Substitute Patrick Bamford scored his first Derby County goal as the Rams recovered from the 4-1 mauling at Championship leaders Leicester City to squeeze past Brighton.

The on-loan Chelsea striker lit up a scrappy game, curling in a fine second-half shot to keep the hosts fourth.

Derby goalkeeper Lee Grant made a fine first-half save to deny Matthew Upson.

But although the visitors had the better of the few chances on offer, Bamford's class settled the game.

It was only the 10th goal the Seagulls had conceded in 13 away games and was a welcome relief to the home fans, whose side had lost three in a row in all competitions after an amazing run under manager Steve McClaren came to an end.

The Rams had the first chance of note after a dull opening 20 minutes when Jamie Ward cut in from the left wing and fired a 20-yard shot just wide.

Brighton's rare blank

Brighton's failure to find the net was only the second time in 15 matches they have failed to score.

But Brighton were having the bulk of possession and they finally threatened on 26 minutes when Upson's powerful header from Andrea Orlandi's corner forced a stunning reaction stop from Grant.

Derby, the Championship's top scorers, were struggling to breach the league's third best defence.

The pattern continued after the interval until the Rams made three changes, introducing Bamford, Jeff Hendrick and Conor Sammon.

Ward played a one-two with Bamford on the edge of the box with 14 minutes left and when the ball fell to the 20-year-old, he curled a left-foot shot past goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak.

Brighton responded with Leonardo Ulloa showing good strength to drive in a low shot that Grant did well to keep out, but that was as close as they came to an equaliser and defeat leaves them seventh, two points adrift of the play-offs.

Derby County manager Steve McClaren:

"Patrick showed great composure. There was no panic. We know he's got that quality and it needed a calm head in that situation.

"It's great when you have players who can change a game. It's not about 11 players - it's the squad, and we had 14 players who contributed to that win. In the modern game, it's absolutely vital because the game was going nowhere and we knew that at half-time.

"Jeff Hendrick came on, started in midfield and then went to right-back, which allowed Conor Sammon to come on so we could go to 4-2-4 and try and win the game, and Patrick produced that moment of quality to win it.

"It's a squad game. You need players who can come on and help change a game, and the squad won that game today, not the team."

Brighton boss Oscar Garcia said he did not select wantaway midfielder Liam Bridcutt because the player was not in the right state of mind to play:

"He said yesterday (Friday) he wasn't focused on the game 100 per cent. He was honest with us and, because of this, he didn't come with us.

"I had picked him to play today but he wasn't focused and in the next week, if nothing happens, I have to ask again. It's a problem between him and the club and they have to solve it as soon as possible.

"The best solution is as soon as possible because it would be better for the team, but these things happen in the transfer window.

"But I am not worried because the other players are fit enough and want to give 100 per cent for me and the club and I was proud of their performance today.

"We are looking to strengthen the squad and the club is working on a list of targets."

Lineup, Bookings (8) & Substitutions (6)

Derby County

  • 01 Grant
  • 33 Wisdom (Sammon - 73' )
  • 03 Forsyth Booked
  • 14 Eustace Booked
  • 06 Keogh
  • 25 Buxton Booked
  • 19 Hughes (Hendrick - 59' )
  • 04 Bryson
  • 09 Martin Booked
  • 10 Ward Booked
  • 32 Dawkins (Bamford - 60' )

Substitutes

  • 08 Hendrick
  • 18 Sammon
  • 20 Bennett
  • 26 Legzdins
  • 27 Whitbread
  • 35 Bamford
  • 38 Keane

Brighton & Hove Albion

  • 29 Kuszczak
  • 02 Bruno
  • 17 Ward
  • 38 Ince
  • 03 Greer Booked
  • 20 Upson
  • 21 D. López (Agustien - 82' )
  • 04 Andrews Booked
  • 19 Ulloa Booked
  • 18 Forster-Caskey (Obika - 79' )
  • 11 Orlandi (March - 68' )

Substitutes

  • 01 Brezovan
  • 05 Dunk
  • 10 Agustien
  • 14 Calderón
  • 15 Chicksen
  • 22 Obika
  • 27 March
Ref: Andy Haines
Att: 25,392

Match Stats

Shots

8 10

On target

2 2

Corners

3 3

Fouls

16 14

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Derby County 1, Brighton and Hove Albion 0.

90:00 +4:34 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Derby County 1, Brighton and Hove Albion 0.

90:00 +4:01 Booking

Booking Leonardo Ulloa (Brighton and Hove Albion) is shown the yellow card.

90:00 +3:52

Foul by Leonardo Ulloa (Brighton and Hove Albion).

90:00 +3:52

Jake Buxton (Derby County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:00 +3:03

Keith Andrews (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:00 +3:03

Foul by Conor Sammon (Derby County).

90:00 +0:53 Booking

Booking Jamie Ward (Derby County) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

90:00 +0:25

Bruno (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:00 +0:25

Foul by Jamie Ward (Derby County).

88:29 Booking

Booking Chris Martin (Derby County) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

88:03

Gordon Greer (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

88:03

Foul by Chris Martin (Derby County).

81:39 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Kemy Agustien replaces David López.

81:24

Solly March (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

81:24

Foul by Jeff Hendrick (Derby County).

79:42

Attempt missed. Keith Andrews (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Gordon Greer.

78:37 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Jonathan Obika replaces Jake Forster-Caskey.

78:24

Foul by Conor Sammon (Derby County).

78:24

Gordon Greer (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

77:09

Attempt saved. Leonardo Ulloa (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

77:06

Attempt blocked. Solly March (Brighton and Hove Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Rohan Ince.

76:44

Attempt saved. Jamie Ward (Derby County) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

75:06 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Derby County 1, Brighton and Hove Albion 0. Patrick Bamford (Derby County) left footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner.

73:25

Hand ball by John Eustace (Derby County).

72:51 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Derby County. Conor Sammon replaces Andre Wisdom because of an injury.

72:27

Attempt missed. Patrick Bamford (Derby County) left footed shot from outside the box is too high from a direct free kick.

71:31

Patrick Bamford (Derby County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

71:31

Foul by Rohan Ince (Brighton and Hove Albion).

67:16 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Brighton and Hove Albion. Solly March replaces Andrea Orlandi.

65:18

Attempt missed. David López (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the left.

64:41 Booking

Booking Craig Forsyth (Derby County) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

64:15

Foul by Craig Forsyth (Derby County).

64:15

Bruno (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

60:20

Attempt missed. Jake Forster-Caskey (Brighton and Hove Albion) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.

59:13 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Derby County. Patrick Bamford replaces Simon Dawkins.

58:57 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Derby County. Jeff Hendrick replaces Will Hughes.

56:11

Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Andre Wisdom.

56:09

Attempt blocked. Andrea Orlandi (Brighton and Hove Albion) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by David López with a cross.

54:50

Richard Keogh (Derby County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

54:50

Foul by Leonardo Ulloa (Brighton and Hove Albion).

53:46

Attempt missed. Keith Andrews (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from more than 35 yards is high and wide to the right.

52:49

Craig Bryson (Derby County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

52:49

Foul by Jake Forster-Caskey (Brighton and Hove Albion).

51:45

Jamie Ward (Derby County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

51:45

Foul by Leonardo Ulloa (Brighton and Hove Albion).

50:28

Simon Dawkins (Derby County) wins a free kick on the left wing.

50:28

Foul by Jake Forster-Caskey (Brighton and Hove Albion).

48:10

Will Hughes (Derby County) wins a free kick on the right wing.

48:10

Foul by Matthew Upson (Brighton and Hove Albion).

45:00

Second Half begins Derby County 0, Brighton and Hove Albion 0.

45:00 +3:01 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Derby County 0, Brighton and Hove Albion 0.

45:00 +2:29

Foul by Jamie Ward (Derby County).

45:00 +2:29

Matthew Upson (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

45:00 +1:57

Offside, Brighton and Hove Albion. Stephen Ward tries a through ball, but Jake Forster-Caskey is caught offside.

45:00 +0:24

Attempt missed. Chris Martin (Derby County) header from very close range misses to the right. Assisted by Craig Bryson with a cross following a corner.

45:00

Corner, Derby County. Conceded by Gordon Greer.

44:58

Attempt blocked. Simon Dawkins (Derby County) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Craig Forsyth.

43:54

Richard Keogh (Derby County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

43:54

Foul by Leonardo Ulloa (Brighton and Hove Albion).

41:45 Booking

Booking John Eustace (Derby County) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

41:25

Foul by John Eustace (Derby County).

41:25

Jake Forster-Caskey (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

39:38

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

38:48

Delay in match Leonardo Ulloa (Brighton and Hove Albion) because of an injury.

36:53

Foul by John Eustace (Derby County).

36:53

Andrea Orlandi (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick on the left wing.

35:38

Jake Buxton (Derby County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

35:38

Foul by Leonardo Ulloa (Brighton and Hove Albion).

35:01

Foul by Simon Dawkins (Derby County).

35:01

Bruno (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

33:54

Corner, Derby County. Conceded by Stephen Ward.

33:52

Attempt blocked. Jamie Ward (Derby County) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

33:16

Corner, Derby County. Conceded by Bruno.

30:53

Attempt blocked. Will Hughes (Derby County) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Jamie Ward.

29:21 Booking

Booking Keith Andrews (Brighton and Hove Albion) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

28:57

Simon Dawkins (Derby County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

28:57

Foul by Keith Andrews (Brighton and Hove Albion).

27:59

Attempt missed. Jake Forster-Caskey (Brighton and Hove Albion) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Leonardo Ulloa.

27:19 Booking

Booking Jake Buxton (Derby County) is shown the yellow card.

26:38

Foul by Andrea Orlandi (Brighton and Hove Albion).

26:38

Chris Martin (Derby County) wins a free kick on the right wing.

25:41

Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Lee Grant.

25:39

Attempt saved. Matthew Upson (Brighton and Hove Albion) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Andrea Orlandi with a cross.

25:12

Corner, Brighton and Hove Albion. Conceded by Jamie Ward.

24:41

Jake Forster-Caskey (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

24:41

Foul by Craig Forsyth (Derby County).

23:30

Offside, Brighton and Hove Albion. Stephen Ward tries a through ball, but Leonardo Ulloa is caught offside.

21:27

Attempt missed. Jamie Ward (Derby County) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Craig Bryson.

17:39

Andrea Orlandi (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

17:39

Foul by Craig Forsyth (Derby County).

17:03 Booking

Booking Gordon Greer (Brighton and Hove Albion) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

16:45

Foul by Gordon Greer (Brighton and Hove Albion).

16:45

Simon Dawkins (Derby County) wins a free kick on the left wing.

15:07

Foul by Rohan Ince (Brighton and Hove Albion).

15:07

Will Hughes (Derby County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

12:57

Jake Forster-Caskey (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

12:57

Foul by Jake Buxton (Derby County).

11:49

Jake Forster-Caskey (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick on the right wing.

11:49

Foul by John Eustace (Derby County).

6:51

Offside, Brighton and Hove Albion. Matthew Upson tries a through ball, but Leonardo Ulloa is caught offside.

4:50

Foul by Andrea Orlandi (Brighton and Hove Albion).

4:50

Jamie Ward (Derby County) wins a free kick on the right wing.

4:11

Stephen Ward (Brighton and Hove Albion) wins a free kick on the left wing.

4:11

Foul by Will Hughes (Derby County).

0:47

Attempt missed. Keith Andrews (Brighton and Hove Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Rohan Ince.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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