Matthew Clarke scored the only goal of the game for the Rams, heading home from Tom Lawrence’s corner shortly after the hour mark on what proved to be a frustrating afternoon for Grant McCann’s side as they went down to successive league defeats for the first time since October.
McCann made four changes to the side that lost at home to Fulham last weekend, with Ryan Tafazolli, Callum Elder, Josh Magennis and Josh Bowler all coming into the starting line-up. Tom Eaves and Matthew Pennington were named on the bench, with Jordy de Wijs and Kamil Grosicki missing out altogether.
Former Hull City midfielder Tom Huddlestone was named in the hosts’ starting line-up, with fellow ex-Tigers Curtis Davies and Chris Martin amongst the substitutes.
It was the Tigers who had the first effort of the game after just four minutes. Erich Lichaj won the ball back after initially conceding possession in the corner before cutting inside and letting fly, but his left-foot strike failed to test Ben Hamer in the Derby goal.
The Rams hit back though with George Long tested for the first time of the afternoon just two minutes later. Some neat passing play from the hosts saw the ball come to Jason Knight inside the box and his deflected strike was pushed behind by the Tigers’ shot-stopper.
More pressure from the Tigers came when Jarrod Bowen’s free-kick was pushed behind by Hamer and Herbie Kane’s resulting corner was met by Reece Burke at the near post, who saw his flicked header drift narrowly wide of the post.
Another set-piece posed more problems for the home defence on 18 minutes when Bowen’s delivery from the right corner was met by Tafazolli, although his header failed to seriously test Hamer.
Magennis was inches away from connecting with yet another superb Bowen cross midway through the first half, although it wouldn’t have counted had it gone in with the offside flag raised against the Northern Irishman.
Bowen then wasted a glorious opportunity to open the scoring himself. Kane’s lofted cross dropped invitingly for the winger eight yards out, who controlled the ball well before somehow steering his effort wide of the target.
The home side gave a reminder of their attacking threat on the half-hour mark when Duane Holmes’ chipped pass over the top attempted to find the run of Tom Lawrence, but thankfully George Long was the calmest man inside Pride Park as he collected the ball ahead of the Derby man.
The Rams went on to enjoy the better of the final 15 minutes of the opening half, with Knight’s low drilled cross well held by Long before Martyn Waghorn’s effort – after being teed up Wayne Rooney inside the box – was well blocked by Tafazolli.
A final opportunity for the hosts to break the deadlock fell to Rooney in stoppage-time after the former England international had been fouled by Jackson Irvine 25 yards from goal. The 34-year-old picked himself to take the set-piece, only to see his effort blocked by the Tigers’ defensive wall.
Holmes escaped with just a ticking off from referee Andy Woolmer after a late challenge on Bowen shortly after the restart and – from the resulting free-kick – Magennis fizzed an effort wide of the target following a training ground routine, although it wouldn’t have counted with the assistant’s flag raised for offside in the build-up.
It was a fairly quiet opening 15 minutes to the second half and McCann looked to change that with the introduction of Samuelsen for his Tigers’ debut on 62 minutes, with the Norwegian coming on in place of Bowler.
However, it was the hosts who went ahead on 64 minutes. Lawrence delivered a looping corner into the danger zone and Clarke rose the highest of everyone inside the box to head home.
George Honeyman and Mallik Wilks were brought on in place of Irvine and Magennis on 71 minutes before Knight became the first player in black and white to be shown a yellow card following a late tackle on Elder.
Andre Wisdom quickly followed his team-mate into the referee’s notebook after going in ridiculously late on Kane in the centre-circle, with Lawrence also picking up a yellow for clipping the heels of Samuelsen inside the Tigers’ half.
Wilks’ first effort since coming on saw him fire wide of the target from the edge of the box four minutes from time – in what was also the Tigers’ first strike on goal since the restart.
Five minutes of added time were announced – which brought groans of disbelief from the home fans – but the Rams’ backline was never seriously threatened.
Derby County: Ben Hamer, Andre Wisdom, Martyn Waghorn, Tom Lawrence, Matt Clarke, Duane Holmes, Max Lowe, Wayne Rooney, Jayden Bogle, Jason Knight, Tom Huddlestone.
Subs Not Used: Kelle Roos, Craig Forsyth, Chris Martin, Curtis Davis, Louie Sibley, Max Bird, Morgan Whittaker.
Hull City: George Long, Eric Lichaj, Ryan Tafazolli, Reece Burke, Josh Bowler (Martin Samuelsen 62), Jarrod Bowen, Callum Elder, Josh Magennis (Mallik Wilks 71), Jackson Irvine (George Honeyman 71), Leonardo Da Silva Lopes, Herbie Kane.
Subs Not Used: Matt Ingram, Dan Batty, Tom Eaves, Matthew Pennington.
Referee: Mr A. Woolmer