Derby County fell to a 1-0 defeat against Sheffield Wednesday on New Year’s Day at Hillsborough Stadium.
The Rams remained unchanged in the starting line-up to the team that secured a 4-0 victory over Birmingham City earlier in the week.
However, on Friday night, a handful of first-half chances weren’t capitalised on by Wayne Rooney’s side and Callum Paterson bundled in the only goal of the game midway through the second half to secure three points for the Owls.
Derby started as they left off in their final game of 2020, completely in control in the opening stages and barely giving Wednesday a look-in at the ball.
On the 15 minute-mark, their first opportunity came as Louie Sibley drove forward and sent a venomous strike from range to send Joe Wildsmith diving towards the bottom corner to palm the effort away. It only went as far as Colin Kazim-Rickards inside the area who played a quick back-heel to Kamil Jozwiak.
The winger waltzed deeper into the area before cutting back to Graeme Shinnie who side-footed a shot across goal which Barry Bannan blocked to go over.
Sibley was involved in another chance soon after when Nathan Byrne lifted the ball over to him at the back post. He headed back across goal and Matt Clarke scooped in an effort that was deflected just wide. The resulting corner was sent in well by Byrne and Krystian Bielik’s header at the back post was blocked and eventually cleared.
The best opportunity of the half came just ahead of the 30 minute-mark. Kazim-Richards held the ball up brilliantly deep in the Owls’ half and rolled the ball into the path of Shinnie.
He picked out Craig Forsyth who whipped a perfect ball in from the left, over the centre-back’s head in the middle of the box and in space for Kazim-Richards to run on to. The striker flew in but his headed effort rattled off the crossbar.
Wednesday found their footing in the final five minutes of the half and got close from a set piece. Bannan curled a free-kick in from the left of Derby’s box which was met by Elias Kachunga’s diving header just wide of the mark.
The Rams were back in control to start the second half and within ten minutes another brilliant delivery by Forsyth created another chance. After a patient build-up, a ball was half-cleared to Bielik from inside the box, he nodded back out to Forsyth on the left who crossed in perfectly towards the back post, but Sibley was inches too late to slide in a poke home.
On the stroke of 60 minutes, the hosts took the lead through Paterson. Bannan’s free-kick was flicked on at the near post and David Marshall came out to punch away but couldn’t connect well and Paterson bundled the second chance in.
Soon after, an opportunity came down the other end from a free-kick. Shinnie sent a ball into the area which was initially cleared to Jozwiak, he scuffed the shot slightly and was blocked back to Jason Knight who quickly found Shinnie again to his side. The midfielder struck from just inside the area to draw a strong save by Wildsmith.
In the final minute of injury time, there were shouts for a penalty from the Derby players when an effort by Lee Buchanan by the post looked to hit the hand of the defender, but the referee dismissed the appeals and the Rams left without a point.
They will now have a fortnight break from Sky Bet Championship action as their focus momentarily switches to the FA Cup when they travel to face Chorley on Saturday 9th January.
Sheffield Wednesday: Wildsmith, Palmer, Paterson (Rhodes, 71), Harris, Pelupessy, Bannan (C), Reach, Leeds, Windass (Kachunga, 38), Odubajo, Shaw.
Substitutes: Jackson, Penney, Dele-Bashiru, Brown, Hunt, Brennan, Waldock.
Derby County: Marshall (C), Wisdom, Forsyth (Buchanan, 72), Shinnie (Bird, 72), Bielik, Jozwiak, Byrne, Kazim-Richards, Clarke, Sibley, Knight.
Substitutes: Roos, te Wierik, Whittaker, Evans, Watson, Gordon, Hector-Ingram.