Derby County opened their pre-season schedule with a narrow 2-1 defeat to Grimsby Town.

Derby County opened their pre-season schedule with a narrow 2-1 defeat to Grimsby Town.

During a four-minute purple patch midway through the first half, Padraig Amond and Craig Clay struck to give the Mariners a two-goal advantage on an afternoon of experiment for Paul Clement.

The Head Coach deployed two different sides in each half as his side stepped up their preparations for the season and after a completely new line-up returned for the second 45 minutes, Johnny Russell quickly halved the scores with a well-placed free kick.

The Rams started the contest brightly in north Lincolnshire as they dictated the play and zipped the ball around the pitch at Blundell Park with pace and purpose.

For all their creativity in the first two thirds of the pitch, Derby failed to create any chances of note in the opening 45 minutes – a Tom Ince free kick that flew narrowly wide proved to be the closest they came.

The home side, who have narrowly missed out on promotion back to the Football League in each of the last three seasons, grew into the contest and punished some slack defending in quick succession.

Amond neatly side footed a cushioned header into the bottom left corner after the Rams' backline failed to deal with a ball into their 18-yard box.

The second came from a stray pass in the middle of the park and after the Mariners seized on possession, they sent the Rams frantically back pedalling.

Clay proved to be the eventual beneficiary as he was given time and space, right of centre, to place a first time effort beyond the onrushing Grant.

Into the second half and Paul Clement, the Rams’ Head Coach, returned with a completely different starting XI and quickly halved the deficit.

Russell assumed set piece duties and clipped a well-placed strike from the edge of the area over the wall and into the far corner of James McKeown’s goal.

Jeff Hendrick went close with two chances after that – the first narrowly dropping wide of McKeown’s far post before he later forced the ‘keeper into a sublime save, but despite all their huffing and puffing, Derby could not find the elusive equaliser.

Derby County First Half: Grant, Christie, Keogh, Shotton, Warnock; Thorne, Hanson, Hughes; Ince, Calero, Bent

Derby County Second Half: Carson, Ssewankambo, Albentosa, Pearce, Forsyth; Baird, Hendrick, Bryson; Weimann, Russell Sammon

Other substitutes: Roos (GK)

Attendance: 2,729

Tweets by @ dcfcofficial