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Derby County fell to a narrow 2-1 defeat against Birmingham City in the penultimate game at Pride Park Stadium of the 2020/21 season.

Colin Kazim-Richards bagged his eighth goal of the season deep into the first half when converted a cross from close-range.

His goal, however, was cancelled out midway through the second-half as Lukas Jutkiewics headed in. The forward was on target again in the final minutes to take all the points away from Derby.

In the penultimate home game of the season, Wayne Rooney made four changes to the Starting XI that lost to Preston North End in midweek as the Rams sat four points above the relegation zone ahead of the game.

Kelle Roos started between the sticks while Kamil Jozwiak returned from injury in place of David Marshall and Patrick Roberts who were on the bench. George Edmundson and Jason Knight replaced Andre Wisdom and Max Bird.

It was slow start to proceedings with both sides cancelling each other out with little action towards both goals.

However, on the 35-minute mark, the deadlock was broken. Edmundson’s long ball over the top was flicked on by Martyn Waghorn to Lee Buchanan on the left side of the area. He whipped a cross into the box to a wide open Kazim-Richards two yards out to tap in.

Minutes later, Birmingham came close from a corner when an in-swinging delivery was tipped over by Roos. The following corner was well cleared by the Rams.

Derby were alert from the moment the second half began, with a shot coming just seconds in. The kick-off was sent back to Edmundson for another long ball down to Kazim-Richards just outside the area. He headed the ball down and turned to rifle a shot just over the crossbar.

After a comfortable start for the Rams to the half, they were forced to hold strong defensively just ahead of the hour mark. A ball into the box was half cleared to Kristian Pederson on the edge of the area, but Matt Clarke launched his body towards the effort to block it in the six-yard box.

The Blues found the equaliser in the 62nd minute through Jutkiewicz. A long throw from the left was flicked on for the striker to head past Roos.

With 15 minutes left to play, the visitors should have taken the lead. Ivan Sunic played a dangerous ball across the face of the goal which evaded everyone and fell to Alen Hauliloviv on the opposite side of the area. He struck from a tight angle, but his shot hit the post and Derby could breathe a sigh of relief.

Birmingham took the lead with five minutes left to play though Jutkiewics when he fired in at the back post.

Waghorn had a final opportunity to take a point with a free-kick deep in injury time, which he curled just wide of the post.

With defeats also coming to the teams below, Derby remained four points above safety ahead of their trip to face Swansea next Saturday.

Derby County: Roos, Forsyth, Shinnie (C) (Jozwiak, 87), Edmundson, Waghorn, Lawrence, Byrne, Kazim-Richards (Sibley, 75), Clarke, Buchanan (Bird, 75), Knight (Roberts, 87).

Substitutes: Marshall, Cashin, Ebosele, McDonald, Watson.

Birmingham City: Etheridge, Colin, Pedersen, Roberts, Jutkiewicz, Dean (C), Leko (Miller, 75), McGree (Halliovic, 53), Gardner (Halliovic, 53), Sunjic, Seddon (Sanchez, 45).

Substitutes: Trueman, Friend, Bela, Cosgrove, San Jose, 53 Harper.

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