Derby County keep finding ways to overcome teams in the Sky Bet Championship this season.
A hard working Blackpool team was their latest conquest as Chris Martin slotted away his tenth goal of the season from the penalty spot with less than 10 minutes to go.
The faces and reactions at the final whistle said it all and the Rams have had to dig and scrape the bottom of the barrel to find their latest win in the swirling wind and pouring rain at Bloomfield Road.
Lessons have been learned and Steve McClaren opted for freshness ahead of the game as he made as many as five changes for the trip north. Jack Butland made his debut after signing on loan from Stoke City, whilst Omar Mascarell, notably, also made his league debut.
Jose Riga, the Blackpool Manager, called for a response to his side’s 4-2 defeat to Huddersfield Town at the weekend, and his players responded strongly to give the Rams a testing evening.
In the swirling Fylde Coast wind, Derby made the brighter start as Blackpool attempted to soak up the early pressure from the away side and prevent a collapse that saw them fall three goals down early on as they had done against the Terriers.
Jeff Hendrick got his shot away after two minutes after he waltzed inside three challenges before bending an effort over the bar and Jordon Ibe tried his own luck from range after coming inside from the right, but rifled an effort wide.
The home side began to grow into the game and Ishmael Miller whistled an effort narrowly over the top of Butland’s bar after 10 minutes, before Derby swarmed forward moments later and resulted in Cyrus Christie marching into the area and smashing an effort well over.
The Tangerines, though, were carving out the better openings as Peter Clarke headed a corner straight into the grateful arms of Butland, before the ‘keeper was called into the action to turn Tony McMahon’s effort on to the bar after he robbed Christie of possession in his own area.
With the home side sitting deep, Jose Riga was relying heavily on the pace of Nathan Delfouneso and Miller to cause the problems and after a long punt up field, Miller switched inside on his left foot and unleashed a fierce drive that was beaten away by Butland after 21 minutes.
Delfouneso was presented the best chance of the first half as a deep free kick found its way through to the striker, but with only Butland to beat, the striker lobbed his effort over the bar.
Miller turned another effort over the bar on the half hour mark as Blackpool continued to carve out the better openings.
With the half entering its closing stages, Mascarell and Johnny Russell both had late efforts saved as the contest opened up.
Joe Lewis produced an excellent diving save to deny Chris Martin after the 25-year-old rose highest to connect with Christie’s cross in what was the last of the first half chances of a tightly contested affair at Bloomfield Road.
Five minutes after the interval, Ryan Shotton launched a stinging shot from 30 yards that Lewis did well to hold as the Rams began to up the tempo and find pockets of space inbetween the Blackpool defence and midfield.
Blackpool, though, spurned another chance after 55 minutes as Donervon Daniels headed over from six yards after connecting with Orlandi’s inch-perfect corner from the left.
As the game passed the hour mark, Steve McClaren’s side began to turn the screw and it took a splendid save from Lewis to turn Russell’s stinging shot over the bar, before Martin blazed after controlling a long ball forward from Hendrick.
A flurry of changes took the impetus that Derby held on the game, but one of them, Craig Bryson, exchanged passes with Hendrick before streaming into the area, but Lewis again was alert to keep the midfielder’s low shot out.
A minute later, though, and Derby were presented the chance to win the contest after Russell was fouled in the area and the referee Kevin Wright pointed to the spot.
Martin picked the ball up and stroked home the spot kick low to Lewis’ right for his tenth goal of the season to send the travelling Derby contingent into raptures.
The goal had knocked the stuffing out of the home side as the Rams took control. Bryson could have made it 2-0 as he stepped inside and fired straight into a wall of defenders and Hendrick blazed over moments later.
Blackpool huffed and puffed into injury time without seriously troubling Butland. As the final whistle blew, the faces of the Derby players told the story in its fullest. Derby had overcome their latest hurdle to keep the unbeaten run going and with it, equalled a club record that stems back more than 100 years.
Blackpool: Lewis, Daniels, Rentmeister, Clarke, McMahon, Perkins, Lundstram (Mendy, 84), E.Oriol (Mellis, 66), Orlandi (Zoko, 66), Delfouneso, Miller
Substituted not used: Milton, Dielna, Cywka, Blackman
Derby County: Butland; Christie, Keogh (C), Shotton, Forsyth; Mascarell, Hughes (Bryson, 74), Hendrick; Ibe (Best, 74), Russell, Martin
Substitutes not used: Roos, Buxton, Whitbread, Eustace, Calero
Attendance: 11,036 (1,612 away fans)