Derby County suffered a 4-0 defeat at Pride Park Stadium at the hands of Blackburn Rovers on Saturday afternoon.
A lethal five-minute spell inside the opening 15 minutes was the undoing for Derby with Tyrhys Dolan burying a second-chance opportunity off the post, before a brace by former Ram Bradley Johnson. His first, a rocket from 25 yards out and his second a deflected effort just three minutes later.
Although the hosts looked brighter in the second-half, it was Rovers who found the back of the net again late on through Adam Armstrong.
The Rams wore black armband for the game in tribute to the club’s last living FA Cup winner in 1946, Reg Harrison who sadly passed away last week aged 97.
Mike te Wierik, Louie Sibley and Lee Buchanan returned to the starting line-up for the game, while Duane Holmes came off the bench for Phillp Cocu, making his return from injury.
Derby started on the front foot, with two decent chances within the first ten minutes. First, a good move starting with Lee Buchanan. Kamil Jozwiak back-heel allowed Louie Sibley to drive forward down the middle of the pitch to set Jason Knight and the midfielder’s effort was blocked.
Just minutes later, Max Bird saw his close-range effort cleared off the line.
However, a five-minute spell turned the game on its head as Rovers hit back with three quick goals. On the 11-minute mark, Ben Brereton smashed an effort against the post, and Nolan was waiting to turn in the second chance.
Just one minute later, that lead was double by a rocket of an effort by former Ram Johnson who picked up the ball 25-yards out and rifled it into the bottom corner.
Three minutes later and Johnson had his second. Dolan’s cross was headed clear, but it landed to the midfielder on the edge of the box and his deflected effort caught David Marshall on the wrong foot.
The fourth almost came on the 20-minute mark when Brereton received a ball in from Joe Rankin-Costello at the back post, his close-range effort was instinctively denied by Marshall.
The Rams looked to pull on back ahead of the break in added time. Wayne Rooney floated a ball out wide to Nathan Byrne who played into Bird. He pinged a ball into the box to Louie Sibley who fired on-target, but Thomas Kaminski stretched to tip the ball over.
Another opportunity came to close the gap just after the hour-mark when Jozwiak was fed the ball down the left-hand side after a great touch by Rooney. He drove forward into the box and picked his shot, that glanced just past the far post.
The Rams kept pushing, and the best chance came with just under-20 minutes to play. Byrne delivered a pin-point cross from the right to the back post and Lee Buchanan was there with a bullet of a header that whistled just over the cross-bar.
However, it was Blackburn who struck again. Armstrong was played in from the right and a simple finish took their lead to four with 13 minutes left.
In the final minutes, both Holmes and Morgan Whittaker drew saves from Kaminski. The Rams will have another week of work until they travel to Norwich City next Saturday.
Derby County: Marshall, Andre Wisdom, te Wierik, Jozwiak, Bird (Holmes, 71), Byrne, Marriott (Evans, 45), Sibley (Whittaker, 76), Buchanan, Rooney (C), Knight
Unused Substitutes: Roos, Shinnie, Clarke, Hector-Ingram
Blackburn Rovers: Kaminski, Williams, Johnson, Armstrong, Rothwell (Bennett, 79), Holtby, Bell, Brereton, Rankin-Costello, Lenihan (C), Dolan (Champman, 67)
Unused Substitutes: Fisher, Nyambe, Davenport, Buckley, Wharton