A goal in either half from Ravel Morrison saw off Barnsley this afternoon.
The Rams deservedly got the better of a disappointing Reds at Pride Park, with Ravel Morrison at the double.
The visitors struggled from the outset, second best and unable to stamp their authority on the contest, unlike their recent fast starts in victories over Hull City and Middlesbrough.
Young midfielder Matty Wolfe was booked after just seven minutes for a reckless slide tackle and was very lucky not to receive a second caution soon afterwards from referee Rob Jones.
Rams loanee Luke Plange somehow shot wide from eight yards out inside 10 minutes, as he looked to capitalise on a lucky bounce; an early let-off for Barnsley, but on 22 minutes it was 1-0 and the opening goal came about in dubious circumstances.
Morrison was on-hand to dink over Brad Collins a few yards out as Plange teed him up but the initial ball into the box from Tom Lawrence found Plange in what looked an offside position. The striker immediately looked to the official but no flag was raised and the home side went in front.
On 26 minutes, the ever-willing Carlton Morris was denied after a trademark charge into the box with his low shot saved well by Derby 'keeper, Ryan Allsop with his feet.
Morrison rattled the Reds' crossbar as we approached the end of a half in which Barnsley barely got going, looking lacklustre throughout, and probably relieved to only be one goal behind.
HALF-TIME: Derby 1-0 Barnsley
The second half, however started disastrously for the Reds as the Rams doubled their lead with that man Morrison sticking home a rebound after the first shot, from Lawrence had cannoned back off the bar.
Morris tested Allsop again, this time with a free-kick from the edge of the box, Amine Bassi sent his own set-piece a foot wide of goal, Claudio Gomes drilled just wide and in the latter stages, Bassi again screwed wide from just inside the box.
But whilst the effort wasn't particularly lacking on the day, the quality was. Nervous in possession, too slow in transition and unable to cope with Derby's incessant pressing. The second Rams goal really deflated the Reds who, as we've seen all season, don't seem to be able to mount a comeback.
The hosts were happy with what they held, and hold they did, seeing out the game in the final stages, limiting Barnsley to safe possession and repelling any balls into the box with ease.
After good recent form, this match and performance was reminscent of many previous displays, particularly away from home.
Barnsley now head back to Oakwell for three successive home fixtures knowing they've got it all to do to lift themselves after another disappointing defeat.
FULL-TIME: Derby 2-0 Barnsley
Collins, Brittain (Kitching), Helik, Andersen, Vita, Styles, Bassi, Quina, Morris, Gomes (Oduor), Wolfe (Benson).
Unused: Walton, Halme, Palmer, Cole.