Derby County put their recent back-to-back league defeats behind them and returned to winning ways with a 3-2 victory over inform Huddersfield Town at the iPro Stadium.
Jordon Ibe fired the home side in front to cap off a dominant start to the contest by the Rams, before Harry Bunn scored an equaliser for Chris Powell’s side on 21 minutes as they grew into the game.
Johnny Russell struck Derby back in front on the cusp of the half time interval, before Simon Dawkins gave the result a comfortable feel after stepping off the bench to fire in an effort off the inside of Alex Smithies’ far post and into the back of the net.
There was, though, time for Mark Hudson to score his first goal since joining the Terriers deep into injury time, but Steve McClaren’s side had done enough to return to winning ways on home soil.
Having being challenged to express and impose themselves, Derby laid siege on the Huddersfield goal in the opening exchanges of the contest.
Chris Martin fired over, first time, inside the opening two minutes after Omar Mascarell drove a corner to the striker’s feet, before Johnny Russell side footed wide and over after collecting a pass on the edge of the Huddersfield penalty area.
On six minutes, Derby continued to bombard the Terriers’ goal as Russell won a 50/50 challenge on the right. The forward made head way down his flank before sliding a pass into the area, which Jordon Ibe hit first time only for Joel Lynch to head over the bar.
The winger, though, did not have long to wait to make the break through as Jeff Hendrick evaded one challenge before cutting the ball back to the 18-year-old to sweep beyond Alex Smithies after seven minutes.
As Derby continued to hold control of the contest, Jeff Hendrick, tamely, curled an effort into the gloves of Smithies, before Huddersfield tested Jack Butland after 18 minutes.
The 24-year-old Bermudan striker, Nahki Wells, worked an opening on the right after collecting a pass and struck a vicious effort goal bound that the ‘keeper tipped away for a corner.
The visitors equalised four minutes later as Harry Bunn, who signed a new contract with the Terriers earlier in the day, delicately controlled a cross from right to evade the challenge of Christie before lashing beyond Butland.
Derby quickly went up the other end of the pitch from the kick-off as Martin blazed over from Russell’s slipped pass, but for all their dominance the host’s never really troubled Smithies in the Terriers’ goal until right at the end of the half.
As two minutes of injury time was lifted, Derby went into half time with the lead their first half control had warranted.
A well-worked move forward led to the ball being played to Will Hughes in the box and after the ball was poked out to the feet of Russell, the forward shifted the ball on to his left foot before sliding a pass to Martin.
The striker beat the offside trap, but not the ‘keeper, but as the ball ricocheted out, but Russell pounced on the ball to sweep the Rams into a half time lead.
Five minutes after the break and Chris Powell’s side, once again, had the chance to equaliser after Lynch rose highest to meet Conor Coady’s corner, but the defender’s header lopped narrowly over Butland’s bar.
Jacob Butterfield was next to try his luck as the Terriers robbed Derby of possession just outside their own area and the midfielder waltzed to left and drove an effort into the palms of Butland.
Back came the Rams on 56 minutes as Russell evaded two challenges as he marauded his way into the Huddersfield area, before Smithies came to the visitor’s rescue to deny the forward a second and Derby’s third of the game.
Martin headed over minutes after the hour mark had elapsed, before Butterfield curled over when he was found on the edge of the area by substitute Danny Ward.
Smithies continued to win the personal duel between himself and Martin as the striker connected with Mascarell’s precise free kick from the left, but the effort went straight into the ‘keeper’s hands on 73 minutes.
Four minutes later and Derby made the points safe with their third goal of the evening. Simon Dawkins had only been on the pitch two minutes before collecting a pass from the right and lashing a low drive off the inside of Smithies’ far post and into the back of the net.
It took a fine save from Butland and a superb sliding block from Cyrus Christie to ensure that Derby kept their two-goal advantage as the game entered the latter stages. Butland, first, dived low to turn Danny Ward’s low effort away, before Christie slid across to deflect the follow up over the top of the bar.
As the game approached the final few minutes, substitute Radoslaw Majewski dragged a shot narrowly wide of Butland’s far post and in the dying embers of injury time, Butland was again on hand to turn away Martin Paterson’s effort as Huddersfield applied late pressure.
That pressure eventually told as the Terriers scored their second deep into injury time, but Derby had already done enough to return to winning ways and, with it, end the visitor’s seven game unbeaten record.
Derby County: Butland, Christie, Keogh, Shotton, Forsyth, Mascarell, Hughes, Hendrick, Russell (Dawkins, 76), Ibe (Coutts, 90), Martin
Substitutes not used: Roos, Buxton, Eustace, Coutts, Calero, Best
Huddersfield Town: Smithies, Hudson (C), Scannell (Ward, 66), Butterfield (Majewski, 83), Coady, Holt, Robinson, Wells (Paterson, 86), Smith, Bunn, Lynch
Substitutes not used: Allinson, Peltier, Wallace, Dixon, Paterson
Attendance: 27, 153