

It was a cagey opening to the game. Neither team was willing to commit many players forward - Bournemouth held most of the early possession but struggled to penetrate the Derby backline.

The home side's first foray forward produced the game's first goal; Knight's original shot was deflected for a corner from which the midfielder then converted, evading his marker and rising highest to head the ball home.

However, the Rams did not hold their shock lead for long, handing Bournemouth back into the game on a plate. Derby tried to play out from the back, but the Cherries' high press proved too much for Kelle Roos, who was dispossessed, and despite Derby's best efforts, Jaidon Anthony eventually converted the equaliser.

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The hosts were forced into an early change when injury forced Sam Baldock off the pitch, with the injury-prone Colin Kazim-Richards replacing the former Reading striker up top.

An opportunity almost presented itself for the substitute when Curtis Davies cut back a whipped-in free-kick into his path. However, Mark Travers was alert to the play and intercepted the ball before reaching the Derby forward.

The game turned scrappy towards the end of the first half, with both teams jostling for possession in the middle of the park, with Derby playing a low block and looking to spring forward on the counterattack.

Parker's side put together some neat passing moves and eventually broke the home side's resistance with a quick move to slide through Dominic Solanke, who made no mistakes in sliding the ball past the on-rushing Roos.

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The visitors were by no means at their scintillating best in the first period, but the sheer quality differential between them and their opponents was enough to see them complete the first-half comeback. The third goal of the game was an excellent team move that started from halfway and demonstrated just how deadly the Cherries are.

Bournemouth's forward pressure continued after they took the lead, with Jefferson Lerma heading just wide after Chris Mepham headed the ball back across goal from a dead ball situation.

Derby did have a chance to hit back in added time when Graeme Shinnie's volley flew narrowly over the bar after Festy Ebosele headed the ball into his path – but it was not to be for the Rams.

It was a stop-start opening to the second period, with both teams happy to give away niggly fouls to slow the game down, which was fine for Bournemouth, who continued to look confident in possession and press Derby when they tried to play out from the back.

The main positive to Parker’s possession-retention style is his side’s ability to kill the game's pace when they are ahead, and they did just that for the opening 15 minutes of the second half.

Derby worked hard in the middle of the park to press and win the ball back, but they could not hold it for sustained periods, with frustrations growing amongst the home support as the game wore on.

Those groans and moans quickly turned into ecstatic cheers as Lawrence produced a moment of brilliance to level the game up once again.

The Derby skipper received the ball on the edge of the area, feinting and turning his body and getting off a quick shot which curled into the top right corner.

The Rams needed that from their captain, with the game slowly getting away from them, and the Welshman was on hand to convert again, this time from the penalty spot, as the home side flipped the game on its head again with a quick comeback of their own.

Graeme Shinnie was brought down in the box by Jack Stacey to give Lawrence the chance to double his personal tally and complete the comeback – and he duly delivered to end Pride Park into raptures.

Lawrence was unplayable in the second half as he continued to pull his team forward, weaving his way through a couple of Bournemouth defenders and chipping the ball to Kazim-Richards, who headed just wide.

Bournemouth should have equalised when Phillip Billing headed inches wide of the left post from close range as he peeled around the back of his marker.

That was the visitors’ best chance to get back into the game, who looked stunned from Derby's emphatic fight back, so much so that they could not find an equaliser.

Man of the match

Derby County – Tom Lawrence

For his second-half heroics alone, the Derby captain is worthy of this slot for single-handedly dragging his team past one of the best teams in the division.

His first was a peach of a strike and a great mix of skill and composure to pick his put in a tight situation and curl the ball past the Bournemouth ‘keeper, generating enough power with no run-up to see it find the back of the net.