Wayne Rooney was left frustrated as Derby County fell to a late 1-0 loss at Cardiff City on Tuesday night in the Sky Bet Championship.

The Rams produced one of their most positive performances on the road in recent months at Cardiff City Stadium, but ultimately tasted defeat for the third league game in succession.

Derby enjoyed long spells of possession and pressure across the opening 45 minutes, which saw them advance into some good attacking areas, but it was Cardiff who came closet to scoring as they hit the woodwork early on with Tommy Doyle’s long-range effort thundering off the crossbar.

Rooney’s side came close just before the hour mark as Festy Ebosele’s right wing cross was headed goalwards by midfielder Ravel Morrison, but Alex Smithies tipped his effort onto the post and the Bluebirds managed to survive.

Cardiff the bar as the match entered the final ten minutes through Joe Ralls before they eventually broke the deadlock with five minutes remaining through substitute Uche Ikpeazu’s close-range finish from a right wring cross.

Derby were unable to claim a late equaliser and were left to rue a missed opportunity to close the gap on those above them, leaving them eight points adrift of Reading outside the bottom three.

Rooney believes his side need to be more ruthless in front of goal at key matches in games or, as was proved against the Bluebirds, those moments can prove to be costly.

Rooney told RamsTV after the final whistle: “It’s frustrating and a difficult result to take.

“We have to take our chances, we know that, and to come away with nothing is a tough one.

“This performance will stand the players in good stead for the future but when you play a certain way, you have to take your chances otherwise you get punished like we did tonight.

“I think we moved the ball well, created chances and good opportunities and we have to take them.

“We have to reward ourselves and score more goals. If we do that and score the first goal tonight then it can be a very comfortable game; but we didn’t and we’ve lost it.”

Derby were backed by over 1,000 supporters in South Wales and Rooney was full of praise for the travelling fans once again.

He has insisted his players will continue to fight and battle on the pitch to represent the club in the best way possible.

“The fans were great and have been excellent all season,” he said. “I want them to keep getting behind the lads and we’ll keep fighting.

“We’ll keep doing everything we can and give everything on the pitch. Hopefully we can end the season in a positive way, so I would say to them to keep getting behind the lads.

“We need to pick up as many points as we can and start turning some of these performances into good results.”

After back-to-back away matches, Derby will return to the familiar surroundings of Pride Park Stadium on Saturday when they host Barnsley (3pm kick-off).