Derby County returned from the final international break of the season in fine form as they defeated Luton Town 2-0 at Pride Park Stadium.
It was a Good Friday for the Rams who got off to a brilliant start as Lee Gregory charged in at the back post to poke home the opening goal after just seven minutes.
That lead was doubled moments into the second half to take the game away from the Hatters when Tom Lawrence was brought down in the area for Graeme Shinnie to make no mistake from the penalty spot.
The Rams got off to a very bright start, with Louie Sibley looking a threat on the right side. Within the first four minutes, he had taken aim twice coming close. First, a good move from Derby saw Nathan Byrne feed the ball to Sibley in the box and he fired to force Simon Sluga into the first save of the game to palm round the corner.
The resulting corner was sent out to Sibley on the edge of the box and he rifled a first time shot at goal forcing Sluga to tip the dipping volley over the cross bar.
The energetic start paid off and by seven minutes, the Rams took the lead. Tom Lawrence poked the ball into Sibley on the right and he picked out Martyn Waghorn running bravely at the far post. The forward smashed the ball back across goal into the path of Gregory to bundle in.
Derby got a let off just minutes later when Elijah Adebayo rose highest to claim a ball over the top into the area but headed just wide from the six-yard box.
Derby were on the attack again after 18 minutes when a deep cross from the right met Lawrence at the back post. He fired across goal from the tight angle, but his effort flashed just wide of the far post for Luton to survive the attack.
Luton looked to draw level after 24 minutes when they hit on the counter-attack in numbers. Adebayo had time and space in the box and picked his shot to take aim. David Marshall met his effort with a superb block with his feet.
Straight down the other end and it was another chance for the Rams as Sibley rifled a low volleytowards Sluga’s corner which the visiting keeper met.
The Rams came out the blocks quickly again to start the second half and within four minutes their lead had doubled. Lawrence was hauled to that floor as he stepped over in the area and the referee quickly blew the whistle.
Shinnie stepped up to the spot and made no mistake as he fired into the middle of the net.
Just minutes later, Lawrence was in the action again as he sent a dangerous cross in front of goal and Gregory raced to meet it, but he poked it just wide.
With a two-goal advantage, the Rams defended well and didn’t afford the Hatters another opportunity on goal for the remainder of the season.
Inside the final ten minutes Derby looked to add one more goal. Matt Clarke brough a free kick down on the area and turned to poke it on target, but Pelly Mpanzu was in the right place to sweep it away.
The Rams will return to action in three days time when they travel to Reading on Easter Monday.
Derby County: Marshall (C), Wisdom, Forsyth, Shinnie, Lawrence (Buchanan, 84), Bird, Waghorn (Kazim-Richards, 44), Byrne, Clarke, Sibley (Knight, 62), Gregory (Jozwiak, 62).
Substitutes: Roos, Mengi, Roberts, Baningime, Watson.
Luton Town: Sluga, Tunnicliffe, Pearson, Cornick (Nombe, 70), Rea (C) (Ince 58), Mpanzu, Clark, Dewsbury-Hall, Naismith, Bree, Adebayo (Collins, 70).
Substitutes: Shea, Cranie, Berry, Moncur, Lua Lua, Morrell.