Nottingham Forest fell to a 94th minute goal as Derby claimed all three points in a feisty encounter at Pride Park.
Marcus Tudgay was sent off late on before substitute Jake Buxton scored deep into injury time.
The first chance of the game fell to Luke Chambers, who headed a few feet over from a deep Andy Reid free-kick.
The possession was largely dominated by the hosts in the first period, and they enjoyed a number of corners in the opening stages, with the delivery of midfielder Ben Davies a constant threat.
On 10 minutes it was Davies again who threatened - this time from a free kick, which flashed low through a group of players but was parried away by Forest keeper Lee Camp.
Davies' namesake Steven picked up the first yellow card of the game a minute later for a rash challenge from behind on Reid.
However three minutes later Adlene Guedioura earned himself a caution as he cynically tripped Rams winger Nathan Tyson.
Referee Andy D'Urso brandished another yellow card just two minutes later, this time for Guy Moussi, who pulled back Craig Bryson on the half-way line.
Bryson almost brought the first goal of the game on 22 minutes, but he could not direct his header on target.
The hosts pressed in the following minutes, but could not make it count.
On 23 minutes a Ben Davies corner was half-cleared, and as it was headed back into the area Tyson could not get a touch to divert it past Camp.
Tyson had another good chance four minutes later, as a Guedioura pass went awry he found himself in space but could not pull the trigger quick enough.
Derby again threatened on 34 minutes, after a Paul Green cross was met with a deft touch from Steven Davies, but it went just wide of Lee Camp's right-hand post.
Davies had another chance eight minutes later, but his shot from 25 yards did not trouble Camp, ho watched it sail over his bar.
Forest's best chance of the first half came from the resulting goal kick, as Camp's long clearance was not dealt with by Jason Shackell, which allowed Marcus Tudgay to nip in, but he rushed his shot, which went well over from 20 yards.
The visitors had another chance two minutes after this, but again Chambers could not direct his header on target.
The hosts had the final chance of a largely uneventful first half, but Ben Davies dragged a shot wide after a pull-back from Tyson.
The second half saw the game become livelier, and the first chance of the half fell to Forest. A deep cross from Greg Cunningham was punched away by Frank Fielding, but the ball fell Guy Moussi, whose shot was blocked past Fielding's right-hand post.
On 57 minutes Forest brought on Jonathan Greening for Adlene Guedioura, but it was the Rams who dominated after this point.
Tyson went close on 59 minutes after he cut in from the right and flashed a shot wide of Camp's near post.
Five minutes later Tudgay went in the book for a foul on Ben Davies, and it was Davies who then caused the game to spring into life, after his cross from deep evaded everyone in the box and Camp had to make a superb reaction save to claw the ball away.
The simmering game then boiled over, as Joel Lynch lay injured the home side carried on play, and a series of hard challenges ended in a minor melee, in which Blackstock got booked for his reaction.
On 71 minutes a cross from the left was met by Tudgay, who clashed with Derby captain Shaun Barker, resulting in Barker receiving lengthy treatment.
Barker was replaced by Jake Buxton, and Ishmael Miller came on for Dexter Blackstock.
Following this break in play Tudgay again went close, but his flicked header from Reid's cross went just wide.
The last ten minutes saw continued pressure from the Rams, who had a shot cleared off the line by Andy Reid on 82 minutes, and Camp made an excellent point blank save from Jason Shackell in a penalty box scramble a minute later.
On 90 minutes Forest were reduced to ten men, when Tudgay made a robust challenge on Bryson, he received his second booking of the evening.
From this Derby capitalised four minutes later, when Ben Davies once again swung a free-kick in from deep, the ball was not cleared and the substitute Buxton headed into the bottom right corner.
Forest could not find a response in the closing stages as they left Pride Park empty handed.
Nottingham Forest: Camp, Gunter, Lynch, Chambers(C), Cunningham, McCleary, Moussi, Guedioura(Greening 57min), Reid(Wootton, 90+1min), Blackstock,(Miller 77min) Tudgay
Subs not used: Smith, McGugan,
Bookings: Guedioura 14min, Moussi 19min, Tudgay 64min,90min RED CARD Blackstock 64min
Derby County: Fielding, Green, Barker(Buxton76min) Shackell, Roberts, Tyson, Hendrick, Bryson, B. Davies, Robinson, S. Davies(Ball 90+6min)
Subs not used: Legzdins(GK), Bailey, Carroll
Bookings: S.Davies 11min, Roberts 90+7min)
Scorer: Buxton 90+4min
Referee: Andy D'Urso
Attendance: 33,010 Away attn:4,215