Two goals from Cameron Cresswell and a rocket from Calum Macdonald ensured the Rams picked up all three points as they ran out 1-3 winners against Blackburn Rovers in Premier League 2 Division 1.
Cresswell notched his first of the game just before half time as he found the top corner from just inside the penalty area.
He extended the Rams’ lead minutes after the half time interval before Jack Vale pulled a goal back for Rovers.
However, Macdonald hit the goal of the night as he whipped a free kick into the top corner from 25 yards as the Rams’ title bid got back on track.
It was almost a dream start to the game for the Rams. Sven Karic sized up a free kick from 25 yards, curled the ball over the wall but his effort crashed against the crossbar.
The hosts grew into the game and had a number of opportunities to take the lead. John Buckley struck wide midway through the first half, whilst Josh Barnes had to be alert at his back post to deny Matty Platt from close range.
Five minutes before the break, and slightly against the run of play, the Rams took the lead through Cresswell.
He latched on to a through ball from Kyle McAlister and confidently fired into the top corner to give Derby County the lead at the break.
That lead was extended five minutes into the second half as Cresswell grabbed his second goal of the game. Aaron Eyoma crossed into the box and Cresswell headed home from close range to double the lead.
All looked comfortable for the Rams, however, on the hour mark, Blackburn Rovers managed to pull a goal back. Lewis Thompson’s deep cross found the head of Vale and he converted from close range.
Both sides had chances but the on 77 minutes, Macdonald put the game beyond doubt with a wonder strike into the top corner from 25 yards.
He lined up his effort and planted the ball beyond Andy Fisher in the Rovers goal to ensure the Rams secured all three points.