Derby County’s preparations for the 2015/16 season gathered pace with a 1-0 win against SV Meppen on Tuesday evening.

Derby County’s preparations for the 2015/16 season gathered pace with a 1-0 win against SV Meppen on Tuesday evening.

In a game that the Rams dominated from the first whistle, forward Tom Ince’s goal just before half-time handed Derby a victory on foreign soil in the first game of their tour of Holland, heading just over the border to face the German fourth tier outfit at their MEP Arena home.

Backed by a strong following of supporters making the trip to Germany to cheer on the side, Derby had an abundance of chances and could have won by a much bigger margin.

Lee Grant, Stephen Warnock, Ryan Shotton, George Thorne, Craig Bryson and Ince all came into the starting line-up after being named as substitutes in Saturday's 1-0 friendly win at Northampton Town.

Another player to come into the side was Chris Martin, captain for the night, who started his first game of pre-season after overcoming a hamstring problem that forced him to miss the majority of Derby’s matches from February onwards last season.

In the glorious early-evening sunshine, Derby started strongly and could have taken the lead inside two minutes but, from Bryson’s pass, Ince saw his shot blocked from inside the area.

That early chance was a signal of intent for what was a strong and dominant display by Clement’s side.

Two long-distance strikes from Andreas Weimann and Bryson worked the gloves of home goalkeeper Lars-Oliver Huxsohl, while Ince saw a free-kick deflected over for a corner as the Rams applied the early pressure.

Weimann should have made Derby’s good play count just after the half-hour mark as he burst onto Ince’s throughball to advance clear on goal, but he drove his right-footed effort just wide for a goal kick.

Meppen grew into the game for a brief spell towards the end of the half with Kremer and Wigger both having long-range shots that got the home faithful off the edge of their seats, but Derby’s quality of play finally was finally rewarded as the side took the lead four minutes before the interval.

A quick passage of play saw Weimann burst clear on goal and, with Huxsohl quick off his line, the Austrian international squared to Ince, who had the simple task of rolling the ball into the empty net.

There was still time for Derby and Ince to go close to a second goal in the dying seconds of the half, but the summer signing from Hull City shot wide with the outside of his foot from around 10 yards out.

The former England Under 21 international could have added to his tally just after the break as well but a fine double save from substitute goalkeeper Benjamin Gommert prevented him scoring within the first 60 seconds of the half.

The shot-stopper, Meppen’s number one goalkeeper, also went on to make a good stop before the hour by tipping Shotton’s powerful header over from a corner as the one-way traffic continued.

Just after the hour, Clement made seven changes with Ssewankambo, Forsyth, Hanson, Keogh, Hughes, Russell and Bent all coming off the bench to get just under half an hour of match time under their belts.

Bryson and Hendrick were both denied with shots from the edge of the box by Gommert and Keogh had a goal ruled out following a superb breakaway, with the Republic of Ireland international deemed to have been in an offside position.

Bent had a shot blocked from Russell’s cut-back with ten minutes to go – but Derby did have to breathe a sigh of relief in the dying minutes as home skipper Wagner thundered a free-kick against the crossbar from the edge of the box, with Grant well beaten.

In the end though, Ince's goal was enough and Derby claimed a deserved victory.

Derby’s second game of the tour of Holland is against Dutch top flight side FC Utrecht on Friday (24th July, 3pm local time).

SV Meppen: Huxsohl, Jesgarzewski, Schnier, Wagner, Wigger, Kremer, Robben, Pini, Thomas, Posipal, Soffic.

Substitutes: Gommert, Ahillen, Maier, Suchanke, Sahan.

Derby County: Grant, Baird (Ssewankambo 61), Warnock (Forsyth 61), Pearce, Shotton (Keogh 61), Thorne (Hanson 61), Hendrick (Christie 75), Bryson (Sammon 84), Ince (Hughes 61), Weimann (Russell 61), Martin (Bent 61).

Substitutes Not Used: Carson, Mitchell.

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