Derby County couldn’t put a dent in Wolverhampton Wanderers’ promotion aspirations as goals early in each half secured the points for the hosts at Molineux.
Diogo Jota put his side in-front inside the opening 10 minutes, before Ruben Neves added a second with an incredible effort after the interval.
Derby began the game on the front foot and they won a corner early on, but the home side soon settled into their rhythm and the pressure told after just six minutes.
The killer ball didn’t come through the more likely source of Neves or Barry Douglas, but instead Willy Boly, who chipped over the top and Jota timed his run to perfection before he coolly slotted past Scott Carson.
Neves looked to display his long-range ability and Carson got down well to keep him out after 14 minutes, before Tom Huddlestone forced John Ruddy into a similar stop moments later.
The Molineux crowd held their breath in anticipation as the Portuguese midfielder stood over a free-kick just outside the box 10 minutes before the break, but once again Carson was equal to the effort.
Neves then doubled the lead with an astonishing strike six minutes into the second-half, as he flicked the ball up and volleyed in from 30 yards.
David Nugent curled an effort wide of the target as Derby looked to force their way back into the game, whilst Tom Lawrence caused problems down the left-hand side.
Wolves were now a threat on the break though and Jota had a chance to secure his brace with an angled drive, but Carson kept it out comfortably.
The Rams toiled but they couldn't find the goal that could have made it a nervy ending for the home side, as they fell to just their second away league defeat since September.
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Ruddy; Bennett, Coady, Boly; Doherty, Neves, Saiss, Douglas; Silva (Bonatini, 74’), Afobe (Costa, 66’), Cavaleiro (Gibbs-White, 82’).
Substitutes not used: Norris, N’Diaye, Batth, Hause.
Derby County: Carson; Wisdom, Pearce, Davies, Baird; Huddlestone, Ledley (Palmer, 73’); Weimann, Vydra (Hanson, 85'), Lawrence; Nugent (Jerome, 82’).
Substitutes not used: Roos, Forsyth, Keogh, Thomas.
Gary Rowett highlighted the quality of Neves prior to this game and it was the midfielder that struck the decisive blow early in the second period.
He lifted the ball into the air after a set-piece was cleared and before it touched the ground, he thumped an absolutely outrageous volley into the top corner.
In difficult circumstances, Huddlestone used possession well throughout, and he looked most likely to carve out an opening for the Rams with his range of passing.
He was, of course, returning to the ground where he spent time on-loan from Tottenham Hotspur during the 2005/06 season.
The Rams are back in action on Saturday as they make the short trip to the Pirelli Stadium to face Burton Albion on Saturday, before returning to Pride Park Stadium to take on Middlesbrough a week later.