Ravel Morrison’s 81st-minute strike was enough for Derby County to take all three points at Pride Park against Preston North End.
Both sides were down to ten men, with Liam Lindsay and Max Bird having been sent off either side of half-time, before substitute Morrison earned victory for his side late on.
There was a switch in personnel and formation for North End from the last game, with Ryan Lowe making four changes and opting for a 4-3-3.
It was all PNE in the early stages and they could have taken the lead within two minutes, with a corner routine setting up space for Daniel Johnson on the edge of the box, but his effort was blocked.
North End’s threat continued, mainly through Andrew Hughes down the left flank, sending crosses into the area for both Emil Riis and Ched Evans, with neither able to test the goalkeeper.
At the other end, Daniel Iversen was called into action for the first time 19 minutes in, diving to his right to tip Jason Knight’s long-range shot wide.
The Rams then had a great chance soon after, as Malcolm Ebiowei’s cross found Tom Lawrence six yards out, and the home captain flashed a header inches past the post.
Lawrence was involved in the next major act of the game, as he was pulled down by Lindsay who was chasing the Derby captain towards his own goal, and referee Geoff Eltringham produced a red card.
Emil Riis was sacrificed for Sepp van den Berg at that point and the teams went into the break goalless, but Derby could have had the lead seven minutes into the second half if it were not for Iversen, who saved with his left foot to keep out Lee Buchanan’s low drive.
On 55 minutes, the red card was back out, this time for Derby’s Bird, whose high-foot in a strong challenge on Whiteman resulted in the midfielder receiving his marching orders.
Goalmouth action in the next 20 minutes or so was few and far between, but the Rams took the lead on 81 minutes through Morrison, as he finished off the rebound after Iversen had produced two great stops from a corner.
The Dane was called into action by Morrison again just moments later, this time tipping wide, while at the other end Johnson volleyed over for North End as they looked for an equaliser.
Sepp van den Berg also came close late on, heading into the ground and seeing the ball loop up onto the crossbar, but it was defeat for North End at full-time.
Derby County line-up: Allsop; Byrne, Davies, Cashin, Buchanan; Knight, Bird; Ebiowei (Morrison, 68), Lawrence, Ebosele (Bielik, 58); Plange (Stearman, 85). Subs not used: Roos, Forsyth, Stearman, Sibley, Cybulski.
PNE line-up: Iversen; Rafferty, Bauer, Lindsay, Hughes; Whiteman, Johnson, Browne; Riis (van den Berg, 35), Evans (Maguire, 65), Archer (Murphy, 75). Subs not used: Ripley, McCann, Sinclair, Potts.
Referee: Mr G Eltringham.
Attendance: 23,600 (1,530 PNE fans).