Three second half goals were Derby County’s undoing as they were beaten 3-1 by Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.
The Rams dominated proceedings in the first half and were rewarded with the opening goal of the game just before the half hour mark through Ravel Morrison’s third goal in as many games.
But, a spell at the start of the second half ensured it would be the home side who earned all three points.
Scott Wharton headed Rovers level on 53 minutes, whilst five minutes later, Tyrhys Dolan headed to put the home side ahead. Substitute Sam Gallagher made sure of the points in additional time as Derby fell to defeat in the North West.
Manager Wayne Rooney made two changes to his side as he welcomed back Liam Thompson and Jason Knight to the starting 11.
And it was a positive start by the Rams who controlled large parts of the first half. They were composed on the ball and picked holes in the Blackburn midfield.
The home side did have the first effort on goal, however, but Reda Khadra fired straight into the arms of Derby goalkeeper Ryan Allsop.
The Rams’ stopper was the main architect of Derby’s attacks. He created Derby’s first chance of the game as his long ball was headed on by Lee Buchanan into the path of Tom Lawrence. The skipper laid the ball back for Morrison to hit but his effort skewed off target.
But, Derby were keeping the ball well and were patient in their build up play. They played with good tempo and they were rewarded with the opening goal of the game just before the half hour mark.
Derby kept the ball alive on the edge of the Blackburn penalty area before the ball broke to Malcolm Ebiowei. He turned his defender on the edge of the box and his deflected shot fell to Nathan Byrne who poked across to Morrison who finished neatly to give Rooney’s side a deserved lead.
The goal rocked the home side, and Derby looked to exploit that vulnerability. They may be should have been further ahead before the half time interval as Morrison had a golden opportunity to extend his side’s advantage.
A floated free kick from Lawrence from the left found the head of Curtis Davies who headed back across to the Jamaican international but he volleyed inches off target.
Two further chances would follow as Buchanan volleyed wide from a tight angle, whilst in additional time, Lawrence broke one-on-one with the goalkeeper but Thomas Kaminski got the better of the Rams’ skipper.
It was a positive 45 minutes for Derby but they would rue those missed opportunities at the start of the second half.
The hosts made a double change at the half time interval and introduced Sam Gallagher and Bradley Dack into their attack, but it would be two set pieces which was Derby’s undoing.
Blackburn equalised on 53 minutes as Joe Rothwell’s corner found the head of an unmarked Wharton, and just before the hour mark, the home side were ahead.
Derby somewhat lost their composure, which had been so effective in the first half, and conceded another corner on the right hand side. This time, Rothwell went short to Dack who crossed deep to Dolan who headed past Allsop to put the Blackburn ahead.
Derby The Rams needed to regain their focus, whilst Blackburn did their best to slow down the pace of the game. Derby did have opportunities, though.
Morrison broke free with 20 minutes remaining but saw his deflected effort go wide, whilst Rooney turned to his bench to make an impact as Colin Kazim-Richards and Luke Plange were introduced into the action.
But, Derby struggled to create a clear cut opening which would get back into the game. There was a lengthy stoppage in play as Kazim-Richards, who had not long since entered the field of play, was stretchered off, leaving the Rams down to ten men for the final few minutes of the game.
With time running out, they continued to battle but just could not find that equalising goal as they came away from the north west without any points.
Blackburn Rovers: Kaminski, Pickering, Johnson (Dack 46’), Khadra (Giles 80’), Rothwell, Dolan, Rankin-Costello (Gallagher 46’), Wharton, van Hecke, Lenihan (C), Travis.
Substitutes: Pears, Brown, Hedges, Buckley.
Derby County: Allsop, Byrne, Bird, Lawrence (C), Morrison, Buchanan (Ebosele 81’), Ebiowei (Plange 73’), Davies, Knight (Kazim-Richards 73’), Cashin, Thompson.
Substitutes: Roos, Forsyth, Bielik, Stearman.