Sam Winnall’s late strike extended Derby County’s winning run in the Sky Bet Championship to three games as they won a pulsating encounter 2-1 at Carrow Road against Norwich City.
David Nugent gave Gary Rowett’s side the lead with a stunning effort in first half stoppage time before Timm Klose levelled the scores, with Winnall then coming off the bench to devastating effect to grab the decisive goal seven minutes from time.
Daniel Farke’s side settled into their passing game early and a swift move down the left-hand side created the first chance on 17 minutes, with Marco Stiepermann firing against the crossbar after finding space in behind Andre Wisdom.
The Rams were pressing higher up the pitch than in the previous away games at Brentford and Cardiff City but they were still comfortable dropping in when needed as Norwich began to pepper Scott Carson’s goal from outside the box, with Josh Murphy coming the closest.
Carson was involved in a major flashpoint seven minutes before the break when Murphy nipped in as he tried to shield the ball out of play, with only a strong challenge by the Derby 'keeper stopping the home side from going ahead.
Just as the first half looked to be ending level, Derby struck a crucial blow to take the lead in stoppage time.
Richard Keogh found Nugent with a brilliant ball from near the halfway line, and the striker took the ball away from Christoph Zimmermann before curling a magnificent effort into the corner from just outside the penalty area.
Tom Huddlestone, still looking for his first Rams goal, nearly doubled the lead with an absolute screamer eight minutes after the break, but Angus Gunn was equal to his 25-yard volley.
The home side fought back, though, to take control of the second period, and they should have been level on the hour as Stiepermann’s close range effort at the back post was brilliantly kept out by Carson.
The Rams’ keeper couldn’t stop the equaliser on 71 minutes as Klose rose highest to meet Stiepermann’s deep cross and level the scores.
After the disappointment, Derby came back to dominate and they thought they had regained the lead when Bradley Johnson turned home, but it was disallowed for offside/
They continued to press and they got their rewards seven minutes before the end, as Gunn could only palm Johnson’s powerful effort into the path of substitute Winnall to tap home.
Norwich piled on the pressure but the goal was enough for Derby to end their torrid run at Carrow Road, with the victory their first on this ground since October 2008.
Derby County: Carson; Wisdom, Davies, Keogh, Forsyth; Huddlestone, Ledley; Lawrence (Thorne 90’), Vydra (Martin 46’), Johnson; Nugent (Winnall 76’).
Substitutes not used: Mitchell, Baird, Pearce, Weimann.
Norwich City: Gunn; Pinto, Zimmermann, Klose, Stiepermann; Reed (Oliveira 62’ (Watkins 73’)), Trybull, Hoolahan; Maddison, Jerome, Murphy (Wildschut 62).
Substitutes not used: McGovern, Hanley, Husband, Vranic.
Winnall impressed after coming on and he added to his vital strike at home against Birmingham City with a crucial winner here.
Slick play found Johnson in space on the left-hand side of the box, and when Gunn was unable to hold his strike, Winnall was on hand to tap home and send the travelling Derby fans into raptures.
Nugent's goal on the stroke of half time was a moment of real quality in a difficult opening spell for the Rams.
He collected a wonderful ball from his captain Keogh before bending home, and he continued to run tirelessly for his team before being replaced by the eventual match-winner Winnall with just under 15 minutes left to play.
The Rams complete back-to-back away games with a trip to Elland Road to take on Leeds United on Tuesday night, before heading back to Pride Park Stadium to face Reading in the final game before the international break.