It was Lucas Akins who went close just seconds later as he controlled Ben Turner's long-range pass before driving at the Derby defence and unleashing a viscous shot which just sailed over the bar.
GOAL: The early pressure paid off and the Brewers broke the deadlock! Jackson Irvine scored his third header in as many league games as he got on the end of Akins' cross from the right to beat Carson (1-0).
Ironic cheers rang out from the away end as Jacob Butterfield had their first shot on target after 26 minutes, which was well saved and held by Jon McLaughlin.
Former-Ram John Brayford denied his former club a goal late on in the second half. Chris Martin lined up a shot which seemed certain to be hitting the target, only to be blocked by Brayford.
HT: Burton Albion 1-0 Derby County
Tom Ince gave way for Abdoul Camara at the half time break.
Burton breathed a sign of relief early in the second half when a stray ball found its way to Camara at the back post who let a shot off, it was deflected but McLaughlin flew through the air to pull off an outstanding save!
Young Will Miller was replaced by Marcus Harness ten minutes into the second half.
The visitors seemed to have a lot of the ball in the second half but the Brewers stayed strong.
Lee Williamson was given the final minutes of the game as he replaced Tom Naylor.
Burton's Marcus Harness had a great chance to add a second goal late on, he misjudged O'Grady's cross and his header went the wrong way.
What an incredible moment. Shaun Barker made his Burton Albion debut by replacing Matty Palmer, and he headed away the final corner.
FT: Burton Albion 1-0 Derby County
Ash's man of the match: Chris O'Grady