Tom Huddlestone and Cameron Jerome grabbed their first goals for Derby County as Gary Rowett's side earned a comfortable 3-0 victory against ten-man Brentford.
Sergi Canos saw red for a strong challenge on Marcus Olsson midway through the first half, and the Rams wasted no time in taking advantage as Huddlestone and Jerome got off the mark.
Matej Vydra was also on the scoresheet, as he converted a late penalty for his 16th Sky Bet Championship goal of the season; no other player has scored more.
Both sides had chances inside the opening 15 minutes, with Vydra having a shot blocked after good play from Richard Keogh and Jerome, before Florian Jozefzoon fired over for the visitors.
The first major flashpoint came on 21 minutes when Canos thundered into Olsson on the halfway line, and the referee showed no hesitation when producing the red card.
Derby took advantage with half an hour gone, as Tom Lawrence’s corner was headed towards goal by Jerome, and when the ‘keeper saved, Huddlestone was on hand to smash home for the first time in the white shirt.
It was two just four minutes later, as Jerome got off the mark with a tap-in after more slick play from Huddlestone and Lawrence.
It should have been three just after the break when a sensational chipped pass from Jerome found Vydra on the edge of the six-yard box, but the forward fired well over.
To their credit, Brentford launched a fightback of sorts midway through the second period, as Henrik Dalsgaard forced a strong stop from Scott Carson.
Moments later, Carson had to be at his best once against to stop Chris Mepham’s looping header.
Derby were at their free-flowing best as the game entered the last 15 minutes, as Andre Wisdom, Ikechi Anya and Sam Winnall combined beautifully down the right-hand side, before Anya shot over the crossbar.
Sam Winnall came off the bench and was brought down inside the area in added time, and Vydra slammed home from the spot to complete a comfortable afternoon for Derby.
Derby County: Carson; Wisdom, Keogh, Davies, Olsson; Huddlestone, Thorne (Ledley, 79’); Anya (Palmer, 90), Vydra, Lawrence; Jerome (Winnall, 63’).
Substitutes not used: Roos, Baird, Forsyth, Nugent.
Brentford: Bentley; Dalsgaard, Mepham, Bjelland, Barbet; Sawyers, Woods (Yennaris, 62’), Mokotjo (Judge, 76’); Jozefzoon (Marcondes, 62’), Watkins, Canos.
Substitutes not used: Daniels, Egan, McEachran, Maupay.
The Rams were ruthless in the way that they took advantage of the dismissal of Canos midway through the first half.
The sanction was fully deserved, but Derby turned up the pressure and grabbed two important goals in a situation where if the score remained goalless, Pride Park could have become edgy.
After a controlling display in midweek against Millwall, Huddlestone continued here, setting the tempo for Derby’s passing game, especially after the visitors were reduced to ten-men.
In addition to that, he finally bagged his first goal for the club, 5,292 days after he made his debut back in 2003.
Lawrence’s corner found Jerome, and Huddlestone was on hand to slam home the rebound.
The Rams are back at Pride Park next weekend, as Daniel Farke brings his Norwich City side to the East Midlands in the Championship.
After that, the rearranged fixture with Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough takes place on the following Tuesday [13th February], with kick-off at 7:45pm.