Derby 3-1 Wolverhampton: Match Report
Derby enjoy home comforts in victory over Wolves
Derby signed off on their home Sky Bet Championship campaign with a comfortable 3-1 victory over a disappointing Wolves side who had Ivan Cavaleiro sent off in the first half.
David Nugent and Bradley Johnson put Derby in control before Cavaleiro was shown a straight red and although Lee Evans replied, Derby's superiority was underlined by Craig Bryson 12 minutes into the second half.
With nothing riding on the result, Derby made five changes while Wolves made eight which showed as the home side dominated before taking an early lead.
A careless pass by Romain Saiss in the seventh minute allowed Tom Ince to whip in a low shot which Harry Burgoyne could only parry and when the ball came back to Bradley Johnson, he smashed a shot against the underside of the bar.
Ince should have scored in the ninth minute when he slipped between two defenders but scuffed a shot at Burgoyne before he delivered a cross to the back post which Nugent converted with a downward header in the 12th minute.
It was too easy for Derby to pick out players in dangerous areas and Mike Williamson was booked for a crude bodycheck on Nugent to stop the striker getting away in the 23rd minute.
Wolves had a chance in the 26th minute when Nouha Dicko held off Alex Pearce but his low shot was comfortably held by Derby's player of the year Scott Carson and three minutes later, Derby increased their lead.
Johnson found Johnny Russell on the left and he crossed for the midfielder to score with a low shot from 15 yards as Wolves's afternoon started to unravel.
Only a goal-line clearance denied Russell a third from a corner before Cavaleiro was dismissed for moving his head towards Johnson's face after he had fouled him in the 33rd minute.
It was a moment of unforgivable indiscipline which left Wolves with a massive task and they almost conceded again when Russell hit the bar in the 43rd minute before Derby switched off in stoppage time.
Dickov got in on the right and crossed low for Evans who beat Carson from eight yards to give Wolves a chance their first-half performance did not merit.
But any chance of an unlikely comeback ended in the 57th minute when Derby again strolled through a static defence with Russell setting up Bryson who found the bottom right corner from 14 yards.
Cyrus Christie fired just wide and Nugent had penalty claims waved aside before Bright Enobakhare forced Carson into a diving save which could not disguise the fact it had been far too easy for Derby.