Derby County suffered a 1-0 defeat in the Sky Bet Championship against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park on Saturday afternoon.
Adam Armstrong scored the only goal of the game just ahead on the hour mark and despite piling on the pressure in the closing minutes, the Rams were unable to find the equaliser and fell to 16th in the table.
Phillip Cocu made two changes to the side that earned a draw against Queens Park Rangers, with Krystian Bielik returning to the squad after withdrawing from the previous game and Kieran Dowell re-entering the fold. The pair replaced George Evans and Jack Marriott who were on the bench.
The home side almost took an early lead after just four minutes when Corry Evans fed into Bradley Dack, who took a touch in the area before firing across goal, but his effort sailed all the way over and out for a throw-in.
Rovers continued on the front-foot, but the Rams defence held strong throughout the half to limit their final production, with Joe Rothwell also looking to grab the lead before being denied by Andre Wisdom’s block.
Meanwhile, Derby started to settle into the game and look more of a threat going forward.
Tom Lawrence created a yard of space after 17 minutes but his effort from 25 yards was blocked. Just a few minutes later, he whipped a dangerous ball into the penalty area looking for Waghorn, but Christian Walton beat the forward to collect it safely.
The Rams carved out another chance just before the half-hour mark when Waghorn won the ball back in a good area, he fed the ball to Lawrence whose initial shot was blocked into the path of Krystian Bielik. He took aim from the edge of the box, but his effort was deflected over.
With just more than ten minutes to go in the half, Blackburn came close from a set piece. Stewart Downing flung a corner toward Danny Graham at the near post, who flicked the chance into the side netting.
The Rams soon found the back of the net through Martyn Waghorn, however the referee waved for offside. The home side then had time for one more effort before the break, but a brilliant save by Ben Hamer kept the score level at the break. Lewis Travis won the ball back from 40-yards out and drove forward into the area before feeding out to Armstrong who took aim from close range, only to be denied by Hamer’s foot.
Following the break, Derby looked to take the lead and it was again Krystian Bielik with the firepower. The Rams hit the Rovers on the break and Waghorn broke into the right side of the box before laying the ball back to the midfielder who lunged in to curl his shot away from Walton and just wide from the edge of the box.
It was straight back down at the other goal, however, for the deadlock to be broken. Armstrong picked the ball up from 20 yards and rifled his effort into the back of the net just ahead of the hour mark.
The Rams piled on the pressure in the final ten minutes desperately trying to resurrect a point, but where met by the strength of all of the Blackburn players who were sitting back. Duane Holmes was denied twice in quick succession before Craig Forsyth fired over from inside the penalty box.
Youngster Morgan Whittaker also saw a shot deflected out in the dying minutes, then fellow substitute, Jack Marriott had the best chance of the game in the fourth minute of injury time when he struck from close range, calling Walton in to make a quick save.
The Rams were unable to find the equaliser and will look to bounce back in back-to-back home games next week.
Blackburn Rovers: Walton; Nyambe, Lenihan (C), Adarabioyo, Downing; Travis, Evans; Armstrong (Buckley, 90+1), Dack, Rothwell (Bennett, 83); Graham (Gallagher, 68)
Unused Subs: Leutwiler, Johnson, Brereton, Holtby, Buckley
Derby County: Hamer; Wisdom, Davies (C), Forsyth; Bogle (Whittaker, 80), Holmes, Bielik (Martin, 66), Lawrence, Malone; Waghorn (Marriott, 80)
Unused Subs: Roos, Evans, Lowe, Knight