Two second half goal saw Derby County round off their pre-season preparations with a well-earned 2-0 win over Karlsruher SC in Germany.
Defensively at their resolute best over the first 45 minutes, the Rams showed far more composure in possession in the second half and were rewarded with two goals and a clean sheet.
Andreas Weimann opened the scoring 10 minutes after the interval, before in form Darren Bent rounded off the scoring with a headed finish – his third goal in three outings.
It proved to be another strong and positive run out for the side ahead of their 2016/17 Sky Bet Championship opener against Brighton & Hove Albion at the iPro Stadium on Saturday 6 August, kick-off: 3pm.
On a humid afternoon in southwest Germany, the home side were much the better over the first 45 minutes and controlled larger spells of possession as Derby did their best to chase and press their 2. Bundesliga opponents.
With the prolonged spells of possession, however, Karlsruher also looked a threat and the most likely to break the deadlock.
Scott Carson was in fine form for Nigel Pearson’s side as he back pedalled to turn over a Moritz Stoppelkamp effort from range, whilst the same man also saw another low effort deflected around the wrong side of the post for another corner.
Richard Keogh, wearing the Captain’s armband, marshalled a well organised and drilled defence well and blocked a couple of Yann Rolim efforts on the edge of his own area.
Towards the end of the half Tomas Oral’s eye-catching side had two further chances – one from Rolim who was denied by Carson, before David Kinsomi saw a deflected effort loop agonisingly wide of the far post and for another corner.
With all that, though, Derby had two half chances. The first was borne from rash goalkeeping from Rene Vollath as he raced out of his net to clear a high ball, before he retreated to gather Andreas Weimann’s effort.
The other opportunity fell to Tom Ince after a loose ball broke into his path, but he Karlsruher regrouped to throw a body in the way of his shot from the edge of the box.
Pearson’s side, though, returned for the second half displaying more confidence in possession as they began the early stages on the front foot.
Ince and Nick Blackman both had early openings, the latter of which forced Orlishausen into a save at his near post.
From the resulting corner, Derby scored. Ince whipped the ball into the area and after Jason Shackell’s attempt had been blocked, Weimann was in the right place to slam the loose ball into the back of the net.
After showing their resilience at the back, the Rams then added a second. Will Hughes, the substitute, won the ball back in midfield and hooked a long ball forward for Bent to run on to.
Out came the ‘keeper, but after misjudging the flight of the ball, Bent arched his neck to direct a header into the unguarded goal for the crucial second.
The visitors could have finished with a third goal too after pinching back possession midway inside Karlsruher’s half. Johnny Russell was played down the left and after he cut the ball back into the centre, Bradley Johnson could only smash his effort over the crossbar.
That took no shine off what proved to be a fine performance for Derby as they warmed up for their opening day meeting with Brighton with a fourth straight victory.
Karlsruher SC: Vollath, Stoll, Kom, Stoppelkamp, Hoffer, Barry, Kinsomi, Sallahi, Valentini, Rolim, Hoffmann
Substitutes: Orlishausen, Stritze, Yamada, Mehlem, Torres, Krebs, Thoelke, Fahrenholz, Bader, Sverko, Maigaer
Derby County: Carson, Christie (Baird, 65), Keogh, Shackell (Pearce, 65), Forsyth (Lowe, 78); Blackman, Bryson (Hughes, 65), Hendrick (Johnson, 65), Weimann (Russell, 65); Ince (Martin, 65), Bent
Substitutes not used: Grant
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