Derby County lost their first game of the 2021/21 Championship season on Saturday afternoon, with Wayne Rooney’s side putting in a rather turgid performance against newly-promoted Peterborough United.
In what was a particularly cagey affair, with both sides managing just two shots on target over the first 45 minutes, Derby looked to have stolen all three points when Ravel Morrison set up 19-year-old Jack Stretton shortly before the 80-minute mark.
However, a Harrison Burrows goal in the first minute of injury time, as well as a 100th-minute Siriki Dembele strike, ensured that it would be the hosts who secured victory at the Weston Homes Stadium, sending the Rams back to Derbyshire empty-handed.
Indeed, there were not too many standout performers in the Derby County ranks, with goalscorer Stretton, who only managed 38 minutes on the pitch, receiving the highest SofaScore match rating of any of Rooney’s players on the day, with the centre-forward earning a score of 6.9.
A rather damning sight.
On the other hand, there were plenty of below-par displays, with Festy Ebosele earning a 6.2 match rating and Max Bird a 6.1. However, the worst of the lot was Nathan Byrne, who received an extremely disappointing 5.8.
It is not difficult to understand why the 29-year-old was given this rating, as, over his 90 minutes on the pitch, he completed just 62% of his passes, won just four of his nine duels (a 44.4% win rate), gave away possession of the ball on a whopping 23 occasions (joint-most) and made one error that led directly to one of Posh’s goals.
Indeed, The Athletic’s Derby correspondent Ryan Conway said that Byrne was “caught at the back” for Burrows’ equaliser, as well as making an “absolute pig’s ear” of trying to defend Dembele’s late winner – even dubbing the right-back, as well as his fellow Rams defenders, “appalling.”
As such, should Rooney wish to have any hope of his side remaining in the Championship come next summer, he will certainly need Byrne to up his game over the coming weeks and months, as the defender should be one of the 35-year-old’s most reliable players.