Nottingham Forest suffered defeat in the East Midlands derby as they were beaten 2-0 at Pride Park this afternoon.
A goal early in each half from Matej Vydra and David Nugent condemned The Reds to a loss against their local rivals as the home side took the derby-day spoils.
Mark Warburton made two changes to the side that beat Sheffield United before the international break as Joe Worrall and Tendayi Darikwa were replaced by Barrie McKay and Eric Lichaj with the latter making his first league start of the season.
Former Derby man Jamie Ward made the matchday squad for the first time in the current campaign as he took his place on the bench after recovering from a calf injury.
The home side made the perfect start to the contest as they took the lead with 24 seconds on the clock. Vydra, recalled to the side by Gary Rowett, ran all the way across the front of the Forest penalty area before lashing a powerful strike beyond Jordan Smith and into the corner of the net.
The Reds responded well to going behind with Daryl Murphy having two sights of goal. The Republic of Ireland striker tested Scott Carson with a low effort before he headed Eric Lichaj’s cross inches wide of the far post minutes later.
Vydra could have had his and Derby’s second goal of the game on 23 minutes. Forest struggled to clear a corner from inside their own penalty area and the Czech striker latched on to Richard Keogh’s cross but was denied by a terrific block from Lichaj.
Forest were seeing more of the ball and McKay had two opportunities to bring them level ten minutes before the break. The Scot lashed a shot against the post before an even better chance presented itself moments later. McKay raced on to a long ball over the top of the Derby back four and went one-on-one with Carson but the goalkeeper stood firm to deny the winger and deflect the shot behind.
Four minutes into the second half and Forest had another chance to restore parity. Some neat build-up play inside the penalty area saw Ben Osborn lay the ball across to Jason Cummings but he turned the ball over the bar from close range.
Warburton’s men were made to pay for their profligacy in front of goal as Derby doubled their lead soon after. Vydra raced through the middle of the park, played the ball through to Nugent and he slotted the ball past Smith’s outstretched hand and into the far corner.
It was an entertaining start to the second half with chances coming for both sides. Kieran Dowell and McKay both saw shots well saved by Carson while Tom Lawrence curled an effort well wide of the target at the other end.
Warburton made a double substitution on the hour mark with McKay and Dowell replaced by Ward and Zach Clough as The Reds sought to find a way back into the contest.
Smith had to be alert on 63 minutes to prevent Forest from falling further behind. After Cummings had brought down Johnny Russell on the right-hand side, Lawrence lashed a free-kick towards the top corner which The Reds’ keeper had to shovel over the crossbar.
Derby had a chance to make it a three-goal margin of victory with five minutes to play. Having worked some space inside the Forest penalty area, the home side moved the ball to Lawrence at the back post but his low drive was palmed away by Smith.
That was to be the final opportunity of the game for either side as Derby ran out 2-0 winners and Forest now look to bounce back at home to Burton Albion on Saturday.
Forest: Smith; Lichaj, Mancienne (c), Fox, Traore; Bridcutt, Dowell (Clough 60’); Cummings (Walker 74’), Osborn, McKay (Ward 60’); Murphy
Subs not used: Henderson, Darikwa, Bouchalakis, Worrall
Booking: Fox 67’
Derby: Carson; Wisdom, Keogh (c), Davies, Forsyth; Huddlestone, Ledley; Russell, Vydra (Thorne 70’), Lawrence; Nugent (Martin 80’)
Subs not used: Mitchell, Baird, Pearce, Winnall, Weimann
Goals: Vydra 1’, Nugent 50’
Referee: Andrew Madley
Attendance: 31,196 (3,145 away)