Derby earned their first victory since New Year's Day to move to within six points of the play-off zone after a comprehensive win over Huddersfield.

The Rams took the lead midway through the first half after Craig Bryson found the net from close range.

Derby extended their lead when Gareth Roberts's cross was volleyed into the top corner of the net by Jamie Ward.

And just before the hour Derby got their third after Richard Keogh headed home Ward's free kick.

The result means Huddersfield are five points above the drop zone, while Derby closed the gap on sixth-placed Middlesbrough, who were beaten at Ipswich.

Derby dominated the first half, creating a handful of chances and thoroughly deserved their 2-0 lead at the interval.

Huddersfield goalkeeper Alex Smithies pushed Ward's 25-yard free-kick over the crossbar early on, before James Vaughan burst into the box and curled a shot narrowly wide for the visitors.

Conor Sammon's curler just missed the target before Bryson unleashed a 25-yard drive that marginally cleared the bar.

But the Rams soon made the breakthrough and following a driving run down the right, Paul Coutts crossed the ball into the six-yard box where Bryson was on hand to tap in.

Soon after Derby extended their lead when Roberts's cross was hit home by Ward.

John Brayford burst forward from right-back and almost scored a third goal but his effort went just wide.

The second half was relatively quiet, especially after the Rams scored their third goal and embarked upon long periods of keep-ball.

Keogh headed home Ward's free-kick following Calum Woods's foul on Coutts. Huddersfield nearly pulled a goal back soon after when Vaughan volleyed wide.

But Derby were still creating chances and Ward saw a goal-bound effort blocked before Smithies denied Sammon with 15 minutes remaining.

Roberts worried the Town keeper late on with another long-range effort but the left-back's shot whistled over the bar.

Derby coach Andy Garner said:

"We were outstanding from the first minute to the last and everybody was on top of their game out there. There's no reason why we can't make the top six.

"It's a very good squad in terms of effort and honesty and when we are on it, we are as good as anything in this division.

"We scored three excellent goals and it was a magnificent finish from Jamie Ward. He's getting back to full fitness, three weeks ago he couldn't even lift his leg that high.

"It was a very good all-round performance from him because he also brought other players into the game."

Huddersfield caretaker boss Mark Lillis said:

"Derby played very well and all credit to Nigel (Clough), he's doing well and they looked like a top six team.

"It's been a tough week for us and we caught them on a good day and they deserved the win.

"But there's no lack of application or commitment on the pitch and I am proud of the players."

Lineup, Bookings (3) & Substitutions (6)

Derby County

  • 13 Legzdins
  • 02 Brayford Booked
  • 03 Roberts (Freeman - 86' )
  • 06 Keogh
  • 15 O'Brien Booked
  • 04 Bryson
  • 07 Coutts
  • 08 Hendrick
  • 19 Hughes (Jacobs - 88' )
  • 10 Ward (Robinson - 81' )
  • 32 Sammon

Substitutes

  • 01 Fielding
  • 16 O'Connor
  • 23 Freeman
  • 12 Jacobs
  • 18 Davies
  • 11 Robinson
  • 14 Doyle

Huddersfield Town

  • 01 Smithies
  • 02 Woods Booked
  • 05 P Clarke (Wallace - 46' )
  • 06 Gerrard
  • 32 Hunt
  • 04 Norwood (Lee - 77' )
  • 08 Clayton
  • 16 Arfield
  • 20 Danns
  • 09 Novak (Scannell - 54' )
  • 18 Vaughan

Substitutes

  • 13 Bennett
  • 03 Dixon
  • 15 Wallace
  • 10 Gobern
  • 39 Sinnott
  • 07 Scannell
  • 19 Lee
Ref: Stroud
Att: 21,561

Match Stats

Shots

21 9

On target

10 2

Corners

9 4

Fouls

13 11

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +3:10 Full time

Full Time The referee blows for the end of the match.

90:00 +2:36

Sean Scannell takes a shot. Richard Keogh gets a block in. Close range shot by Adam Clayton goes over the bar.

90:00 +0:30

Jack Hunt takes the free kick.

90:00 +0:30 Booking

Booking Caution for Mark O'Brien.

90:00 +0:22

Mark O'Brien gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Sean Scannell.

89:35

Foul by Anthony Gerrard on Theo Robinson, free kick awarded. Craig Bryson takes the free kick.

88:33

Adam Clayton crosses the ball, Adam Legzdins makes a comfortable save.

87:57 Substitution

Substitution Will Hughes leaves the field to be replaced by Michael Jacobs.

86:49

Foul by Scott Arfield on Paul Coutts, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by John Brayford.

85:45

Direct free kick taken by Craig Bryson.

85:45 Substitution

Substitution (Derby) makes a substitution, with Kieron Freeman coming on for Gareth Roberts.

85:45

Foul by James Vaughan on Jeff Hendrick, free kick awarded.

81:56

Paul Coutts takes a inswinging corner to the near post, Adam Clayton makes a clearance. Paul Coutts decides to take a short corner. Jeff Hendrick produces a right-footed shot from just outside the box that goes wide right of the target.

80:20 Substitution

Substitution Theo Robinson is brought on as a substitute for Jamie Ward.

80:20

Effort on goal by Gareth Roberts from outside the box goes harmlessly over the bar.

78:19

Shot from outside the penalty box by Jeff Hendrick goes wide right of the goal.

76:43 Substitution

Substitution (Huddersfield) makes a substitution, with Alan Lee coming on for Oliver Norwood.

76:13

Corner taken right-footed by Jamie Ward, save by Alex Smithies.

75:08

Inswinging corner taken by Paul Coutts. Paul Coutts delivers the ball, Jack Hunt manages to make a clearance.

74:38

John Brayford crosses the ball.

73:26

Conor Sammon takes a shot. Save by Alex Smithies.

71:24

John Brayford challenges James Vaughan unfairly and gives away a free kick. Oliver Norwood restarts play with the free kick.

70:26

Jamie Ward takes a shot. Blocked by Anthony Gerrard.

66:35

Centre by John Brayford.

65:14

Jack Hunt crosses the ball, John Brayford makes a clearance. Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Oliver Norwood from the left by-line, James Vaughan gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Richard Keogh. Direct free kick taken by Adam Legzdins.

64:14

James Vaughan concedes a free kick for a foul on Gareth Roberts. Direct free kick taken by Mark O'Brien.

63:09

Murray Wallace produces a header from deep inside the six-yard box that clears the crossbar.

62:36

Will Hughes gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Adam Clayton. Adam Clayton restarts play with the free kick.

61:40

Effort on goal by James Vaughan from just inside the area clears the crossbar.

60:58

Oliver Norwood takes the free kick.

60:58 Booking

Booking John Brayford is given a yellow card.

60:47

John Brayford gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Sean Scannell.

60:09

Calum Woods produces a cross, save by Adam Legzdins.

58:15

The assist for the goal came from Jamie Ward.

58:15 Goal scored

Goal! - Richard Keogh - Derby 3 - 0 Huddersfld Richard Keogh grabs a headed goal from close range. Derby 3-0 Huddersfield.

57:27

Direct free kick taken by Jamie Ward.

57:27 Booking

Booking The referee cautions Calum Woods for unsporting behaviour.

57:13

Foul by Calum Woods on Paul Coutts, free kick awarded.

56:22

Sean Scannell produces a cross. The referee blows for offside against James Vaughan. Adam Legzdins takes the indirect free kick.

56:01

Paul Coutts gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Calum Woods. Direct free kick taken by Oliver Norwood.

54:40

Jamie Ward takes a shot. Blocked by Anthony Gerrard. Paul Coutts takes a shot from just outside the penalty area which clears the crossbar.

53:22

Free kick taken by Jack Hunt.

53:22 Substitution

Substitution Sean Scannell on for Lee Novak.

53:22

Paul Coutts gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jack Hunt.

51:52

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on James Vaughan by Gareth Roberts. Direct free kick taken by Oliver Norwood.

50:31

The ball is swung over by Oliver Norwood, Gareth Roberts makes a clearance.

49:59

Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Oliver Norwood from the right by-line to the near post, Paul Coutts makes a clearance.

47:22

Oliver Norwood takes a outswinging corner to the near post, Effort from inside the area by Murray Wallace misses to the right of the goal.

46:41

Mark O'Brien gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on James Vaughan. Oliver Norwood restarts play with the free kick.

45:01

The second half begins.

45:01 Substitution

Substitution (Huddersfield) makes a substitution, with Murray Wallace coming on for Peter Clarke.

45:00 +3:01 Half time

Half Time The half-time whistle blows.

45:00 +2:09

The referee blows for offside. Alex Smithies restarts play with the free kick.

45:00 +0:44

Anthony Gerrard challenges Conor Sammon unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Paul Coutts.

40:38

Corner taken right-footed by Oliver Norwood from the right by-line, Jeff Hendrick makes a clearance. Peter Clarke takes a shot. Save made by Adam Legzdins.

37:55

John Brayford takes a shot. Anthony Gerrard gets a block in.

37:11

Jeff Hendrick takes a shot. Anthony Gerrard gets a block in. Corner taken by Paul Coutts, Anthony Gerrard manages to make a clearance.

35:28

Neil Danns produces a cross.

34:11

John Brayford takes a shot. Calum Woods gets a block in. Effort on goal by John Brayford from just inside the penalty area goes over the target.

33:23

The ball is delivered by Gareth Roberts,

32:58

Assist on the goal came from Gareth Roberts.

32:58 Goal scored

Goal! - Jamie Ward - Derby 2 - 0 Huddersfld Goal scored by Jamie Ward from deep inside the penalty area to the top left corner of the goal. Derby 2-0 Huddersfield.

32:31

Scott Arfield concedes a free kick for a foul on Jamie Ward. Direct free kick taken by Jamie Ward.

31:45

Corner from the left by-line taken by Jamie Ward, clearance by Peter Clarke.

29:01

Conor Sammon takes a shot. Blocked by Peter Clarke.

28:20

Effort on goal by Adam Clayton from outside the penalty box goes harmlessly over the bar.

27:05

Free kick awarded for a foul by Mark O'Brien on Adam Clayton. Adam Clayton takes the direct free kick.

25:49

Unfair challenge on Gareth Roberts by James Vaughan results in a free kick. Mark O'Brien takes the free kick.

24:53

Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Jamie Ward from the left by-line, Adam Clayton manages to make a clearance.

23:50

The ball is crossed by Paul Coutts,

23:19

The assist for the goal came from Paul Coutts.

23:19 Goal scored

Goal! - Craig Bryson - Derby 1 - 0 Huddersfld Craig Bryson gets on the score sheet with a goal from inside the six-yard box low into the middle of the goal. Derby 1-0 Huddersfield.

22:15

Shot from just outside the box by Craig Bryson misses to the right of the goal.

19:05

Unfair challenge on Jeff Hendrick by Neil Danns results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Mark O'Brien.

18:24

Conor Sammon has an effort at goal from the edge of the box that misses to the right of the target.

14:56

Craig Bryson concedes a free kick for a foul on Jack Hunt. Alex Smithies takes the free kick.

14:02

Will Hughes crosses the ball, Jeff Hendrick produces a right-footed shot from deep inside the penalty box which goes wide of the right-hand upright.

11:46

Foul by Craig Bryson on Scott Arfield, free kick awarded. Oliver Norwood shoots direct from the free kick.

8:20

Jeff Hendrick takes a shot. Comfortable save by Alex Smithies.

8:07

The ball is crossed by Paul Coutts, Calum Woods makes a clearance.

6:51

Jack Hunt crosses the ball, Richard Keogh makes a clearance.

5:59

Foul by Will Hughes on Anthony Gerrard, free kick awarded. Oliver Norwood takes the free kick.

5:32

James Vaughan has an effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the right of the goal.

4:38

Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Jamie Ward from the left by-line to the near post, Jack Hunt makes a clearance.

3:37

Corner taken right-footed by Jamie Ward, Peter Clarke makes a clearance.

2:33

Oliver Norwood concedes a free kick for a foul on Will Hughes. Strike on goal comes in from Jamie Ward from the free kick, Alex Smithies makes a brilliant save.

2:07

Jamie Ward takes a shot. Alex Smithies makes a comfortable save.

0:33

Free kick awarded for a foul by Will Hughes on Scott Arfield. Direct free kick taken by Scott Arfield.

0:00

The game kicks-off.

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