A goal in each half saw Derby County claim their second successive home victory with a 2-0 win over Huddersfield Town.
Chris Martin notched his third goal in four games to take his tally for the season to 12 with a header from Cyrus Christie’s cross after weathering a strong spell of pressure from the Terriers in the first half.
The second half was a much more even affair and Johnny Russell put the seal of approval on the result with a fine curling effort from the edge of the area to secure all three points at the iPro Stadium.
Two chances inside the space of a minute was an indicator of how open the contest began at the iPro Stadium as Huddersfield resisted sitting back and soaking up the pressure, but instead opted to take the game to the Rams.
Harry Bunn, scorer for the Terriers in the reverse fixture, would have opened the scoring but for a last-ditch block after a defensive mistake allowed the ball to slide into his path, before Wassall’s side raced up the other end to create a chance of equal measure.
Tom Ince, restored to the starting XI, did the hard work down the left side before cutting the ball into the path of Nick Blackman, who scuffed a first time effort well wide of Jed Steer’s goal.
David Wagner’s side continued to work in the Terrier like fashion that he demanded ahead of the game, complementing it with a lovely style of play as they controlled the early stages.
Richard Keogh, the Derby Captain, breathed a sigh of relief as he scooped a right wing cross just over his own crossbar and Jamie Paterson flashed a low drive wide from range after dispossessing Jeff Hendrick in the middle of the park.
After Nahki Wells curled another opportunity, Joe Lolley showed quick feet and mesmerising balance to keep the ball off a number of Derby challengers, before shooting narrowly wide of Carson’s near post.
As a storm passed over Derbyshire, the Rams established more of a foothold in the game, boasting longer spells of possession and with it came more openings.
Blackman lashed an effort wide of Steer’s left side post, before the woodwork came to the visitors’ rescue after Ince’s deflected effort struck the foot of the far post and bounced away from danger.
It only proved to be a slight reprieve, however, as Wassall’s side eventually made the breakthrough shortly after the half hour mark as Martin netted his third goal in four games after rising highest to convert Christie’s pinpoint cross.
Huddersfield continued to push and probe as Paterson saw one firm attempt palmed away by Carson, before scooping another wide of goal after the ball dropped to him six-yards out a minute after the restart.
Huddersfield started the second half impressively as Tommy Smith, surging forward from right back, forced Carson into a save with a cross shot, but again, Wassall’s remained resolute to keep their vibrant visitors at arm’s length.
Shortly after the hour, both Ince and Martin had the chance to double the home side’s advantage. The former, tamely, shot straight into the arms of Steer, whilst the latter forced the Aston Villa loanee into another save at his near post.
After a couple of changes, Derby were much more comfortable and looked the more likely to add to the scoreline.
Ince fizzed a right footed effort narrowly over, before Derby did make it two as Russell curled a delightful shot from the edge of the area beyond the reach of Steer and into the far corner of the ‘keeper’s goal.
From there, Derby comfortably saw out the game at the iPro Stadium to extend their long unbeaten run over Huddersfield and in turn, secured their third win in four outings to keep chase with the second tier’s leading pack.
Derby County: Carson, Christie, Keogh (C), Shackell, Olsson; Hanson (Thorne, 77), Hendrick, Butterfield (Bryson, 64); Ince, Blackman (Russell, 63), Martin
Substitutes not used: Grant, Buxton, Bent, Weimann
Huddersfield Town: Steer, Smith, Whitehead, Hudson (C), Paterson (Bojaj, 90), Cranie, Husband, Bunn (Matmour, 64), Lolley (Manu, 77), Wells, Dempsey
Substitutes not used: Allinson, Davidson, Miller, Holmes
Attendance: 29,698 (1,212 Huddersfield supporters)Tweets by @ dcfcofficial