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Derby County picked up three welcome points in Sky Bet League One as they defeated Exeter City 2-0 at Pride Park Stadium on Tuesday night.

Nathaniel Mendez-Laing opened his account for the season in the first half and Conor Washington made an impact from the bench in the second period to secure a 2-0 win at Pride Park bouncing back from Saturday’s defeat at Shrewsbury Town.

The Rams showed their dominance in the early stages as Craig Forsyth burst down the left-hand side putting in a teasing cross that just missed Kane Wilson at the back post. Two minutes later, Mendez-Laing danced around the Exeter defence before firing wide of the target.

Max Bird and Forsyth combined on the left-hand side, a repeated pattern throughout the night, with the Derby Academy graduate’s cross just missing Wilson’s head to tap home once more as we approached the ten-minute mark.

Louie Sibley tested Exeter goalkeeper Viljami Sinisalo with a shot from range, but he dealt with his effort comfortably. Mendez-Laing tried his luck from distance again two minutes later firing over the bar, with the Exeter frontline barely having a sniff at goal inside the first half an hour.

However, Mendez-Laing wouldn’t be ruing his missed chance much longer as he opened the scoring five minutes later. Forsyth and Bird combined excellently once more down the left-hand side and Bird’s low driven cross found the Guatemalan international who finished comfortably inside the 18-yard-box to score his first league goal of the season.

The Rams kept up the pressure as the clock dwindled down towards the half time whistle. Bird’s left footed effort from just outside the penalty area was headed clear by the Exeter defence and Mendez-Laing was still causing havoc for the Exeter back line as the first half entered the closing stages.

Mendez-Laing was presented with the first chance of the second half five minutes after the restart but his shot from 25-yards out was grasped comfortably by the Exeter City goalkeeper.

The Rams were looking comfortable in the second half and thought they had taken a two-goal lead in the 70th minute. Louie Sibley’s wonderful through ball to Tom Barkheuizen presented the substitute with an opportunity to find Martyn Waghorn at the back post. His header was directed back towards Mendez-Laing who headed in from close range but was denied by the linesman’s offside flag.

Hourihane later burst into the penalty area two minutes later. His looped cross into the box found the head of Eiran Cashin who headed the ball over the bar from close range.

Barkhuizen was involved again and nearly scored a spectacular goal as his left footed effort from 25 yards out was inches away from dipping under the bar and going into the top left corner.

But it wouldn’t be long until the Rams would later double their lead with 13 minutes to go. Substitute Conor Washington scored his second goal of the season bringing the ball into the penalty area before cutting onto his right foot and beating the goalkeeper with a powerful effort past his near post.

Wildsmith was forced into a save in added time as Exeter’s free kick looked to be travelling above his head before he clawed the danger out with his outstretched hand.

This win moves the Rams into eighth place in the League One table going into Saturday’s match away at Stevenage.

The Teams

Derby County: Wildsmith (GK), Wilson (Barkhuizen 65), Forsyth, Hourihane (C) (Smith 82), Cashin, Bird, Waghorn (Collins 71), Mendez-Laing, Sibley (Washington 71), Nyambe, Nelson.

Substitutes not used: Vickers (GK), Bradley, Fornah.

Exeter City: Sinisalo (GK), Jules (Watts 61), Aimson (C), Hartridge, Carroll, Mitchell, Trevitt, Muskwe (Scott 74), Fitzwater (Sweeney 82), Aitchison, Harper (Wildschut 74).

Substitutes not used: MacDonald (GK), Kite, Diabate.


24,040 (637 Exeter City supporters)

What's Next Up?

The Rams are back in Sky Bet League One action this weekend when they travel to Hertfordshire to take on Stevenage (3pm kick-off).

Words: Elliot Yates

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