Reaction: Derby County boss Nigel Clough takes heart from 'spirited' display at Brighton
NIGEL Clough felt his Derby County side produced a "spirited" performance in defeat against Brighton & Hove Albion.
The Rams went down 2-1 at the Amex Stadium.
Ashley Barnes opened the scoring inside 90 seconds and Andrea Orlandi added a second after 25 minutes.
The visitors rallied, though, and Jeff Hendrick pulled one back 20 minutes from time.
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"It was a strange game because we never felt we were out of it at 2-0," said Derby boss Clough.
"We thought if we could get one back, they might get a little bit nervous - and then you just need something to drop for you in the penalty area.
"It didn't quite happen for us but it was a very spirited effort.
"It was one of those where it could have gone three, four or five nil but it didn't - it finished 2-1 with them hanging on at the end."
Clough added: "In the first 45 minutes, they had two shots and scored two goals, so they weren't exactly peppering us with chances.
"But our final ball wasn't quite up to scratch, whether it be from set plays or open play, so that was a disappointment.
"But once we got a goal back, the game changed."