Johnny Russell made it two goals in two games as Derby County set-up their tour of Holland with a 1-0 win at Northampton Town.

Johnny Russell made it two goals in two games as Derby County set-up their tour of Holland with a 1-0 win at Northampton Town.

The 25-year-old crashed a high effort in off the underside of the bar to seal the victory as Paul Clement’s side got more match minutes under their belts.

Although Derby grew stronger as the game went on, Northampton started the brighter and were more purposeful with their play in the first half at a sun-soaked Sixfields.

Despite their territorial dominance, though, they found the Rams’ backline in stubborn mood.

Time and again, the home side’s advances were rejected and as the contest approached the halfway mark, Clement’s men rallied and began to cause problems of their own.

Russell was at the heart of each of their three key attacks before the interval – first seeing a free kick glanced wide by Alex Pearce and secondly teeing up Darren Bent, who saw his goalbound effort deflected for a corner.

Three minutes after the half hour mark, though, Derby opened the scoring as the Scotland international scampered into the area and unleashed a high drive that crashed off the underside of the crossbar and beyond Adam Smith.

After the break, the Cobblers returned looking for an immediate response.

First, Lee Grant was forced into a save, before Andy Woolmer, the referee, pointed to the penalty spot after Richard Keogh had hauled down Marc Richards.

The forward assumed control of the ball himself, but smashed his effort well over the top of the bar.

After a number of changes from the Rams, seven in total, Chris Wilder’s side continued to play on the front foot.

Sam Hoskins, also a substitute, shot straight at Grant on 68 minutes, whilst Craig Bryson narrowly headed wide from Russell’s delivery from the right after a swift break away.

With 20 minutes remaining, Grant was forced into a sublime save after he palmed away a volley from Ivan Toney, right of centre.

Tom Ince fizzed a strike narrowly wide and later saw a free kick beaten away as Clement’s side finished the stronger. Next stop, Arnhem.

Northampton Town: Smith, Lelan, Buchanan, O’Toole, Diamond, Cresswell, D’Ath, Byrom, Richards, Adams, Potter

Substitutes: McDonald, Clarke, Warburton, Clifton, Hackett, Hoskins, Corry, Toney

Derby County: Carson (Grant, 45), Christie (Ssewankambo, 65), Keogh, Pearce (Shotton, 61), Forsyth (Warnock, 61); Baird (Thorne, 61), Hendrick (Hanson, 75), Hughes (Bryson, 61); Russell (Sammon, 75), Weimann (Ince, 61), Bent (Martin, 61)

Attendance: 2,542 (1,226 Away fans)

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