Matej Vydra’s penalty proved to be enough as Derby County defeated 10-man Grimsby Town on Tuesday night to progress through to the second round of the Carabao Cup.
After a cagey first half battle, Gary Rowett’s side were quick out of the blocks in the second 45 minutes and Vydra found the back of the net from the spot on 53 minutes after he himself had been pulled back inside the box.
Unlike the first fixture, in which the Rams had opened the scoring inside five minutes, it took a while for the re-arranged Carabao Cup tie to burst to life and there was only one clear cut chance created over the first half.
The closest either side came to scoring came a minute before the interval as Tom Bolarinwa drove a shot towards the inside of the post, but Jonathan Mitchell stepped across to make a simple save.
Derby were far more incisive in the second half and grew in stature after breaking the deadlock eight minutes after the break as Vydra stepped up to convert his spot kick after being pulled back by Nathan Clarke.
The visitors nearly doubled their advantage soon after – first through Chris Martin and then debutant Tom Lawrence – but at the other end, Mitchell was called upon to keep the Rams ahead as he leapt across his goal to palm over Sikiri Dembele’s effort from a tight angle.
A frantic 10-minute spell concluded with former Derby midfielder Ben Davies being sent off for a second booking and after Rowett had introduced Under-23s wideman Kellan Gordon for his professional debut, his side saw the game out to progress through to the second round of the Carabao Cup, where they will face Barnsley at Oakwell next month.
Grimsby Town: McKeown, Davies, Clarke (C), Collins, Dixon, Rose, Berrett, Kelly (Mills, 65), Dembele (Jaiyesimi, 81), Bolarinwa, Hooper (Cardwell, 64)
Substitutes not used: Killip, Osbourne, Clifton, Summerfield
Derby County: Mitchell, Baird, Pearce (C), Shackell, Forsyth, Bryson, Butterfield, Lawrence (Elsnik, 81), Vydra (Anya, 68), Bennett (Gordon, 75), Martin
Substitutes not used: Carson, Wisdom, Nugent, Olsson
Attendance: 3,033 (855 Derby supporters)
A predicable winner, but the defining moment in this game came in the 53rd minute when Vydra stepped up to convert what proved to be the winning goal of the game.
Much like his penalty in the game against Preston North End, Vydra went low and powerful into the bottom left corner, leaving James McKeown with absolutely no chance.
At the other end, Mitchell’s fine save to deny the lively Dembele deserves a mention as the Rams held firm to keep a second clean sheet in three matches.
Coming straight back into the side from a long-term injury, Jason Shackell appeared to fit into the team seamlessly and barely put a foot wrong alongside Alex Pearce at centre back, making him our standout player in this fixture.
Alongside Shackell, Vydra also impressed, again, in his number 10 role and as we all know, he scored the winning goal thanks to his second penalty conversion in three games.
Through to the second round of the Carabao Cup, Rowett’s side are scheduled to play Barnsley at Oakwell on Tuesday 19th September.
Derby’s next league fixture, though, comes against recently promoted Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.
Hot in form with three successive victories, Rowett’s side will be looking to make it four ahead of the first international break of the 2017/18 season.