Two strikes either side of half-time from Wolverhampton Wanderers saw Derby County fall to a 2-0 defeat in their first home fixture of the 2017/18 Sky Bet Championship season.
Whilst Gary Rowett’s side edged the possession statistics, they were met by a military like Wolves side that were defensively superb, well-drilled as they counteracted everything that was thrown at them.
Going forward, Wolves enjoyed plenty of joy down the flanks and on 32 minutes, they broke the deadlock in a tight encounter through Barry Douglas, who thundered in a loose ball inside the area to break the deadlock.
Much like the game against Sunderland, the second-half saw Derby begin the second half strongly as they began to force John Ruddy into some early saves.
Johnny Russell had the best of them, but after Wolves continued to frustrate the hosts, they edged their way back on top.
Ivan Cavaleiro, the substitute, struck the decisive blow 15 minutes from time and extended his sides lead to two after he turned in Jota’s cut-back as Nuno Espirito’s side maintained their 100 per cent winning start to the new campaign.
Derby County: Carson, Wisdom, Keogh, Davies, Forsyth, Huddlestone, Johnson, Butterfield (Bryson, 62), Russell (Nugent, 62), Martin, Weimann (Anya, 71)
Substitutes not used: Mitchell, Anya, Baird, Pearce, Bennett
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Ruddy, Doherty, Douglas, Neves, Boly, Coady (C), Jota (Dicko, 86), Miranda, Enobakhare (Ronan, 80), Saiss, Bonatini (Cavaleiro, 65)
Substitutes not used: Norris, Bennett, Batth, Price
Attendance: 27,757 (3,124 away supporters)
Here comes the cliché, the first goal was vital in this game.
There was very little separating this game over the first half as chances came at a premium and both teams, defensively, looked solid in their respective formations – a 4-3-3 for Derby and a 3-4-3 for Wolves.
With that, the first goal was always going to be important and when it gave the visitors something to hold on to.
This is where Barry Douglas steps in as he slammed a low first-time shot into the bottom corner, via a slight deflection off Richard Keogh who was covering the far post.
After that, the visitors remained patient and stifled Derby, but in truth, they looked like the only side that was going to go on and add to the scoreline.
Johnny Russell caught the eye on the opening night at Sunderland and this time it was the man on the opposite flank.
Energy in the wings were clear from the start and Weimann was at the forefront of Derby’s pressure when out of possession.
The Austrian wideman simply did not stop running and put more than a shift in against his former loan-club as Derby attempted to break down a stubborn and well-drilled Wolves backline.
What’s To Come…
Still searching for their first win of the 2017/18 campaign, at the end of Saturday’s fixtures Derby find themselves in 18th place.
Rowett’s side will now have to turn their attention to Tuesday night and try and find an immediate response when they face Preston at Pride Park Stadium.
Under the new management of former Norwich City boss Alex Neil, Preston have experienced a bright start to their own season after backing their opening weekend win over Sheffield Wednesday with a hard-fought draw at Leeds United.