Derby County secured their second victory over the 2012/13 season with a 3-2 victory over newly-promoted Charlton Athletic, in another action-packed npower Championship encounter at Pride Park Stadium.
The Rams were rampant in attack, and took a three goal lead thanks to a Jamie Ward double either side of Craig Bryson’s 53rd minute strike.
However, Danny Green’s wonder-goal and Yann Kermorgant’s close-range finish brought Nigel Clough’s side back down to earth with a bump, but thankfully Derby showed real resilience and saw the game out to secure back-to-back victories at Pride Park.
Although Nigel Clough’s men started the game with a high intensity and quick tempo at Pride Park Stadium, it was the visitors who almost took the lead in the opening two minutes, as Michael Morrison narrowly headed wide from Johnnie Jackson’s in-swinging corner.
However, the Rams continued to pressure their opponents and almost found an opener in the opening exchanges themselves, as Paul Coutts’ initial effort was blocked, before the ball fell kindly to Craig Bryson, who’s half-volley dropped into the arms of Ben Hamer via a deflection.
Derby continued to penetrate the visitor’s back-line, and on seven minutes the Rams’ attacking impetus was rewarded. Captain Richard Keogh sent a long diagonal ball forward in search of Bryson. The Scottish international was well thwarted by a last ditch header from Chris Solly, who could only clear as far as Ward. The Northern Irish international let the ball drop out of the air before lashing it into the back of the net from 20-yards.
Moments later the Rams could have found themselves two-goals ahead, only for striker Conor Sammon to curl over the crossbar, following Brysons’ clever through ball.
As the half went on, Ward and Bradley Wright-Phillips both had snap shots sale wide of goal, before the former held off three Charlton defenders, but could only fire into the side netting from a tight angle on the half-an-hour mark.
Five minutes later the Rams had an even better opportunity to take the lead. Neat interplay down the right eventually saw Jeff Hendrick feed John Brayford inside the area. The former Crewe Alexandra right-back sent a dangerous ball across the face of goal and with Sammon and Ward for company; Leon Cort did exceptionally well to hack the ball away to safety.
Then former Wigan Athletic striker Sammon dragged a right-footed effort wide of goal following a determined run from Coutts.
The Rams ended the opening 45 minutes in almost complete control, however with the slim one goal margin, the visitors were still very much in the tie.
Dale Stephen’s right-wing corner was met by the firm head of Jackson, but fortunately for the Rams, Gareth Roberts was well-positioned on the goal-line to hack the ball away to safety.
Then the Rams raced up the other end of the pitch in a swift counter-attacking move, which ended in Bryson sending a low drive inches wide of goal.
The Scotsman’s disappointment was short lived, as the former Kilmarnock midfielder converted from close-range to hand the Rams a two-goal advantage. Sammon found room in the penalty area, but saw his shot well saved by Hamer. The ball dropped kindly for Hughes who delivered low for Bryson, and the 24-year-old duly tapped in from inside the six-yard box.
Chris Powell’s side fought back, and almost halved the deficit through former Leicester City man Yann Kermorgant, but the forward headed over following a pinpoint cross from Danny Green.
The away side’s pressure was short-lived, as Ward looked to have put the game beyond any doubt from the penalty spot in the 63rd minute. Following a tangle of legs between the former Aston Villa trainee and Solly, referee David Phillips pointed to the spot. Ward dusted himself down and dispatched the resulting spot-kick low and hard – too powerful for Hamer who got a hand to the ball.
However, the Addicts refused to give up, and seven minutes after the Rams had taken a three goal lead, Green let-fly with a thunderbolt from 30-yards that rocketed into the net - leaving goalkeeper Frank Fielding with no chance.
The visitors were buoyed by the strike, and two minutes later Green turned provider, as the former Dagenham and Redbridge winger raced clear down the right before finding Kermorgant who tapped home from close-range.
Substitute Salim Kerkar sent a devilish free-kick inches over Fielding’s crossbar from a tight angle in the final 10 minutes, before the former Rangers midfielder saw his close-range header cleared off the line by Ward in the final seconds.
Derby County: Fielding (GK); Brayford, Keogh, O’Connor (Buxton 82), Roberts; Coutts, Bryson, Hendrick, Hughes (Robinson 89); Ward, Sammon.
Subs Not Used: Legzdins (GK), Gjokaj, Jacobs, Freeman, Doyle.
Charlton Athletic: Hamer (GK), Solly, Morrison, Cort, Wilson; Green, Stephens, Hollands (Kerkar 60), Jackson; Wright-Phillips (Fuller 60), Kermorgant.
Subs Not Used: Button (GK), Evina, Dervite, Pritchard, Smith.
Attendance: 20,063 (443 Visiting Supporters).