Derby's winning run against United extended to 10 games...
DERBY 3 (Martin 20, Russell 22, Hughes 78), UNITED 1 (Pearce 45).
Derby: Grant, Smith, Forsyth, Bryson (Buxton 89), Keogh, Martin (Sammon 79), Ward (Bennett 68) , Russell, Eustace, Hughes. Subs. Deeney, Davies, Jacobs, Freeman.
United: Kenny, Peltier, Lees, Pearce, Warnock, Austin, Green (Poleon 62), Mowatt, Tonge (Diouf 76), McCormack, Hunt (Smith 62). Subs. Cairns, Byram, Murphy, Varney.
Referee: G Eltringham
Booked: Ward, Sammon (Derby), Mowatt (Leeds).
United manager Brian McDermott named an unchanged side for the trip to Pride Park to face Derby County after picking up three points in midweek against Bournemouth.
The game saw Steve McClaren take charge of the Rams for the first time and the home side had an early effort on goal. Following a defensive mix-up Lee Hughes tried chipping Paddy Kenny but his effort failed to dip and went over the bar.
Rudy Austin had United’s first real chance at goal in the 10th minute. Alex Mowatt played Stephen Warnock down the left and the full back crossed into the danger area. Lee Grant came for the cross but mistimed his catch and the ball fell to Austin at the back post but his shot flew over the bar.
Ross McCormack and Noel Hunt were once again partnered up front and the pair combined well with United’s first corner of the afternoon. McCormack took the corner kick and Hunt rose well in the box but couldn’t turn his headed attempt goalwards.
United had the better of the opening chances but it was the home side that took the lead in the 20th minute. Jamie Ward and Chris Martin played the ball well in the United defence to eventually leave Martin with just Kenny to beat. The forward put his foot through the ball and gave Kenny no chance.
Derby doubled their advantage just two minutes later when they attacked down the right hand side. Johnny Russell was the man who took the shot on and beat Kenny with a superb strike.
Following the home side's two goals in two minutes United began to settle back into the game. Half chances came the way of Mowatt and Micheal Tonge but United couldn't capitalise with Grant making some good saves.
Young United midfielder Mowatt was causing the home side problems and created a chance for McCormack with the half coming to a close. Mowatt beat three men and then crossed for the McCormack but the ball was just too far in front of the onrushing striker.
In the final minute of the half United pulled one back through Jason Pearce following a free kick on the right hand side. Mowatt whipped the ball in and after a short clearance Lee Peltier delivered the ball to the back post where Paul Green headed it across the box for Pearce to head home.
It was an open and end to end game during the first 15 minutes of the second period. Austin had United's best chance but good defending prevented his strike troubling the home goal. It was Derby's second goalscorer of the afternoon that had a chance for the home side when worked the space with Martin but but his shot went wide of the mark.
In the 62nd minute Brian McDermott freshened up his attacking options by introducing Matt Smith and Dominic Poleon in place of Hunt and Green.
United were the team looking more dangerous going forward with 20 minutes to go. A McCormack strike from distance looked to be troubling Grant after it took a wicked deflection but it bounced just wide of the post.
With United looking for the goal that would level the contest they were dealt a cruel blow when Hughes restored the home side's two-goal advantage. On 78 minutes the midfielder ran straight at the United defence and tricked his way through to send an unstoppable shot at goal.
Hughes' goal with 12 minutes to go proved to be enough to put seal on the result and keep their winning run going against United.