ALBION suffered their first-ever home defeat to local rivals Derby County as the Rams secured a 3-0 victory at the Pirelli Stadium.
James Collins got Derby off to a good start with an early headed finish but the game was still on a knife-edge until late on when Conor Hourihane and Conor Washington added late goals to seal the three points.
Dino Maamria was handed some good news with Sam Hughes declared fit to start having missed out against Leicester City on Wednesday with a minor injury picked up on the opening weekend. Hughes started in the back line with the other change seeing Josh Gordon start having come on for Cole Stockton against the Foxes.
Steve Seddon picked up a very early yellow card, within two minutes of the game kicking-off, for a foul on Nathaniel Mendez-Laing as the visitors looked to launch a swift counter.
It was former Albion loan striker COLLINS that struck the early blow guiding a home a header from Hourihane’s free kick on the right-hand side.
It could have very quickly got worse moments later when Mendez-Laing had a close-range sight of goal but Jamal Blackman came up with a big save to deny him.
Albion produced their first real piece of flowing football to go close to a rapid equaliser. Mark Helm setting Jake Caprice free down the right and then Rekeem Harper setting up Joe Powell for a dipping right foot effort that went over the bar.
Derby’s goal led something of a charmed life on nineteen minutes from a Powell corner. Seddon headed into the danger area where Brayford could not quite make meaningful contact before Hughes prodded a shot straight at Joe Wildsmith.
And Wildsmith got lucky midway through the half when an attempted clearance struck Josh Gordon at close quarters and looped over the bar.
Caprice was getting into some good positions down the Burton right and another cross looked threatening on 28 minutes but although Helm got to the ball first, he could not quite bring it under control to get a shot away.
Hughes had a header deep into added on time that went straight at Wildsmith although that may well have been better had he not been having his shirt pulled unseen by the officials.
HALF TIME: BURTON ALBION 0-1 DERBY COUNTY
Albion started the second half brightly but were almost caught on the counter when Mendez-Laing seized on a cross field ball but fired his first time shot wide of the target from the edge of the box. The winger was through again on the opposite side of the pitch on 53 minutes, but this time was denied by Blackman.
Max Bird squandered a gilt-edged chance to add a second failing to convert a cross from Mendez-Laing, the winger looking offside as he charged through.
Albion then made their first change before the hour mark with Mason Bennett getting his first minutes since returning to the club as a replacement for Jake Caprice.
It was an even game at this stage and Albion then sent on Bobby Kamwa in place of Harper to try and engineer an equaliser.
However, it was Derby who found the net with twelve minutes remaining when HOURIHANE curled a measured shot into the net after good work down the left-hand side by Bird.
Maamria’s last throw of the dice was to send Mustapha Carayol on in place of Seddon down the left as a final attacking change.
The Rams went on to caplitalise on Albion losing possession in midfield and added a third late on with substitute WASHINGTON poking in at the back post after Collins and fellow substitute Martyn Waghorn had ventured deep into the Burton box.
ALBION: Blackman; Brayford, Hughes, Sweeney; Caprice (Bennett, 58), Harper (Kamwa, 73), Powell, Seddon (Carayol, 83), Oshilaja, Helm; Gordon.
Substitutes: Crocombe, Chauke, Lakin, Gilligan.
GOALS: DERBY – Collins (7), Hourihane (78), Washington (84)
Referee: James Bell