Derby ended a bad week with a 3-2 victory over Birmingham in a pulsating game at Pride Park.
Chris Martin scored one goal and created another for Martyn Waghorn before Birmingham hit back to level through Gary Gardner and Ivan Sunjic.
Blues striker Lukas Jutkiewicz then had a penalty saved by Kelle Roos before Jamie Paterson ran clear to open his account for the Rams and clinch a first home win of the season.
It had been a turbulent time for Derby, who left Tom Lawrence and Mason Bennett out of the squad after they were charged with drink-driving in the incident which left skipper Richard Keogh with a knee injury that has ended his season.
Club Statement. 👇— Derby County (@dcfcofficial) September 26, 2019
Curtis Davies made his first Championship appearance of the season in place of Keogh while Martin made his first Derby start since December 2017 and marked it with a goal in the second minute.
Birmingham lost the ball out on the right and Duane Holmes surged forward to cross for Martin to turn the ball through the legs of Maxime Colin and past the unsighted Lee Camp.
Derby escaped in the seventh minute when Roos dropped a cross but Jutkiewicz’s effort struck Scott Malone and after Martin shot just over, Dan Crowley fired straight at Roos.
Birmingham were having some good possession without really threatening and it was Derby who went close in the 34th minute when Martin played in Florian Jozefzoon on the left – but he shot wide.
Jozefzoon almost squeezed a Malone cross past Camp at the near post in the 41st minute as the home side ended the half strongly but Birmingham started the second well with Jutkiewicz close to heading in a cross.
But Derby scored again in the 50th minute when Marc Roberts slipped and Martin played in Waghorn, who finished low past Camp.
Birmingham had to respond quickly and they did with two goals in four minutes. Roos turned behind a Crowley shot in the 56th minute for a corner which Gardner back-headed in before Sunjic smashed in an equaliser.
Derby’s defence twice failed to clear and Sunjic found the top corner from 20 yards – but Birmingham then wasted a great chance to win the game.
Krystian Bielik tripped Alvaro Gimenez near the touchline in the 70th minute and a spot-klck was awarded – but Jutkiewicz’s effort was beaten out by Roos.
Derby took advantage when they broke five minutes later, with Jack Marriott sending Paterson through to score.
Birmingham pressed hard in the closing stages but in the end were left to rue that missed penalty.
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