Callum Connolly’s sixth minute header was enough to secure the points for Ipswich Town against Derby County at Pride Park Stadium on Tuesday night.
The midfielder struck early and the Tractor Boys were happy to sit in their defensive shape for the remainder of the night, with the Rams dominant but unable to find the crucial equalizer.
Martyn Waghorn has made an impressive start in front of goal for Ipswich but he turned provider here, whipping in a fierce corner that was met by Connolly at the near post, and despite Scott Carson’s best efforts, the officials ruled that it had crossed the line.
Mick McCarthy’s side were happy to absorb the pressure from that point but Derby struggled to make any inroads in the opening half an hour.
That was until Tom Lawrence burst away down the left-hand side before floating a cross to the back post, with Andi Weimann’s audacious scissor-kick flying wide.
Lawrence continued to drive at the visitors and he was harshly penalized for simulation three minutes later, although it looked like Jordan Spence made contact inside the area.
The in-form Matej Vydra almost released Weimann with a neat backheel shortly after, but Bartosz Bialkowski was quickly out to claim as Ipswich held onto their lead at half-time.
That lead was nearly doubled just two minutes after the break as Connolly found space at the back post, but Carson reacted well to keep him out.
The Rams suddenly sparked into life and after some neat interplay between Weimann and Vydra, Tom Huddlestone’s deflected shot was kept out brilliantly by Bialkowski.
Vydra continued to display his technical ability as the game approached the hour mark, as he turned away from his man before bending a shot just wide of the far post, and minutes later he had a free-kick well saved by Bialkowski.
Another set piece effort from the Czech was deflected wide soon after as Derby continued to have all of the ball, without managing to find the leveller.
Johnny Russell came off the bench and he beat everyone in his way down the right-hand side with two minutes to go, but his ball across goal was fired over by Joe Ledley as Ipswich held on for a fortunate win.
Derby County: Carson; Baird, Keogh, Davies (Thorne, 83), Forsyth; Huddlestone, Ledley; Weimann (Russell, 70’), Vydra, Lawrence; Nugent (Martin, HT).
Substitutes not used: Mitchell, Wisdom, Pearce, Olsson.
Ipswich Town: Bialkowski; Spence, Chambers, Webster, Knudsen; Skuse, Connolly (Nydam, 72’); Ward, Huws (Downes, 60’), Celina (Sears, 60’); Waghorn.
Substitutes not used: Gerken, Iorfa, Bishop, Morris.
Goal line technology has eradicated the controversy that come with these situations, as at first glance it looked as if Carson had kept out Connolly’s powerful header.
The referee received notification that the ball had indeed crossed the line, and it turned out to be the winner as McCarthy’s side defended their lead brilliantly.
Once again, it was Vydra who looked most dangerous for the Rams when he found himself on the ball in the final third.
He went close with a couple of set pieces, and he will feel that he should have grabbed the crucial equalizer after an hour, but he couldn’t make decisive contact with the ball to turn it home.
Nigel Clough’s Burton Albion are the visitors to Pride Park on Saturday (2nd December), before an away trip to Sam Winnall’s former club Barnsley a week later (9th December).
Aston Villa are the next visitors on Saturday 16th December, before the Christmas schedule hits the following week.