Barnsley 1-2 Derby County
Derby moved up to second in the Championship table with victory at bottom club Barnsley.
Chris Martin put the Rams ahead after eight minutes and doubled their advantage with a header early in the second half.
Tomasz Cywka gave the Tykes hopes with an effort from outside the area.
Danny Wilson's side, who have not won in three matches since his return as manager, pushed for a late equaliser but it never came.
Since Steve McClaren's appointment in late September, the Rams have risen from 14th to second in the table. They have won eight of nine Championship games, with the 1-1 draw at Huddersfield on Boxing Day the only blip.
Barnsley, on the other hand, are now five points adrift of safety after a run of one win from 11 Championship games.
The differing form of both sides was immediately evident with Martin taking the ball from team-mate Simon Dawkins to fire past Luke Steele.
Johnny Russell almost added a second, before Stephen Dawson, Peter Ramage, Chris O'Grady and Martin Cranie had chances for the hosts.
Derby midfielder Craig Bryson, who had scored in his previous four games, fired straight at Steele at the end of the first half when he should have extended his goalscoring run.
But four minutes into the second half, their lead was doubled as unmarked Martin headed home Andre Wisdom's cross at the back post.
Derby looked like they were going to ease to victory before former Rams midfielder Cywka showed some skills 25 yards from goal and fired a low effort beyond keeper Lee Grant.
Cywka was denied by a last-ditch tackle and Jim O'Brien forced a save from Grant as Barnsley looked for an equaliser that should have come when O'Grady fired over from 12 yards out in injury-time.
Barnsley manager Danny Wilson:
"I've got mixed emotions. I think the back end of the game was very positive from our point of view; the first part of the game, going two-nil down in the manner we did, was really disappointing.
"We need a lot of work doing. We can't continue to keep saying 'We should've got something out of the game, we should've done this', I'm bored with it already, I've only had three games. Having the same old stuff to say all the time, I'm not prepared to do it.
"We have to move and move players around in January as best we can, whether we've got to let players go we'll have to wait and see but if it's for the better of the team then we're going to have to do it."
Derby head coach Steve McClaren:
"There's a still a long way to go but, as I've said before, if someone said you'd be where you're now [when he took over in September] I'd have said 'You're crazy, you're barking mad'.
"When you're challenging at the top, the season really begins with the last 10 games and if we're in this situation and if we've got a chance in the last 10 games then I think all the expectation and all the pressure comes.
"What we're doing at the present moment is enjoying the ride and let's see in March and April where we are and maybe get excited a little bit but at the moment there's a long way to go."
- 8DawsonBooked at 89mins
- 7O'BrienBooked at 79minsSubstituted forScotlandat 90'minutes
- 23EtuhuSubstituted forCywkaat 56'minutes
- 42McCourtSubstituted forPedersenat 57'minutes
- 33WisdomBooked at 64mins
- 4BrysonSubstituted forBennettat 82'minutes
- 9MartinSubstituted forSammonat 76'minutes
- 32DawkinsSubstituted forWardat 73'minutes
- Mark Heywood
- Shots on Target