Derby County tasted their first defeat in five matches by going down 2-1 to promotion-hopefuls Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road on Saturday afternoon.
Rangers drew first blood at a sold-out Loftus Road inside 11 minutes when Jermaine Jeans tapped home from close range, but Derby hit back to level just over ten minutes later when Tottenham loanee Simon Dawkins superbly volleyed home.
However, defender Clint Hill powered home what proved to be the winner just after the hour to inflict a first defeat on Head Coach Steve McClaren since his appointment just over a month ago.
McClaren opted to name the same side that started in last weekend's 1-1 draw against Birmingham City at Pride Park Stadium, as well as the same substitutes' bench.
That meant Andre Wisdom kept his place at right-back ahead of Adam Smith after impressing on his debut against the Blues, following his arrival on loan from Liverpool last week.
Chris Martin shrugged off the back problem that forced him off early against Birmingham and was supported by Dawkins and Jamie Ward in attack.
Harry Redknapp's Hoops welcomed back influential midfielder Joey Barton after serving a one-match suspension in their 0-0 draw away to Wigan Athletic on Wednesday evening, while winger Matty Phillips also came into the side in place of former West Ham United midfielder Gary O'Neil in their only other change from the stalemate at the DW Stadium.
An experienced Hoops line-up contained Barton, Jenas, Richard Dunne and Robert Green, as well as ex-England internationals Shaun Wright-Phillips and Andrew Johnson on the bench - highlighting exactly why Rangers will be challenging at the top end of the table all season long.
In their maroon away strip the Rams were roared on by a sell-out following of 1,800 Derby fans, who were in fine voice all afternoon.
The early pressure was applied by the hosts as they won a number of early corners which immediately tested Derby's defence rearguard, but other than a glancing Phillips header from a Barton corner Lee Grant was relatively untested in the Rams' goal.
That was until the eleventh minute, when Jenas tapped Rangers in front with their first serious attack of the game.
A low cross from the right by Phillips, after Derby had conceded possession inside their own half, found Austin in the box and although his shot was superbly saved Grant a point-blank range, Jenas was on the spot to force the ball over the line from a few yards out.
With their tails up, the home side continued to pile on the pressure in search of more goals and Austin almost added to his impressive tally of strikes against the Rams in recent seasons a few minutes later when Phillips delivered another fine cross from the right into his path, but he volleyed over from around six yards out.
But, there was something of a string in the tail as with 22 minutes on the clock, and with their first shot on target, Derby got themselves back on level terms. A deep free-kick into the box by Jamie Ward picked out Jake Buxton to head back across goal towards Dawkins, who spun on a sixpence to execute a perfect volley into the far corner beyond the reach of stranded Rob Green.
It was Dawkins' first goal since arriving on loan from Tottenham Hotspur last month and his first in English football, with his only previous efforts coming whilst playing for San Jose Earthquakes in the MLS.
McClaren, sitting in the Directors' Box to oversee proceedings, made a clear message to the bench after Dawkins' goal that his side needed to relax and keep their composure after a tricky start to the game - and those instructions quickly transferred onto the pitch and they kept the ball far better for the rest of the half.
Austin, a big money signing from Burnley in the summer, was off target just before the half-hour mark as an Alejandro Faurlin corner from the right-hand side picked out his run into the six-yard box, but he glanced narrowly off target as Rangers sought to re-take the lead.
It became an end-to-end encounter for the latter stages of the half as the sides almost took it in turns to launch attacks towards the oppositions' goal, but clear-cut chances few and far between before Referee Mr Moss brought the half to a conclusion.
Derby started the second period strongly and Craig Bryson twice tried his luck from distance, first with a free-kick from 25 yards which sailed way over before a curling in an effort from 20 yards which looked destined for the bottom corner - but Green flung himself full-length to his left to push the ball away to safety.
Rangers then upped the pressure with Hoilett and Phillips causing plenty of problems from wide areas, but Keogh and Buxton were enjoying one of those afternoons where they managed to get their heads on pretty much anything and everything that came their way.
Ward forced Green into another stop on the hour after cutting inside from the right to shoot at goal - but on 63 minutes the hosts restored their lead from a set play.
A foul by Craig Forsyth on Phillips resulted in a free-kick which was whipped into the box by Faurlin, allowing Hill to rise at the far post to head home from close range.
Phillips hit the bar as Rangers aimed to go further ahead a few minutes later and Austin also had a shot deflected over by Buxton as the minutes began to ebb away for Derby.
Conor Sammon was introduced off the bench as McClaren added another forward to the side for the final 18 minutes but Rangers, with their experience and Premier League quality, showed no signs of letting the Rams back into the game.
In five minutes of added time Derby piled on the pressure and Ward saw a free-kick from the edge of the box superbly tipped away by Green, but in the end Rangers held on to claim all three points.
Derby County: Grant (GK), Wisdom (Bennett 90), Keogh, Buxton, Forsyth, Eustace, Hughes, Bryson, Ward, Dawkins (Sammon 72), Martin.
Subs Not Used: Morch (GK), Freeman, Jacobs, Ball, Smith.
Queens Park Rangers: Green (GK); Simpson, Dunne, Hill, Assou-Ekotto, Phillips, Jenas, Barton, Hoilett (Traore 79), Faurlin (Henry 76), Austin.
Subs Not Used: Murphy (GK); Johnson, Wright-Phillips, Onyewu, Chevanton.