A stunning late free kick from Rams’ top scorer Chris Martin was enough to decide this fiercely contested Sky Bet Championship encounter.
A poor first half showing from Derby saw Head Coach Steve McClaren ring the changes at half time and his alterations bared fruit in the second half as the Rams looked an entirely different proposition.
However, despite their sustained pressure, it looked set to be a frustrating afternoon for the Rams, as it appeared increasingly as though they would be unable to unlock the visitors’ defence.
But a moment of magic in the form of Martin’s superb set piece earned maximum points for the Rams, consolidating their position third in the table and keeping their automatic promotion push well on course.
Derby started the brighter of the two sides, controlling the opening ten minutes of the game with some good passing in their opponents’ half but failed to create any clear cut chances.
From there on in however, the first half was Bournemouth’s, with the away side getting in to some good positions and frequently testing the mettle of the Rams’ back four.
And it was the visitors who almost broke the deadlock in the 16th minute when Tokelo Rantie laid the ball off to Matt Ritchie who unleashed a powerful shot which struck the base of Lee Grant’s right hand post.
Moments later, Lewis Grabban picked up a loose ball and switched the the play with his left foot before firing the ball just past the left post.
Then, in a bizarre moment, Derby were almost the masters of their own downfall when in the 23rd minute, a mix-up between Grant and Richard Keogh saw the Rams’ skipper knock the ball over the head of the onrushing keeper with the ball bouncing narrowly wide of the goal.
Derby were struggling to keep possession with some loose passing as they were pressed and harried by Bournemouth, and in the 27th minute Grabban again picked up a loose ball and was allowed to run into Derby’s area, but his shot was held by Grant.
The travelling side were working diligently and every time the ball ended up at the feet of a player in white, he was surrounded by two or three Bournemouth men battling to regain possession.
In the final ten minutes of the half, the Rams began to look livelier however, with Jeff Hendrick’s close range strike being blocked and a defence-splitting through ball dribbling narrowly out of reach of Will Hughes.
In the final five minutes the game really opened up with a succession of chances for both sides, the first of which was a speculative effort from Grabban that was high wide and not very handsome.
Bournemouth came forward again with Marc Pugh whose whipped cross was headed just wide by Tommy Elphick.
Then, a Johnny Russell free kick created panic in the Bournemouth area and when the ball was finally cleared, it was picked up by Russell whose powerful shot was blocked by some brave defending.
At the other end, a Rantie shot from the edge of the area was blocked and the half petered out with the game goalless.
Head Coach, Steve McClaren looked to turn the tide at half time, bringing on Conor Sammon and Simon Dawkins for Bamford and Eustace and Derby got out of the blocks quickly after the restart looking much brighter than their first half showing.
The first chance of the half fell to Martin who headed wide from a difficult angle following Hendrick’s corner from the left.
Two minutes later, Russell put in a near-perfect whipped delivery from the right flank but even at full stretch, it was just beyond the reach of Sammon.
Bournemouth then had a couple of chances of their own as Rantie got in to a good position to cross, but his delivery was behind anyone in a black shirt, before a good delivery from a Bournemouth free kick moments later, was headed over the bar for a Derby goal kick.
At the other end, Derby knocked the ball around patiently before finding Hendrick in space who tried his luck from 25-yards, but his shot was way off target.
The Rams then had a great opportunity to go in front in the 68th minute, when Dawkins found Martin on the left wing and his whipped low cross was agonisingly out of reach of Sammon, before Russell saw his venomous shot cleared off the line by Ian Harte.
Chances were coming thick and fast and it was now Bournemouth’s turn to threaten as a dangerous cross from Marc Pugh was directed just wide by substitute, Yann Kermorgant.
Derby then began to turn the screw getting players forward in numbers and moving the ball nicely around and trying to create chances at every opportunity, but the away side’s defence were putting their bodies on the line and clearing and blocking everything the Rams could throw at them.
Time was ticking away for the Rams’ to find a winning goal and in the 84th minute Will Hughes gave the home side a great chance to put themselves ahead, getting brought down 20-yards from goal after a mazy run.
From the subsequent free kick, a curling effort from Chris Martin was too good for former Rams ‘keeper Lee Camp, who was powerless to stop it nestling in the top right corner of his net.
Bournemouth poured forward in the dying moments of the game, and could have won it with the last kick of the game as Kermorgant was fouled 25 yards from goal winning his team a free kick in a dangerous area, but Harte’s effort sailed over and the referee ended the tie with Derby the victors.
Derby County: Grant (GK), Wisdom, Keogh, Buxton, Forsyth. Eustace (Sammon 45'), Hughes, Hendrick, Russell, Martin, Bamford (Dawkins 45').
Substitutes not used: Legzdins (GK), O’Brien, Bailey, Thorne, Whitbread.
AFC Bournemouth: Camp (GK), Francis, Elphick, Cook, Harte, Ritchie (Fraser 70'), Arter, Surman, Pugh (McDonald 75'), Rantie (Kermorgant 58'), Grabban.
Substitutes not used: Allsop (GK), Smith, MacDonald, Coulibaly, Pitman.
Attendance: 27, 306 (989 away supporters).