• Birmingham City took the lead before half time through Stephen Gleeson
  • Derby County equalised through Johnny Russell after 61 minutes 
  • It was Tom Ince who fed in Russell to salvage a point for the visitors
  • Paul Clement has not won a match as Derby manager since taking over 

Jack Gaughan for the Daily Mail

Tom Ince had been throwing his arms in the air, moaning at anything and everything as Derby stared at a first Championship defeat under Paul Clement, angry at rough treatment from Birmingham markers and a lack of final product on a night that was not going his way.

But, as is so often the case with the mercurial Ince, he utilised that whining to stunning effect.

The chips were down, Gary Rowett’s Blues all over a Derby side to have wasted golden opportunities, when Ince slickly back-heeled his way into space 20 yards from goal.

Johnny Russell of Derby County scores the equaliser against Birmingham City at St Andrew's on Friday

Johnny Russell of Derby County scores the equaliser against Birmingham City at St Andrew’s on Friday

Russell saved a point for Derby as the game ended 1-1 with Birmingham in the Friday night encounter

Russell saved a point for Derby as the game ended 1-1 with Birmingham in the Friday night encounter

Russell is swamped by Derby team-mate Tom Ince after making it 1-1 in the Championship clash

Russell is swamped by Derby team-mate Tom Ince after making it 1-1 in the Championship clash

MATCH FACTS 

Birmingham: Kuszczak, Caddis, Morrison, Spector, Grounds, Gleeson, Kieftenbeld, Cotterill (Maghoma 68), Toral (Shinnie 67), Gray, Donaldson

Subs (not used): Legzdins, Eardley, Robinson, Thomas, Davis

Goals: Gleeson (45)

Derby: Carson, Christie (Shotton 82), Keogh, Shackell, Forsyth, Ince, Baird, Thorne, Russell, Martin, Bent (Weimann 64)

Subs (not used): Grant, Dawkins, Pearce, Warnock, Calero

Goals: Russell (61)

Booked: Koegh 

Referee: Lee Mason (Lancashire)

Quick as a flash, Ince fed in Johnny Russell and he thrashed past Tomasz Kuszczak right in front of the band of travelling supporters.

That was just after the hour, Derby level, and Ince wasn’t finished there. Seconds later he waltzed down the right, clipped a ball towards Darren Bent and he headed against the bar. 

That minute alone showed just why we shouldn’t read too much into Clement’s inauspicious start to life as No 1 – there is enough quality as his disposal.

The Rams are a club scarred by near misses and it will take the former Real Madrid assistant time to mould them into true Premier League candidates. Here, though, there were green shoots.

Stephen Gleeson’s first goal in Birmingham colours had looked like making this a fruitless Friday for the Rams.

He looked up momentarily, 35 yards from goal, with one thing on his mind, fizzing a thunderous effort beyond the sprawling Scott Carson, swishing past after a sizeable deflection off Chris Baird. 

Birmingham City’s Stephen Gleeson scores their goal on the stroke of half time to take the lead

Derby  goalkeeper Scott Carson is beaten by the long range shot from Gleeson at St Andrew's

Derby goalkeeper Scott Carson is beaten by the long range shot from Gleeson at St Andrew’s

Birmingham's Gleeson celebrates scoring their first goal of the Championship tie on Friday night

Birmingham’s Gleeson celebrates scoring their first goal of the Championship tie on Friday night

Gleeson sent Birmingham in happy at the break as he scored just on the verge of the half-time whistle

Gleeson sent Birmingham in happy at the break as he scored just on the verge of the half-time whistle

Friday night was as good a Football League game as you will witness all season – both sides missing glorious chances to win the game.

To much amusement inside St Andrew’s, Bent fluffed his lines in the first half, while Ince smashed a post after Clayton Donaldson had produced the best from Scott Carson. Demarai Gray went close from the left, with Derby substitute Andreas Weimann hitting a post.

Still no wins for Clement, but two comebacks in four days offers encouragement nonetheless. 

Paul Clement has yet to win as Derby manager but has orchestrated two comebacks in four days

Paul Clement has yet to win as Derby manager but has orchestrated two comebacks in four days

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