Derby County recorded their first victory at Ashton Gate in 18 years, as first-half goals from Jeff Hendrick and Craig Bryson sealed a 2-0 win over Bristol City.
Irish Under-21 international Hendrick handed the Rams the lead after 34 minutes when he latched onto Michael Jacobs’ teasing cross to divert the ball beyond the reach of Tom Heaton.
It proved to be a quickfire double for a Derby as just three minutes after Hendrick had opened the scoring, fellow midfielder Bryson met Gareth Roberts’ left-wing cross to seal the three points.
It was a timid opening from both sides with the only opportunity in the first 10 minutes falling to Jacobs who’s clever flick goal-wards from Paul Coutts’ corner was diverted wide by an alert Heaton.
Three minutes later Sam Baldock escaped the offside trap and the attentions of the returning Mark O’Brien before seeing his low drive beaten away by Adam Legzdins
at his near post.
However, the Rams began to dominate proceedings at Ashton Gate with long spells of possession, and Will Hughes curled over from the edge of the penalty area following 90 seconds of Derby keeping the ball.
The hosts responded when Ryan Taylor’s exquisite control was met by Albert Adomah, but the former Barnet winger curled over from a tight angle.
But it was the Rams’ slow, controlled build up that proved most effective as with 34 minutes gone, Nigel Clough’s men took the lead when Jacobs’ teasing cross from the left was stabbed into the net by Hendrick inside the six-yard box.
And just two minutes later, the Rams doubled their advantage when Bryson was on hand to head in his third goal of the campaign. Veteran defender Gareth Roberts crossed from the left and the unmarked Scottish international glanced a header past Heaton, into the bottom corner to hand the Rams a two-goal lead.
Derek McInnes’ men hit back with their best chance of the half when Adomah sent Baldock clean through on goal with a perfectly weighted pass, however the former MK Dons man was thwarted by Legzdins who produced a superb stop at the striker’s feet.
But it was the Rams who ended the half on top, and Derby almost made it three when John Brayford cut inside and curled an effort inches wide of Heaton’s right-hand post.
In the second-half the Robins introduced former Ram Steven Davies in a bid to change the momentum of the game in their favour, however Derby stood firm and defended well to deny the hosts a way back into the match.
It was a quiet second 45 minutes in comparison to the first-half, with the Rams’ best two chances coming in quick succession. Firstly Jacobs watched on as his heavily deflected 20-yard effort fell narrowly wide, before Richard Keogh swept a half-volley goal-wards in the 73rd minute, which was comfortably held by Heaton.
McInnes’ men did have chances of their own as they looked to try and salvage something from the game, as substitute Steven Davies forced Legzdins into a smart stop with a curling effort, before the former Burton Albion ‘keeper made his best save of the 90 minutes as he somehow got across his goal-line to deny Liam Fontaine’s header from point-blank range.
However, that was as close as the hosts came to a goal – although Legzdins was called upon one final time to thwart Adomah’s stinging volley – as the Rams put an end to their recent run away from Pride Park with maximum points.
Derby County: Legzdins; Brayford, Keogh, O’Brien (Freeman 87), Roberts; Coutts, Hendrick, Bryson (B. Davies 68), Hughes (O’Connor 90), Jacobs; Sammon.
Subs Not Used: Fielding, Tyson, Robinson, Doyle.
Bristol City: Heaton, Foster, Bates (Cunningham 44), McManus, Fontaine; Adomah, Elliott, Bryan (Stead 71), Danns; Taylor (S. Davies 46), Baldock.
Subs Not Used: Gerken, Wilson, Pearson, Anderson.
Attendance: 12,526 (846 Visiting Supporters)