Derby County 3-1 Huddersfield Town

Chris Martin Derby County

Derby all but booked their place in the Championship play-offs after coming from a goal down to beat nine-man Huddersfield 3-1.

Nahki Wells gave the visitors the lead, but Johnny Russell equalised before Joel Lynch was booked a second time.

Huddersfield goalkeeper Alex Smithies slapped the ball into his own net to give Derby the lead after the break.

Then Peter Clarke was also dismissed as Chris Martin penalty - his 21st goal of the season - sealed Derby's victory.

The win puts Steve McClaren's side 11 points clear of seventh place with four games to go.

Huddersfield, however, still have work to do to pull clear of the drop zone after a third consecutive defeat. The Terriers have not won any of their last eight, losing five.

That was perhaps reflected in their tentative start, with Derby almost scoring as early as the third minute when a Russell volley from outside the area was blocked by Smithies.

Clarke was booked two minutes later for halting a Will Hughes run and Huddersfield had a penalty claim waved aside by Darren Deadman after Danny Ward went over.

Ward would soon have his revenge, though, when he provided the cross which found Wells at the back post. The striker had a simple tap-in from two yards.

The joy would be short lived, though. Derby levelled just before the half hour when a George Thorne pass sliced Huddersfield open and Russell cleverly flicked the ball beyond Smithies from just inside the box.

The afternoon would get even worse for Huddersfield, who were reduced to 10 men two minutes before the interval when Lynch caught Patrick Bamford late on the left touchline and was shown a second yellow card. His first booked had been earned for time wasting.

The advantage was now with Derby and they were literally given a helping hand by Smithies in the 50th minute. A Craig Forsyth cross was totally misjudged by the goalkeeper, who palmed the ball into his own net.

From then on, the outcome was in little doubt and, after Clarke sent off for conceding a penalty, Martin converted to give Derby a third.

Steve McClaren

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Post-match: Derby coach McClaren

Derby manager Steve McClaren:

"[Goalkeeper Lee Grant] got us three points again today because 2-0 would have been a difficult one to come back from.

"We can only go and try and win our games and the first job we have to do is make sure we have two feet in the play-offs and keep our focus."

Huddersfield manager Mark Robins on Alex Smithies:

"It's a tough one to take for him and he's disappointed with it, but he's a top, top young man and he will bounce back from it.

"He's made a world-class save there at the end from a header and although it doesn't make up for it in his eyes, I think he's been fantastic for us this season and he's only a young goalkeeper."

As It Stood

TeamPWDLGDPts
1Leicester4127863589
2Burnley42231453183
3Derby42229112775
4QPR422110111573
5Wigan411910121467
6Brighton421713121264
7Ipswich42171312864
8Reading411712121363
9Bournemouth42171114162
10Blackburn42151512360
11Nottm Forest42141711459
12Middlesbrough421416121058
13Watford411415121657
14Bolton42131514-254
15Sheff Wed42121416050
16Leeds4214820-950
17Huddersfield42121020-946
18Birmingham41111020-1043
19Doncaster42111021-2643
20Blackpool42101220-2642
21Charlton40101119-2341
22Millwall4291320-3040
23Yeovil4281222-2536
24Barnsley4181221-2936
View full Championship table

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