Byrne blunder helps Coventry on their way to victory


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Derby County suffered their second consecutive defeat on Saturday afternoon as Coventry City defeated the Rams 1-0 courtesy of an early Maxime Biamou strike.

Wayne Rooney made six changes for the Rams’ trip to Birmingham, one of those returning to the starting XI was 28-year-old Nathan Byrne.

Since signing for Derby from Wigan Athletic in the summer, the right-back has been a reliable outlet both defensively and offensively in his inaugural campaign, more than filling the boots of the departed Jayden Bogle now of Sheffield United.

Due to the consistent nature of his above par performances, it was a shock to the system seeing the Tottenham Hotspur academy graduate at fault for the host’s opener.

Completely unchallenged, Byrne knocked the ball into the path of Coventry’s Callum O’Hare who slipped a pass through to Biamou with his first touch. The Frenchman caught Derby’s back four on their heels, bursting towards goal and finishing into the bottom left-hand corner, past Kelle Roos with ease.

The mistake looked to have lit a fire in the belly of the defender as his intensity noticeably stepped up following the opener.

A frequent set-piece taker on the right-hand side of the field, the St Albans-born professional usually has a multitude of opportunities to directly impact the score and he was close to doing so in the 20th minute. His deep free-kick delivery was met by Matt Clarke, but the Brighton and Hove Albion loanee could only force a corner.

Byrne then took the corner, which didn’t trouble the Sky Blues’ defence on this occasion, before demonstrating his power just a moment later, rising high and beating Matty James to a header in order to block out the chance of a Coventry counter-attack. 

The former Swindon Town man then teed up his defensive partner Clarke once more, however, the centre-back was again unable to finish, his low shot easily saved by Ben Wilson.

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Flare is a trait that the Rams’ No.12 is no stranger to and that was highlighted in the 36th minute when his simple roulette fooled both James and Sam McCallum near the byline. He then sought out Max Bird, but the midfielder awkwardly lost possession of the ball.

A blocked cross attempt just before half-time was Byrne’s last real action of note in the first 45 minutes and would, unfortunately, go on to set the tone for the remainder of the match.

Just two minutes into the second-half, his fizzed pass towards the spritely Patrick Roberts ended up out of play, much to the frustration of all those donning the pink and black strip at St. Andrews. 

The former Brentford loanee tried his luck with an array of corner and free-kick deliveries up until the final whistle, though was unable to influence a comeback of any sort for the away side who were ultimately disappointing as a whole on the day.

Despite the victory, Mark Robins’ men stay below Derby in the table due to a marginally inferior goal difference.

Coventry sit 20th with the Rams now 19th, although the latter do boast a game in hand on the Sky Blues and a number of other sides, except Rotherham United, lingering near the bottom of the Championship table. 

It will be a difficult result for Rooney’s side to take as they will feel it was an even contest in which, on another day, they could have snatched all three points for themselves.

For Byrne in particular, it is important to reflect on his error and come back stronger. He is an integral part of the Derby squad and will be extremely valuable in the Rams’ attempt to retain their league status.

Bar the blunder, his performance overall was not actually that bad so he will be hoping his miscued pass was a momentary blip because, as we all know, mistakes like those can be very costly.

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