Match ends, Nottingham Forest 1, Derby County 0.
Nottingham Forest moved to within three points of the Championship play-off spots and within a point of Derby County as Yohan Benalouane's second-minute goal settled an intriguing East Midlands derby.
Benalouane reacted smartly from close range after the Rams failed to deal with a Joe Lolley free-kick and the 74-second opener set the tone for an unusually open, but typically frenetic local contest in front of a sell-out City Ground.
Martyn Waghorn wasted a glorious opportunity to level when one-on-one as Derby controlled possession and probed for openings.
Forest, with Lolley and Ryan Yates outstanding in midfield, remained a constant threat on the counter-attack but did not need the comfort of a second goal as they closed out their first win over their fiercest rivals in seven attempts.
A second consecutive defeat for Frank Lampard's Derby leaves them seventh, just one place ahead of Forest, who climb to eighth.
The Rams had plenty of the ball and got in numerous good areas in the final third but only managed six attempts on goal.
A sell-out, already raucous City Ground crowd saw the hosts get the perfect start when the masked figure of Benalouane reacted superbly to turn in Daryl Murphy's header after Jayden Bogle's defensive header went high into the air.
The home side were happy to surrender possession and, Waghorn's poor dinked finish aside, the tactics worked and they created the better chances.
Lolley's fierce strike was almost turned in by Yates and Murphy went close before the break and was a fraction off target a with a low shot across goal following the interval.
The Rams, who have now lost three times in a four-game winless away league run, continued to see more of the ball, but Forest stood firm.
O'Neill nous prevails over Lampard
Derby's preference for possession football using Tom Huddlestone as the fulcrum alongside Andy King made for a fascinating first-half contrast against a Forest side who went for the high-tempo approach and looked to exploit some ageing, albeit very wily, legs in midfield.
Huddlestone's slick passing and ability to see and execute a pass, short or long helped create several promising situations before the interval.
But the Reds, with Lolley, Yates and Jack Colback all prominent as they snapped into tackles, brought a constant menace and the greater goal threat on the break.
Huddlestone's withdrawal brought more urgency as the match became increasingly fiery and more derby-like.
A sixth red card in eight meetings between the sides looked likely but Forest remained in control of their emotions to earn victory.
Forest manager Martin O'Neill told BBC Sport:
"We got off to a fantastic start and it gives you a bit of momentum. Derby had a very good chance and then we spurned a decent chance to make it 2-0 but I am just delighted to win.
"There are things we can improve on. In terms of the atmosphere and the crowd, the players spurred on the fans and in the final 15 minutes the crowd spurred the players on. The crowd were terrific.
"Derby had good possession but we defended very strongly. We gave up ground for a period in the second half but that was because of Derby's good play. But overall I am delighted to win."
Derby manager Frank Lampard told BBC Sport:
"We played into Forest's hands. They are a good organised team, who like to sit back and counter-attack. Gifting them a goal after two minutes in a derby gives them the edge.
"It was the deciding factor of the game. It was a bad foul to give away and then we didn't deal with the ball into the box on two or three occasions.
"But we had 89 minutes to get back into it. We controlled lots of the game but our quality in the final third wasn't good enough and that one is on us."
- 8WatsonSubstituted forGuédiouraat 71'minutes
- 22YatesBooked at 29mins
- 6ColbackBooked at 82mins
- 11OsbornSubstituted forWaguéat 90+4'minutes
- 9MurphySubstituted forBonatiniat 85'minutes
- 19Cupido Goncalves
- 28Tuncará Gomes
- 5TomoriBooked at 90mins
- 23HolmesBooked at 29mins
- 44HuddlestoneSubstituted forJozefzoonat 45'minutes
- 24KingSubstituted forJohnsonat 53'minutes
- 7WilsonBooked at 26minsSubstituted forBennettat 71'minutes
- Robert Jones
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Nottingham Forest 1, Derby County 0.
Attempt blocked. Joe Lolley (Nottingham Forest) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Fikayo Tomori (Derby County) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Fikayo Tomori (Derby County).
Joe Lolley (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Martyn Waghorn (Derby County).
Yohan Benalouane (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Nottingham Forest. Molla Wagué replaces Ben Osborn.
Foul by Fikayo Tomori (Derby County).
Ryan Yates (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Bradley Johnson (Derby County) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.
Bradley Johnson (Derby County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Léo Bonatini (Nottingham Forest).
Foul by Bradley Johnson (Derby County).
Tendayi Darikwa (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Hand ball by Adlène Guédioura (Nottingham Forest).
Substitution, Nottingham Forest. Léo Bonatini replaces Daryl Murphy.
Attempt saved. Martyn Waghorn (Derby County) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.
Jack Colback (Nottingham Forest) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.