Derby County 1-0 Coventry City

Callum Ball's late strike saw Derby County edge out Coventry City to claim a fourth consecutive Championship win.

The Sky Blues had the better of a lacklustre first half, Gary McSheffrey having an early shot parried and also blazing another effort over.

Jamie Ward twice tested City keeper Joe Murphy but the Rams improved after the interval and Ball, Paul Green and Jason Shackell all went close.

And Ball's 12-yard shot, after good work by Craig Bryson, earned victory.

Ball's third goal of the season was enough to defeat the league's bottom club, who remain the only team of all 92 in England's top four divisions still to win away this season.

But, while the hosts move up to seventh in the table on the back of a fifth win in a row in all competitions, they were second best in the first period.

Rams keeper Frank Fielding did well to keep out McSheffrey's effort and the striker then fired the ball over the bar when well placed just inside the area.

Carl Baker also headed into the side netting while the Rams offered very little.

But Derby were a different side after the break, Ball, Green and Shackell bringing the best out of Murphy, while the lively Ward fizzed a 25-yard free-kick narrowly wide.

Baker and Gary Deegan did shoot wide from distance for the visitors.

But Nigel Clough's Rams were looking the much more likely to break the deadlock and Ball struck the winner into the bottom corner after being teed up by Bryson.


Derby coach Andy Garner: "We were delighted to come in at half-time (on level terms.) We were struggling a bit, a couple of months ago we might have come in losing 1-0."

"We had to grind it out today but the pleasing thing is that if we have to roll up our sleeves, then we will do that."

Coventry manager Andy Thorn: "I didn't think there was anything between the teams and we acquitted ourselves well but I think it's evident we need someone who can put the ball in the net.

"If we had that killer instinct in front of goal we would be in the top 10."

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