Sam Winnall scored twice as Derby County staged a brilliant second half fightback to extend their winning run to four games with a 2-1 victory against Leeds United at Elland Road.
Gary Rowett’s side were second best for the majority of the first period and they went behind to Pierre-Michel Lasogga’s powerful finish, but the game changed after the break and Winnall picked up where he left off against Norwich City to net a brace and leave the Whites stunned.
After a series of blistering starts in recent weeks, it was the Rams’ turn to fall behind early as Leeds took control in the first half.
Joe Ledley and then Tom Huddlestone were caught in possession as Leeds pressed high, and Lasogga made no mistake in firing home at the near post after being played in by Samuel Saiz to give the home side the lead inside eight minutes.
Sam Winnall partnered Chris Martin up front after both making an impact from the bench against Norwich City, and they combined to forge an opening soon after but Winnall’s effort was blocked, whilst Richard Keogh also ventured forward to try and find an instant response.
Derby were up against the quick attacking midfield trio of Saiz, Kemar Roofe and Ezgjan Alioski and the Spaniard had a chance to go through on goal just before half time, but Keogh brought him down and received a yellow card.
Saiz and Lasogga combined brilliantly again on the hour, with the striker’s effort on the volley flying inches wide of the target.
The Rams then went on to have their best spell of the game, with Chris Martin coming agonisingly close to connecting with Bradley Johnson’s low cross, before the Scotland international forced a save from Andrew Lonergan.
Derby continued to press and they got their reward with 18 minutes left to play, as Craig Forsyth delivered an inch-perfect cross for Winnall to tap home and level the scores.
The game was turned completely on its head eight minutes later, as Tom Lawrence was brought down in the area after receiving an incisive ball from substitute Andreas Weimann.
Winnall stepped up and made no mistake from the spot to give Derby a lead that seemed highly unlikely at the break.
Leeds rarely threatened in the time remaining as Rowett’s side sat in their shape, and they held on to win consecutive away league games for the first time since April 2016.
Derby County: Carson; Wisdom, Keogh, Davies, Forsyth; Lawrence, Huddlestone, Ledley (Weimann, 68), Johnson; Martin, Winnall (Thorne, 88).
Substitutes not used: Mitchell, Baird, Pearce, Thomas, Vydra.
Leeds United: Lonergan; Ayling, Pennington (Grot, 84), Jansson, Dallas; O’Kane, Vieira; Roofe (Sacko, 76), Saiz, Alioski (Hernandez, 84); Lasogga.
Substitutes not used: Wiedwald, Shaughnessy, Anita, Klich.
Weimann came off the bench to make his first Derby appearance since Brentford and he made an impact, supplying Lawrence with the pass that allowed him to run at the Leeds backline.
The Wales international drove into the box and won the penalty, with Winnall showing incredible composure to send Lonergan the wrong way.
Winnall stole the headlines on Saturday with an impressive cameo off the bench but here, making his first start since the goalless draw against Cardiff City, he made the difference.
His first goal was superbly set up by Forsyth, and the penalty was born out of quality build-up play, but the striker was there on both occasions to put the ball into the net.
The Rams welcome Jaap Stam’s Reading side to Pride Park Stadium on Saturday 4th November for the final game before the last international break of 2017.
Derby’s first fixture after the break will be the 5:30pm kick-off against Fulham at Craven Cottage on 18th November, before Gary Rowett’s side welcome QPR to Pride Park three days later.