Match ends, Derby County 3, Doncaster Rovers 1.
Derby County 3-1 Doncaster Rovers
Derby's impressive form under Steve McClaren continued against Doncaster as they recorded seven consecutive league wins for the first time since 1995.
Goals from Jamie Ward, Simon Dawkins and Craig Bryson secured the points for the Rams who are now just three points outside the automatic promotion spots.
The hosts could even afford the luxury of a missed penalty from Chris Martin and a Jake Buxton own goal.
Derby have lost once since McClaren replaced Nigel Clough in charge.
Doncaster handed Derby the initiative early on when Luke McCullough failed to deal with a bouncing ball on the edge of his area which allowed Martin to pounce and play in Ward, who rolled the ball past Ross Turnbull from eight yards.
Striker Theo Robinson, who left Derby for Doncaster in August, had a shot deflected over in the 22nd minute and ex-England boss McClaren was forced to make a change in defence three minutes later when skipper Richard Keogh was replaced by Michael Keane.
The Rams were then awarded a penalty when McCullough barged over Martin after Bryson's pass opened up Doncaster's defence. However, Turnbull guessed correctly and dived to his right to save Martin's spot-kick.
Doncaster, without a win since a 2-1 victory over QPR last month, had played some neat passing football in the first half without seriously threatening the Derby goal but they had two chances to equalise at the start of the second.
Those misses cost the visitors in the 50th minute when Derby increased their lead.
Dawkins, on loan from Tottenham, picked up the ball just outside the centre circle and ran at a retreating defence before firing low past Turnbull from just inside the area.
Doncaster pulled one back when Buxton headed a cross into his own net under pressure but Derby restored their two-goal cushion when a clever pass by Martin sent Bryson into the area and the midfielder placed his shot inside Turnbull's left-hand post from 12 yards.
Derby manager Steve McClaren:
"I don't want to dampen expectations. I want there to be a buzz because that's what fans want but in the dressing room and the training ground, it's business as normal.
"As long as we stay that way and keep our feet on the ground, we can continue winning but the time we get sloppy and think we've made it, this game has a habit of cutting your legs off.
"It's a big concern [captain Richard Keogh's knee injury] because he's been terrific for us. He locked and jarred his knee but hopefully it's not too serious and we'll know more on Monday or Tuesday."
Doncaster manager Paul Dickov:
"That's two weeks running that we've played ever so well. We came to a team whose form shows they are the best in the division at the minute and really took the game to them and caused them problems.
"Some of our football, especially in the second half, was top class. You talk about game defining moments and Theo [Robinson] was clean through and within seconds we are two nil down.
"There are lots of positives, they are one of the best passing teams in this division and we have more than matched them and out-passed them at times."
- 14EustaceSubstituted forHendrickat 67'minutes
- 6KeoghSubstituted forKeaneat 25'minutes
- 10WardSubstituted forRussellat 77'minutes
- 2QuinnSubstituted forWakefieldat 67'minutes
- 9BrownSubstituted forMachedaat 41'minutes
- 17WoodsSubstituted forForresterat 57'minutes
- 21De Val Fernandez
- Nigel Miller
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Derby County 3, Doncaster Rovers 1.
Attempt saved. Mark Duffy (Doncaster Rovers) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Attempt blocked. Will Hughes (Derby County) left footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Craig Bryson.
Johnny Russell (Derby County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Enda Stevens (Doncaster Rovers).
Foul by Simon Dawkins (Derby County).
Mark Duffy (Doncaster Rovers) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Will Hughes (Derby County).
Richard Wellens (Doncaster Rovers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Will Hughes (Derby County).
Harry Forrester (Doncaster Rovers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt blocked. Richard Wellens (Doncaster Rovers) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Harry Forrester.
Goal! Derby County 3, Doncaster Rovers 1. Craig Bryson (Derby County) right footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Chris Martin.
Substitution, Derby County. Johnny Russell replaces Jamie Ward.
Will Hughes (Derby County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Dean Furman (Doncaster Rovers).
Attempt missed. Mark Duffy (Doncaster Rovers) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Federico Macheda.
Attempt missed. Simon Dawkins (Derby County) right footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the left.
Foul by Michael Keane (Derby County).