Toothless Rams suffer defeat to Birmingham
Birmingham City 2
Hogan 31, Bela 81
Derby County 0
Derby County rued defensive errors as they fell to a 2-0 defeat at St Andrews on Friday night.
The Rams had sparks of hope throughout but lacked a cutting edge in the final third, whilst also looking shaky at the back all night with a lack of organisation evident for much of the game.
And while their start to the season has been better than many might have expected in tough circumstances at the club, this defeat will have disappointed boss Wayne Rooney given the hosts weren't themselves at their best.
A bright opening from the visitors saw Tom Lawrence's early drive from the edge of the penalty area gathered by City keeper Matija Sarkic.
Both sides saw plenty of possession without either goalkeeper being further troubled in the first half-an-hour, before the hosts took the lead with help from the Rams defence.
Lee Buchanan's square pass attempting to find Curtis Davies was misjudged and instead found City striker Lukas Jutkiewicz. His shot was well parried by Kelle Roos but when Jutkiewicz played the ball back across the six yard box, the Rams defence couldn't clear and Scott Hogan, who had glanced a header wide moments earlier, was this time able to turn the ball in at the back post.
Hogan then chipped wide of the target from 35 yards out when Roos' poor clearance had fallen straight to him, half-time arriving with the hosts deserving their lead.
The second-half produced little in the way of chances too for its opening third but Lawrence came close to an equaliser on 62 minutes when Louis Sibley's pull back found him on the edge of the penalty area and Sarkic had to push his shot away.
Sam Baldock's low shot was cleared by Harley Dean on 70 minutes as the Rams looked for a leveller, Buchanan's cross then having to be palmed away by Sarkic moments later.
But the hosts would double their lead on 81 minutes. A break forward saw the ball ricochet of Sibley as City charged into the final third, Jeremie Bela having plenty of space in which to receive on the left edge of the penalty area and fire low into the corner of the net.
That would be that, the Rams unable to find a way back in and the hosts having done enough to win the game without having created too many clear cut chances.