Less is more! This result summoned a deep throated growl of defiance from players, management and visiting fans alike – who contributed at least a third of the attendance of 294.
It was not the prettiest win but the first clean sheet of the season could amount to the most satisfying performance so far- not least because the Rams seemed to be battling as much against the erratic and irrational decision making by the officials as against the opposition.
The match and result turned on a moment of instinctive brilliance from Jon Robinson, on as a 72nd minute substitute. Where others had dillied and dallied when presented with clear openings, he did not hesitate to lash in from 10 yards when Trafford failed to clear a corner to score his 98th goal for the club.
Until then it was a story of both teams contriving not to score. Apart from a brace of good saves neither keeper, both secure and solid, was much troubled up to the point of Robinson’s intervention. Grant Shenton did well in the first half to palm away a close range header from Trafford’s Will Ahern which should have given him no chance and shortly after the break Scott Burton forced enough space25 yards out and exploded a shot that Andy Robertson in the Trafford goal did well to tip over.
The preceding 45 minutes had been as tedious as traffic on the M60.
Nelson Mota playing in an adjusted role closer to Jordan Hulme combined efficiently with the centre forward but the openings that were carved out were frustrated by delays in and under hit final passes and crosses. The closest they came to scoring was Grant Spencer shooting in on a long throw that eluded the Trafford defence but was unableto put sufficient direction on a shot that hit the outside of the post.
For their part Trafford found some space down a somewhat lethargic Rams left flank producing the opportunity that led to the Shenton save and a great clearance by Steve Howsonunder pressure from a low cross.
There was a clear sense of some half time direct managerial encouragement in the Rams second half display. Gary Stopforth became increasingly influential pushing higher up the pitch, breaking up possession. The Trafford threat became increasingly sporadic as the Rams dominated although Chris Palmer should at least have directed a free header on goal when both Rams centre halves were drawn to the near post. Despite a very good start to the season the collective belief which so exemplified their promotion run last season has notmaterialised consistently so far for the Rams, but as the game petered out that belief grew by the minute in both team and supporters sending all home happy – except for the M60!.