Striker Chris Martin was frustrated not to build on the good momentum built up over recent weeks as Derby County suffered only their second defeat in 12 games following a 3-2 defeat against Bristol City.
It was too little too late for the Rams as they missed the opportunity to move four points behind the Robins following the defeat at Ashton Gate.
Derby dominated the majority of the first half but found themselves 3-0 behind after the half time break following goals from Nahki Wells, Filip Benkovic and Famara Diedhiou.
The Rams did rally and pulled a goal back through Martyn Waghorn on the hour mark. Martin then struck following a good cross from Tom Lawrence to make it a nervy ending, however, time eventually ran out and they could not find a way back into the game.
“It is disappointing that we couldn’t keep the momentum from the previous away win at the weekend that we fought so brilliantly for,” Martin told RamsTV after the game.
“You saw the same sort of fight there at the end but it came too little to late tonight. I think there are some positives moving forward that we can continue if we can cut out those silly mistakes and the errors in set plays.
“We just spoke about it in the dressing room and we didn’t feel like they weren’t particularly better than us over the course of the 90 minutes but we conceded some poor goals.
“We have only got ourselves to blame because I felt that we were in control for most on the balance of play, but the balance of play doesn’t matter.
“It is what you do in the boxes – the desire to put it in one end and at the other end keep it out. That is simple and cliché, but we weren’t good enough at that tonight.”
Martin’s goal, his seventh in the league and eighth in all competitions this season, came on 82 minutes, ensuring the Rams had at least eight minutes to try to grab the equaliser.
They threw everything forward in a bid to find that illusive leveller but it wasn’t to be, however, Martin did praise the fighting spirit in the squad.
“We fought brilliantly, but it is frustrating when we show that intensity when we were 3-0 down,” he said.
“It is difficult to put our finger on exactly why because it felt like we played quite well, but it is just moments, a bit of concentration, set plays and balls into our box that we know we have to deal with in this league.
“It felt like we were going to go on and get an equaliser. I thought we were well on top in the game and they were hanging on towards the end but we were unable to put home that advantage of all the play.
“We will have to go away and analyse it and see exactly why, but the manager has just said that he can’t fault a lot of the football that we did play, it is just decided on those details and then those moments.”