Chris Martin relieved and delighted to get first Derby County goal in win over Leicester City
CHRIS Martin was relieved to get his first goal for Derby County – and delighted that it came in a winning cause.
Martin opened his Rams account in the fifth appearance of his loan spell from Norwich City.
The striker's 44th-minute effort ultimately proved decisive as Derby overcame East Midlands rivals Leicester City 2-1 at Pride Park Stadium on Saturday evening.
"It was nice to get my first goal and a bit of a relief after not scoring in a few games," said Martin.
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"I've passed up a few chances, had a few shots saved or blocked, and a 'phantom goal' ruled out for offside when it shouldn't have been at Cardiff.
"Adding all of those things up, I was starting to wonder when it would come.
"So I'm delighted to get that goal and more delighted that it contributed to a win against a good Leicester side."
Richard Keogh gave Derby an early lead and Martin slipped his marker to head home Craig Forsyth's left-wing cross just before the interval.
"Craig had a lot of time to put the cross in and the centre-half got sucked in towards the ball," said Martin.
"I just pulled off the back of him and, luckily, it found me.
"Great credit to Craig, it was a fantastic ball in and he planted it right on my head, so I didn't have too much to do, apart from just nod it back into the corner.
"It was massive for us to go in at half-time 2-0 up.
"It gave us a lift and perhaps hit their confidence going into the break, so it came at a good time."
Half-time substitute Jeff Schlupp pulled a goal back for Leicester in the 62nd minute but Derby held on to end a run of eight games without a win.
"It was a much-needed victory," said Martin, whose loan spell is set to be extended during the upcoming international break.
"Obviously, we hadn't won for a few games and it was a relief to finally get that win.
"We did it without probably playing as well as we have done over the past few weeks.
"But we managed to grind out a result.
"It's often the way and that's the beauty of the Championship.
"We've been so close in the few weeks I've been here and played some excellent stuff but not managed to get anything from the game.
"I thought we started brightly but I didn't think we played particularly well in the second half.
"However, we dug deep and managed to see it through."
Derby's central defensive partnership of Keogh and Jake Buxton had to cope with an aerial bombardment as the Foxes desperately pushed for an equaliser in the closing stages.
"The guys at the back were fantastic, as was everyone else, from back to front," Martin added. "We worked our socks off.
"We had to deal with a lot of aerial challenges and I thought we did it very well."
Leicester remain in the top-six, despite a run of only one win in nine outings themselves.
"Leicester are in a bit of a rut at the moment as well and I think they were just as nervous as we were and just as anxious to get a result," said Martin.
"That probably helped us, the fact that they were panicking to get a draw or a win.
"I think they are probably a better side than they showed against us.
"They were more direct than when I've seen them before this season.
"They've got some very good players and I'm sure they'll be up there challenging for a play-off place at the end of the season."