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SLIDESHOW: Derby County 4, Brighton 1 (Rams win 6-2 on aggregate)

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: May 11, 2014

  • Picture: Victoria Wilcox Derby County v Brighton at the iPro in the play-off semi-final

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DERBY County are on their way to Wembley after a comprehensive victory over Brighton & Hove Albion in their Championship play-off semi-final.

The Rams won 4-1 at the iPro Stadium to secure a 6-2 aggregate win.

Steve McClaren's men will now face either Queens Park Rangers or Wigan Athletic for a place in the Premier League.

Will Hughes, in for the injured Craig Bryson, scored after 34 minutes to settle any Derby nerves.

Top scorer Chris Martin added a second after the break, with George Thorne and Jeff Hendrick also on target.

The Seagulls pulled one back late on but the party had already started.

Derby made a steady start as they looked to maintain the lead they held from Thursday's first leg on the south coast.

And Steve McClaren's men had the better of the early exchanges.

After 17 minutes, Hughes, Martin and Hendrick combined to find Andre Wisdom on the right and the full-back cut inside before forcing Tomasz Kuszczak into a low save from 20 yards.

Six minutes later, Martin and Jamie Ward linked up to feed the advancing Craig Forsyth, whose first-time shot from the edge of the box brushed the side-netting.

Derby took the lead when Ward, on the left, laid back to Forsyth and his low cross was turned in neatly by England Under-21 international Hughes from 12 yards out.

It could have been two, in bizarre style, after 42 minutes, when Ward charged down Kuszczak's kick from a backpass and the ball looped narrowly over the bar.

Brighton's best chance of the half came in the 44th minute.

Rohan Ince's neat chip into the area found Leo Ulloa, who controlled the ball before seeing his shot from eight yards blocked well by Lee Grant.

Derby got their second goal after 56 minutes.

Johnny Russell's cross from the right was headed back across goal by Ward and Martin prodded home from six yards for his 25th goal of the season.

Martin might have had another on the hour but his 20-yarder was tipped around the post by the diving Kuszczak.

Brighton looked beaten and Keith Andrews' speculative effort was held by Grant.

Indeed, the Rams further extended their lead after 76 minutes.

Substitute Simon Dawkins saw his shot on the turn blocked but the ball dropped to Thorne, who fired a super volley into the bottom corner of the net from 20 yards.

Derby got their fourth goal of the evening three minutes from time.

Substitute Patrick Bamford cut the ball back from the right and Hendrick swept home from 12 yards.

There was still time for Brighton to grab a consolation goal, Kazenga LuaLua firing low past Grant from the edge of the area.

Then, deep into added time, with home fans started to pour on to the pitch, referee Craig Pawson blew for full-time.

DERBY COUNTY: Grant, Wisdom, Keogh, Buxton, Forsyth, Thorne, Hendrick, Hughes (Eustace, 84), J Ward (Dawkins, 67), Russell (Bamford, 78), Martin. Other subs: Legzdins (gk), Naylor, Whitbread, Sammon.

BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION: Kuszczak, Calderon, Greer (Chicksen, 24), Dunk, S Ward, Ince, Andrews, Orlandi (Mackail-Smith, 57), Buckley (LuaLua, 57), Lingard, Ulloa. Other subs: Brezovan (gk), March, Forster-Caskey, Agustien.

REFEREE: C Pawson (South Yorkshire).

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