We started fairly brightly, but almost straight away Luton, with nothing to play for, revealed their sly side. Graham Shinnie gave a footballing "Glasgow kiss" early on for which the ref gave a free-kick, which may have been fair. But immediately their captain, Rae was straight at the ref wanting a booking, and was chelping away. I didn't actually see money change hands, but Rae's ear-bashing seemed to work, because apart from the penalty, the ref gave us almost nothing. The assistants weren't much cop either, and neither was the 4th official. I saw the Twitter video of the Byrne affair and there wasn't just one red card offence - there were two. Byrne was thrown to the floor with a two-handed push to the face. That in itself is a red card, but then there was a deliberately aimed kick towards the face, so another red card, possibly involving two players. And there was a succession of bizarre decisions - Gregory hauled backwards when trying to jump for a header, right in front of the ref, the ball hits the ref during a Derby attacking move, so he gives a free-kick/dropped ball to Luton, CKR fouled near the corner flag, free-kick to Luton. And the whimped-out red card incident. Very poor. Not appallingly bad as we normally see, just poor and pretty one sided.
Getting back on to the front foot, it was refreshing to see Derby playing on the front foot. Surprisingly it works loads better than being on the back foot! It was also good to see Waghorn making a number of good contributions - he played well today. I for one had hoped that we had seen the last of him when he was left out of the team, but well done to the man! And well done to Sibbo - he was a real threat on the right wing, and seemed to have the freedom to move inside from time to time. And Tom - was back towards the Tom we want. He still ran into defenders a couple of times, but at least he was trying to force things to happen. And yes he missed some chance, although the header he was supposed to have put away - actually it was really good defending which put him off-balance ever so slightly so that he couldn't get a good enough direction change on the ball. But he was there in the right place, and was a threat.
Whether it was Luton changing tactics or not, but it seems Derby started to try and hold out for half-time for the last 10 minutes of the first half, but thankfully didn't carry it on into the second half.
Given we had no idea how this match would go, it was satisfying to see what we took out onto the pitch today and that we went at Luton form the start. There was also a degree of passion there - several players had a go at the match officials - Tom Lawrence was clearly giving the ref a reprimand, as did Byrne, which was a risk as he was already on a yellow. Was the Colin Kazim-Richards incident a carrying on of the passion against the officials for those bizarre decision which always seemed to go in Luton's favour. Dunno, but things seemed to matter to us today, and long may it continue.