CHRIS Martin insists his first goal for Derby County was as much about skill as poor defending, while also heaping a large slice of praise on team-mate Craig Forsyth.
The striker, whose loan deal at Pride Park from Premier League side Norwich City is expected to be extended this week, notched the Rams’ second goal in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Leicester City.
At first glance, it looked as though the Foxes’ defence had gone AWOL, as Martin had plenty of time and space to direct his header from Forsyth’s cross past Kasper Schmeichel.
However, the 24-year-old said: “I tried to do it on purpose.
“Craig had a lot of time to put the ball in and I saw that the centre-half had got sucked in towards the ball, so I just pulled off the back of him and luckily it found me.
“A lot of credit has to be given to Craig for a great ball in, and I didn’t have too much to do, apart from just nod it into the corner.”
Martin has given Derby an added dimension up front since joining last month, and has been unlucky not to score in his previous four appearances.
Against Birmingham City last weekend he was denied by a series of fine saves from England goalkeeper Jack Butland, while in the previous game at Cardiff City, he had a goal ruled out for offside which, with the benefit of television replays, looked legitimate.
“It was a bit of a relief for me after not scoring in a few, especially given the chances that I’ve seemed to pass up – and phantom goals that should have been given,” Martin said.
“I’ve had a few chances but seen some good saves and good blocks.
“Adding those things up I was thinking ‘when would it come for me?’ so I’m delighted it’s come.
“I’m delighted to get that goal, but more delighted that I contributed to a good win.”
Manager Nigel Clough acknowledged that his team’s football had not been as easy on the eye as in recent performances, but with the team ending a winless run that had stretched to eight games before the weekend, Martin joined his gaffer in praising the tenacity of his team-mates.
He said: “It’s a relief to get the win, perhaps not playing the best football.
“That’s the beauty of the Championship.
“We’ve been so close in the weeks I’ve been here and we’ve played some excellent stuff and not managed to get something.
“We’ve dug deep and the lads at the back have dealt with a lot of aerial challenges and managed to see it through.”