DERBY COUNTY 1
SLAVIJA SARAJEVO 0
CRAIG Bryson, a midfielder with an eye for a goal as he showed last season, scored the only one of the game to give Derby County victory over Slavija Sarajevo last night in the second match of their tour of Austria.
Bryson struck just after the hour of the 1-0 win against the team from Bosnia & Herzegovina played at the home of UFC Jennersdorf, about 25 kilometres from Derby's training base.
Lee Grant also handed the Rams a boost with two weeks to go before the start of the Championship.
The club's number one goalkeeper made his first appearance of pre-season following knee surgery and played a full game.
Seeing him start was slightly surprising given Derby said he would not play on this trip and was targeting the friendly against Burton Albion on Tuesday night.
Farrend Rawson and Jamie Hanson formed a young centre-back pairing in front of Grant, and Cyrus Christie and Lee Naylor filled the full-back positions.
There was a strong look to the midfield trio – Bryson, John Eustace and Will Hughes – while Conor Sammon lead the attack.
Chris Martin, Jake Buxton, Craig Forsyth, Jamie Ward and Kelle Roos were not in the 18-man squad having played 90 minutes against Zenit St Petersburg on Tuedsay.
Richard Keogh and Jeff Hendrick were unused subs but injuries sidelined Simon Dawkins (thigh) and Mark O'Brien (ankle).
Grant was called into action in the opening minute when he had to move sharply to his near post to beat out a free kick from Radosavlevic.
Slavija then missed a golden opportunity to take the lead when Lambulic's pass put Nahovic clear on goal and he somehow managed to roll the ball wide.
Radosavlevic, Slavija's set-piece man, clearly fancied his chances from distance and another of his free kicks beat Grant and thudded against a post.
Slavija's bright start had put Derby on the back foot. They improved once they started to retain possession and they should have had a penalty when Rawson was impeded at a corner before Hughes' strike from 20 yards was tipped over by Lucic.
For a friendly, there was a very definite competitive edge to the game and a few unsavoury tackles.
There was a scare when Mason Bennett was bundled over the touchline and into the metal railings around the pitch but he picked himself up and continued.
Hughes and Johnny Russell also found themselves on the end of robust challenges.
Bryson's snap-shot was held by Lucic after neat build-up play by the Rams but the officials did not help matters with a number of baffling decisions.
Bennett's direct and strong style down the left gave Sarajevo problems and the youngster was scythed down by Nahovic, who collected a yellow card.
Naylor made his feelings felt about the tackle. The Slavija players responded by protesting noisily and for a moment the referee had a difficult situation on his hands before matters calmed down.
Little had been seen of Slavija as an attacking threat since the opening 20 minutes although Mitio saw his free kick gathered by Grant at the second attempt.
Derby's one change for the second half saw Kieron Freeman replace Christie at right-back and the unnecessary edge seen first half eased in the second, thankfully, and it was Derby who continued to threaten through Bennett, helped by the probing play of Hughes.
At the back, it was a great experience for Rawson and Hanson, products of the Academy.
Rawson won his headers and Hanson grew in confidence on the ball. Both completed 90 minutes.
Bennett was playing with great confidence, and Derby went ahead after 62 minutes when Bryson's low shot took a deflection to beat Lucic.
Sammon had two good chances from Bennett centres to increase Derby's lead and the Rams had control of the game.
Youngsters Ivan Calero, Alban Bunjaku and Max Lowe all got valuable minutes on the pitch as substitutes, and Bunjaku's low drive clipped the outside of a post minutes before full time.
DERBY COUNTY: Grant; Christie (Freeman, 46), Rawson, Hanson, Naylor; Hughes, Eustace (Bunjaku, 77), Bryson; Russell (Calero, 73), Sammon, Bennett (Lowe, 81). Other subs: Mitchell (gk), Hendrick, Keogh.
SLAVIJA SARAJEVO: Lucic; Sabanovic, Vejnovic, Lemez, Topovic, Mitio (Kartal, 59), Radosavlevic, Govedarica (Oglecevac, 56), Kokot, Nahovic, Lambulic (Prodamovic, 78).