Manager Colin Todd decided to leave Horacio Carbonari out of the squad and bring in Steve Elliott after his return from injury.
Villa only needed 12 minutes to go into the lead. A free kick floated into the Derby box found Darius Vassell who brought the ball under control and crashed it into Mart Poom's goal.
Villa looked totally in control at this point but the match was turned upside down and inside out in just six mad minutes.
The 6 minutes of madness started in the 22nd minute. The Derby crowd had been chanting for Giorgi Kinkladze and they had their wish almost immediately.
Steve Elliott, a replacement for Carbonari was sensationally taken off, and the Rams moved to a flat back four instead of a back three.
No sooner had Kinkladze made his way on to the pitch than Derby County had equalised.
Peter Schmeichael in the Villa goal tried to dribble the ball in the area but Malcolm Christie took it off his toe. His shot was saved but rebounded to Darryl Powell who stabbed the ball home.
Derby where now right back in the match with 24 minutes played, but in this terrible season things don't usually go right for Derby County for long.
With the Rams fans still celebrating levelling the scores in the 26th minute, a cross finds Villa striker Angel with acres of space.
His un-opposed header was the first contribution of an unimpressive game and a devastating blow to the Rams.
The game was dominated by Villa in possession terms but it did take the home side 33 minutes before getting their first corner and the Derby backline stood firm.
Half time… Aston Villa 2 Derby County 1
The Rams thought they had equalised for a second time in the 55th minute. Malcolm Christie again having a part in the move. His shot rebounds out to Fabrizio Ravanelli who tucks the ball away but as the Italian begins to celebrate the flag of the assistant referee can be seen waving.
The offside decision was close but on video evidence the call looked to be correct.
Derby where never really out of this match but could not find the goal that would have given them a valuable point. A stupid and needless sending off may have been the difference that could have swung the game in Derby's favour.
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