Derby County suffered defeat on the road as they were beaten 2-1 by Swansea City at the Swansea.com Stadium.
The hosts were two goals ahead within the first 16 minutes of the game as Joel Piroe twice found the bottom corner to give the home side the perfect start.
Derby did reduce arrears soon after from the penalty spot as Luke Plange was fouled in the penalty area. Tom Lawrence stepped up and found the back of the net but they struggled to break down and find the equaliser.
They did have a shout for a penalty in the final minute of the game as substitute Bartosz Cybulski appeared to be brought down in the area but the referee controversially waved away the strong Derby protests as the Rams fell to defeat.
Manager Wayne Rooney made three changes to his side as Liam Thompson, Krystian Bielik and last week’s goalscorer Ravel Morrison returned to the starting 11.
But it would be the worst possible start for the Rams who fell behind in the eighth minute of the game. After patient build up from Swansea, the ball was played wide to Hannes Wolf who picked out Piroe’s run and he finished confidently from 12 yards to put the home side ahead.
The Rams allowed their hosts too much time in the opening exchanges and were punished once again on 16 minutes as Piroe notched his second of the game as he curled into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
However, Derby were handed a lifeline shortly afterwards as the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Luke Plange met a long ball forward, poked the ball past Swansea goalkeeper Andy Fisher and was brought down.
Lawrence stepped up, and despite the stopper getting a strong hand to the ball, his effort had too much power and trickled into the goal to reduce the deficit.
Momentum was with the Rams as Malcolm Ebiowei almost equalised moments later. The winger skipped past his man before finding the opportunity to shoot but his effort was blocked.
Swansea felt aggrieved midway through the half as they felt Ryan Allsop denied former Rams loanee Jamie Paterson a clear cut goalscoring opportunity, however, the referee waved away the protests.
The Rams had settled into the encounter and started to enjoy spells of possession themselves.
Ebiowei was a bright spark on the right and felt he should have been awarded a penalty just before the interval as he went over under a challenge from Joel Latibeaudiere but the referee was unmoved.
Rooney made a change at the break as Lee Buchanan was replaced by Festy Ebosele on the left hand side. But it was from the right where the Rams almost profited at the start of the half.
Ravel Morrison played the ball out wide to Ebiowei who cut inside and struck with his left foot, but he just couldn’t curl his effort on target.
The home side did start to dictate possession as the Rams found it difficult to get a grip of the game.
And they almost extended their lead with just over 20 minutes remaining as Hannes Wolf struck the crossbar.
Swansea striker Michael Obafemi received the ball in the penalty area before finding the midfielder in the box but his effort from 12 yards rebounded off the crossbar and to safety.
The Rams continued to battle but clear cut chances were few and far between. Jason Knight was introduced and added an energy which Derby needed, whilst Bartosz Cybulski came on for the final minutes to add height to the attack.
With five minutes remaining, Lawrence crossed into the centre and found Krystian Bielik who headed across goal, however, no Derby man was racing in at the back post.
The fans did their best to get behind the players with time ticking away, and they were almost rewarded with the second penalty of the afternoon deep into additional time.
Ebosele gambled at the back post and headed back across goal to Cybulski, the striker appeared to be man-handled in the box but the referee waved away the strong protests as Derby fell to defeat.
Swansea City: Fisher, Cabango, Fulton, Grimes (C), Obafemi (Joseph 90’), Paterson (Ntcham 59’), Wolf, Piroe (Smith 76’), Latibeaudiere, Christie, Naughton.
Substitutes: Hamer, Manning, Ogbeta, Congreve.
Derby County: Allsop, Byrne, Bielik, Lawrence, Morrison, Buchanan (Ebosele 46’), Ebiowei, Davies, Cashin, Thompson (Cybulski 84’), Plange (Knight 73’).
Substitutes: Roos, Forsyth, Stearman, Richards.