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Derby confirmed as Premier League´s worst team

SoccerNews in English Premier League 3 May 2008

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Derby earned the unwanted tag of the worst team in Premier League history as Paul Jewell's side slumped to a 3-1 defeat at Blackburn on Saturday.

The Rams are stuck on 11 points and, with only one match to play, they are now unable to equal Sunderland's previous worst total of 15 points.

There was brief hope for Derby when Kenny Miller gave the visitors a first half lead at Ewood Park but Paraguay forward Roque Santa Cruz equalised before the break.

Then Jason Roberts put Blackburn ahead just after half-time and Santa Cruz's late goal confirmed Derby's final indignity of a woeful season.

Derby were nearly gifted the perfect start when Brad Friedel scuffed Steven Reid's backpass straight at Robert Earnshaw, but the ball rebounded just over the crossbar.

Rovers striker Roberts led Blackburn's first serious raid when he lashed a shot past Roy Carroll's far post. Then Morten Gamst Pedersen surged into the penalty area before firing over.

But the Rams rode out the storm and went ahead in the 19th minute. Carroll's long punt upfield bounced through to Miller and he ran on to place the ball calmly past Friedel for his first league goal since December.

It was only the eighth away league goal of Derby's miserable campaign but Derby's fragile defence ensured they could never be confident of holding the advantage.

Brett Emerton's deflected effort nearly creeped past Carroll before David Bentley hit a delightful long-range lob which only just cleared the bar.

Chris Samba was next to threaten when he steered Bentley's free-kick straight at Carroll.

Mark Hughes's team were well on top now and their equaliser arrived in first half stoppage time. Pedersen's low shot was parried by Carroll and Santa Cruz seized on the loose ball to prod home for his 22nd goal of an impressive debut season in English football.

Derby's confidence drained away after that and Blackburn made them pay in the 47th minute. Once again it was Derby's defending was poor as Andy Todd's miscued clearance allowed Roberts to sweep home.

Any doubts that would be enough to finish Derby were erased in the 78th minute when Bentley swung in a cross and Santa Cruz headed past Carroll.

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