AFTER eight winless games in which Derby County had played attractive football with no reward, it was a display of grit and determination that earned them a long-awaited victory against Leicester City at Pride Park on Saturday evening.
With the Rams having briefly slipped to 18th in the Championship due to results in the 3pm games and a downpour greeting the teams onto the pitch, a black cloud literally hung over Pride Park before kick-off.
But that was blown away by a battling performance which – due to the topsy-turvy nature of the league – saw the home side back into the top half of the division.
When Richard Keogh scores, Derby win – in the league at least – and so it was a good omen when the skipper nodded his team ahead in the 16th minute.
However, the Rams have taken the lead in their last two games without claiming all three points, and it felt as though a second goal was needed.
It arrived through Chris Martin, the impressive loan signing who has done everything but score since his arrival last month, as he converted an intelligent header to double the lead.
Leicester – who have now won just once in 10 games – improved after the break to pull a goal back through Jeff Schlupp, and threatened to deny their East Midlands rivals.
However, Nigel Clough’s side dug in and out-fought the Foxes to claim a victory which sends them into the international break in much better spirits.
For a full report, see Monday’s SPORTMAIL.