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Clough praise for players

17 April 2013

Derby boss Nigel Clough hailed his battling side as they snatched a stoppage-time equaliser in a 1-1 draw at relegation-threatened Barnsley.

The Rams looked like they were going to be beaten by Chris O'Grady's 47th-minute strike despite having dominated the first half.

But right-back John Brayford popped up in just the nick of time to level with a 90th-minute header and earned the visitors a welcome point, appearing to get the final touch after Paul Coutts had steered the ball towards goal.

"I thought we thoroughly deserved a point but it really should have been three after the first-half performance," said Clough. "Our defence has been absolutely superb and we limited Barnsley to just one or two shots all game.

"But the players are extremely disappointed with their goal because there was a blatant foul in the lead-up to it. However, on the back of two defeats, I'm really pleased with the effort of the players.

"We were a little bit lethargic at Blackburn [at the weekend] and we gave two very soft goals away. But we didn't to that. If the foul had've been given I don't think we'd have conceded."

Tykes boss David Flitcroft admitted: "The players are feeling the pressure of the situation, there's no doubt about it. Don't forget we got downed 6-0 at home [to Charlton on Saturday] and we've had two players sent off. That's still in the back of the players' minds.

"They didn't want to get smashed again. It was a brave performance but we didn't get the result we wanted.

"It's not a difficult one to take, it's just disappointment. It's an emotion we're going to have to soon get over. We did enough to win that game but we're not going to be victims, we'll keep fighting until the end. We'll grow stronger over the next few games because we'll get players back from injury and suspension.

"I asked the players to raise their game 20 per cent in the second half, because that 20 per cent would have been enough to beat a real nervy Derby team. It wasn't the right result but I got the performance from the players that I was expecting."

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