Goalkeeper David Marshall could not hide his disappointment at full time as Derby County were beaten 2-1 against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park.

The Rams went ahead midway through the first half as Tom Lawrence headed home his second goal of the season.

Derby looked the most likely to extend their lead with Patrick Roberts going close to doubling the advantage.

However, the Rams were undone before half time as Sam Gallagher headed home from a corner kick to level the scoreline at 1-1.

Derby continued to take the game to their hosts but, with the game wide open, Harvey Elliott managed to put Blackburn ahead on 66 minutes.

That was enough to seal all three points for Rovers as the Rams came away pointless, despite Nathan Byrne and Colin Kazim-Richards going close to equalising, leaving them four point above the Sky Bet Championship relegation places.

“We will find out how damaging a resut this is at the end of the season,” Marshall admitted, chatting to RamsTV after the game.

“It is such a disappointment to lose and especially from being 1-0 ahead. We came close at the end, hitting the post and having a penalty shout. It is just really disappointing.

“The game plan was going well, but we missed a few good chances to get the second goal and we conceded from a corner. The timing of that was disappointing.

“We have four massive games left and we just need to go again, starting with Preston on Tuesday night.

“The most important thing is for us to win on Tuesday at Preston. We know how big all the games are and we have two massive home games against Birmingham City and Sheffield Wednesday and we need to take advantage of them.

“First and foremost, we need to win and Tuesday and I am sure the league will look a lot better if we can do that."

There was a controversial moment in the final minute of additional time as substitute Festy Ebosele appeared to be fouled in the penalty area.

Referee Stephen Martin waved away the strong Derby protests but Marshall did not want to be drawn on the incident.

“I was quite some distance away,” he said. “Something that I won’t be doing over my career is moaning about the referees.

“We have 46 games to do what we need to do in this league and to stay in it and it won’t be at the sake of that. It will be decided in the next four games.

“If have enough quality to stay up, which I believe we do, I think we will do it.”

Just four games remain in the Sky Bet Championship for Derby this season.

It’s another quick turnaround as the Rams prepare for a trip to Preston North End on Tuesday night and Marshall knows how important a positive result would be.

“There is no denying it is a difficult time,” he admitted. “It is obviously a bit strange with the games in hand situation for Rotherham as well, so everyone knows where we are at.

“We are not a happy camp because we are losing games. We believe have enough in there in the dressing room and we have spells in games where we look as if we are going to go a few goals ahead in a game - and we need to make that happen.

“We need to keep believing. If we don’t then there is no point in trying.”