Match ends, Derby County 1, Preston North End 0.
Matej Vydra's penalty was enough to beat Preston and earn Derby County a first Championship win of the season.
The Rams created the better chances, but had to endure a nervy final few minutes as the away side pressed and almost equalised through Alan Browne.
Derby could easily have been more than a goal ahead by that stage, with Andreas Weimann, David Nugent and Vydra going close.
But Vydra's spot-kick - which just eluded Chris Maxwell - proved enough.
The decisive moment came after Greg Cunningham tugged back Curtis Davies, bringing relief to manager Gary Rowett and the Pride Park crowd after numerous missed chances.
Weimann twice sent curling efforts narrowly wide before the break, Vydra headed over and Darnell Fisher also made two goal-saving blocks before Vydra stuck.
But despite having the majority of possession and raising the tempo in the closing stages, Preston were unable to avoid a first league loss of the season.
Derby boss Gary Rowett: "It was important to respond to Saturday [home defeat against Wolves]. We were much better this evening. There was much more energy and we were more compact as a team.
"But for more composure and quality in our attacking play we could have made the game safer much earlier.
"We limited Preston to few chances and I'm pleased with how we saw the game out, we showed great resilience.
"There was no argument about the penalty. The ref warned the player two or three times before he gave it and once you grab someone in the box you leave yourself open to that."
Preston manager Alex Neil: "The penalty is difficult, everyone is moving about and jostling for position and that will always happen. It is disappointing that the linesman called it.
"I have seen them given so I am not suggesting we were hard done by, but the referee could not see it.
"Derby put us under pressure for a good 10-15 minutes at the start of the second half and we did not cope with it.
"In the first 30 minutes we got into good areas and behind their midfield, we had two really good three-on-two chances but our use of the ball was not good enough. We did not play as well as we have done and we looked a bit leggy."
- 15JohnsonBooked at 45mins
- 7RussellSubstituted forBennettat 85'minutes
- 23VydraSubstituted forBrysonat 68'minutes
- 19WeimannBooked at 90mins
- 28NugentSubstituted forMartinat 76'minutes
- 23HuntingtonBooked at 57mins
- 17SpurrSubstituted forMaguireat 70'minutes
- 29BarkhuizenSubstituted forHorganat 62'minutes
- 8BrowneBooked at 74mins
- 37RobinsonBooked at 36minsSubstituted forGallagherat 59'minutes
- Geoff Eltringham
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Derby County 1, Preston North End 0.
Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Tom Huddlestone.
Attempt blocked. Paul Huntington (Preston North End) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Paul Gallagher with a cross.
Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Markus Olsson.
Andreas Weimann (Derby County) is shown the yellow card.
Attempt saved. Alan Browne (Preston North End) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match Greg Cunningham (Preston North End) because of an injury.
Foul by Daniel Johnson (Preston North End).
Tom Huddlestone (Derby County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt missed. Craig Bryson (Derby County) header from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Tom Huddlestone with a cross following a corner.
Substitution, Derby County. Mason Bennett replaces Johnny Russell.
Corner, Derby County. Conceded by Darnell Fisher.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match Richard Keogh (Derby County) because of an injury.
Alan Browne (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Craig Bryson (Derby County).
Attempt saved. Paul Gallagher (Preston North End) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.
Sean Maguire (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the attacking half.