Derby County end barren run with victory over Leicester City
DERBY County ended their eight-game winless run with a 2-1 victory over East Midlands rivals Leicester City at Pride Park Stadium.
First-half goals from skipper Richard Keogh and on-loan striker Chris Martin put the Rams in the driving seat on Saturday.
Substitute Jeff Schlupp pulled one back for the promotion-chasing Foxes after the break but the home side held on for a much-needed three points.
Rams boss Nigel Clough made four changes to his following last weekend's 3-1 defeat at Birmingham.
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Goalkeeper Frank Fielding was handed his first outing since early October in place of Adam Legzdins, while top scorer Jamie Ward, reigning player of the year Craig Bryson and Kieron Freeman all returned from injury.
Gareth Roberts was ruled out after picking up a knock in training, so Craig Forsyth moved to left-back, with Ben Davies and Valentin Gjokaj dropping to the bench.
Derby opened the scoring in the 14th minute.
Ward delivered a teasing free kick from the left and Keogh rose well to head past Kasper Schmeichel from six yards.
The lead was doubled just before the break.
This time, it was Forsyth who provided a cross from the left, which was headed in by the unmarked Martin.
Leicester halved the deficit in the 62nd minute.
Ben Marshall's cross from the right was held up by David Nugent and he laid the ball back for Schlupp to smash home first-time from 12 yards, giving Fielding no chance.
Nugent had a chance to level moments later but fired straight at the Derby keeper.
The Foxes piled on the pressure towards the end but the Rams, led by Keogh and Jake Buxton, stood firm.
DERBY COUNTY: Fielding, Freeman, Keogh, Buxton, Forsyth, Coutts, Hendrick, Bryson, Ward (Davies, 62), Martin, Sammon. Other subs: Legzdins (gk), Gjokaj, Hoganson, Jacobs, Doyle, Bennett.
LEICESTER CITY: Schmeichel, St Ledger, Morgan, Keane, Konchesky, Wellens (Schlupp, 46), Drinkwater, King, Nugent, Wood (Kane, 69), Dyer (Marshall, 57). Other subs: Logan (gk), Whitbread, Vardy, Waghorn.
REFEREE: K Stroud (Hampshire).
ATTENDANCE: 23,123 (1,901 away fans).