Ruthless, clinical, emphatic! Derby County returned to winning ways with a benchmark performance as they swept Hull City aside with a 5-0 victory under the Pride Park Stadium floodlights.
The signs were there from the start. Determined to bounce back from their 3-1 defeat to Sheffield United before the international break, Gary Rowett’s men started fast out of the blocks and a near-miss in the form of an overhead kick from Matej Vydra could very easily have seen Derby leading the game.
And the intense start that Rowett demanded was rewarded shortly afterwards thanks Vydra who later opened the scoring on 15 minutes with a superbly struck free kick from the edge of the box, which thundered into the top right corner of the net.
The action in the first half did not stop there, though, as despite the Rams’ dominance, Hull were presented with a golden opportunity to equalise after Ola Aina was brought down in the area.
Sebastian Larsson stepped up but his effort from 12-yards was sent over the bar and this did nothing but spur Derby on to pick up the baton and extend their lead.
Rowett’s side did that less than 10 minutes later after a through ball from Bradley Johnson allowed David Nugent to pull the ball back to Vydra who slammed the ball into the back of the net from inside the box.
Against his former club, Davies then added a third to Derby’s tally after he rose highest to head home into the bottom corner from another set-play – the centre back responded with a muted celebration out of respect for the memorable years he spent on Humberside.
This was Derby’s night, though, and on the cusp of half time, Johnson made it 4-0 to the Rams after he found space to guide the ball in the far corner of the goal from close range.
It was a dream half for Rowett's side and one that they did not want to end.
Swiftly after the break, more horrors came the way of the visitors and great pressure from the excellent Andreas Weimann gave Johnson the opportunity to net his second of the game and although there were no more goals, this result and performance was just what the doctor ordered!
Derby County: Carson, Baird Keogh (C), Davies, Olsson; Huddlestone, Johnson; Lawrence, Vydra (Martin, 80), Weimann (Russell, 73), Nugent (Winnall, 73)
Substitutes not used: Mitchell, Forsyth, Pearce, Bennett
Hull City: McGregor, Hector, Grosicki (Meyler, 75), Dicko (Diomande, 73), Toral (Irvine, 70), Larsson, Bowen, Dawson (C), Henriksen, Kingsley, Aina
Substitutes not used: Marshall, Luer, Clark, Tomori
Attendance: 25,107 (1,054 Away Supporters)
This was one of those games where any of the eleven Derby players on the pitch could have been picked, and for everyone, there wouldn’t have been any complaints either.
However, from the start, Vydra’s role as the catalyst was the difference for Rowett’s side and his efforts deservedly resulted in two superbly worked goals.
With every passing game, the Czech Republic international is proving how vital he is to this team.
Vydra is delicate on his feet, clever and evidently has an eye for goal. With four to his name now, he is benefiting from Rowett’s belief in him in the number 10 position.
Having scored five goals, we could have plumped for any of these, but the key moment in the fixture came at Derby’s end of the pitch midway through the first half when the visitors were awarded a penalty after Aina was brought down with the hosts leading only 1-0 win.
If Larsson had have converted, at the time, it would have been a crucial equaliser and very easily, the path of the game could have potentially altered in favour of Hull.
Larsson’s sky bound shot over the bar, though, gave Derby a new lease of life and spurred them on to add as many as they could to their tally.
From the Sky Bet Championship, the Rams’ focus now turns to the Carabao Cup and a Second Round date with Barnsley at Oakwell.
The match will come with a bit of added spice, given the fact that the winner with face Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium a week later in the Third Round.
After this performance, Derby will be travelling with a heap of confidence behind them!