A first-half brace by Tom Lawrence was enough to seal all three points for Derby County in a 2-1 victory over Huddersfield Town in their Sky Bet Championship season opener.
In Phillip Cocu’s first competitive game in charge the Rams gave the Terriers a tough start to life back in the Championship.
Lawrence pinged a ball over the keeper to open the scoring before swiftly adding his second by rifling his effort from the edge of the box after brilliant footwork.
The home side pulled one back when Karlan Grant converted from the penalty spot before half-time.
There were three debuts on the night for Derby as Kieran Dowell earned his first competitive start for the Rams, as did Matt Clarke who signed on loan on Friday.
Young midfielder, Jason Knight, came off the bench to make his senior debut after an impressive pre-season with the first-team.
The Rams were posing a threat from the opening whistle pushing forward to be awarded two free-kicks inside the first ten minutes from dangerous positions. Lawrence whistled the first effort just over the top right corner before striking into the wall.
It wasn’t long for the Rams’ no. 10 to get off the mark for the season after a mistake at the back for the home side moved Derby into the driver’s seat.
From Scott Malone’s throw in to George Evans, the left-back lobbed the ball towards the box for Town’s Tommy Elphick to shoulder towards his keeper. Kamil Grabara could only head away under the pressure of Martyn Waghorn. Lawrence took a touch before pinging the ball goal bound to open the scoring.
Straight down the other end, the Terriers looked to level the score up immediately when Alex Prichard rifled a shot from the edge of the box just over the top right corner.
Lawrence dealt his second blow just three minutes after his first with spectacular footwork on the edge of the area. The Rams’ top provider from last season, Jayden Bogle, fed to Lawrence who shook off his marker to fire a left-footed shot past Grabara.
The home side pulled one back on the half hour mark from the penalty spot after Juninho Bacuna was brought down by Kieran Dowell. Karlan Grant converted from the spot kick.
Grabara denied the Rams from extending their lead in extra time before the break. After winning the ball back in the middle of the park, Dowell floated the ball down to Florian Jozefzoon who crossed to Waghorn, but his effort drew a good save from Huddersfield’s stopper.
Just after the restart, it was Kelle Roos’ turn to make a good save from a Terriers corner to deny Christopher Schindler at the back post.
With just over ten minutes left to play, the home side had an opportunity to level the score when a cross from the left evaded everyone in the box to meet substitute Elias Kachunga at the back post but he fired his effort over.
Huddersfield Town: Grabara; Hadergjonaj, Elphick, Schindler (C), Kongolo; Bacuna (Mbenza, 62), Hogg, Mooy; Diakhaby (Kachunga, 67), Grant (Quaner, 89), Pritchard
Unused Substitutes: Schofield, Bockhorn, Stankovic, O’Brien
Derby County: Roos; Bogle, Keogh (C), Clarke, Malone; Evans, Huddlestone, Dowell (Knight, 87); Lawrence, Waghorn, Jozefzoon (Bennett, 73)
Unused Substitutes: Mitchell, Shinnie, Marriott, Lowe, Davies