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Sky Bet Championship: Derby scrape to 1-0 win over Blackpool at Bloomfield Road
A late Chris Martin penalty was enough for Derby who battled to a 1-0 win over Blackpool and to the top of theSky Bet Championship .
Johnny Russell was brought down by Tony McMahon inside the area deep into the second half and up stepped Martin to notch his ninth league goal of the season.
The Rams are now unbeaten in 10 league games, while Blackpool remain rooted to the foot of the table with just one solitary win to their name all season.
Given the contrast in fortunes of the two sides it was no surprise Derby began the brighter, with Jeff Hendrick firing just over with only two minutes gone.
Ishmael Miller almost gave the hosts an unlikely lead, though, on 10 minutes but after bringing the ball down excellently on the edge of the area he fired just wide.
Jose Riga's side came close again three minutes later, but Peter Clarke couldn't direct John Lundstram's corner away from England international Jack Butland on his Derby debut.
Butland, who has joined on loan from Stoke City, was on hand to deny Blackpool again a minute later when McMahon was through one on one.
Blackpool missed a golden chance to take the lead in the 25th minute as McMahon's free-kick found its way to Nathan Delfouneso but he lashed over from six yards.
Once again, it was the home side who threatened on the half-hour mark as Miller met Andrea Orlandi's left-wing cross to head narrowly over from 12 yards.
Derby finally called Joe Lewis into action in the 40th minute, as the Blackpool keeper denied Russell from 12 yards with his feet.
Steve McClaren's side almost took a lead into half-time as Cyrus Christie's right-wing cross was met by Hendrick, who forced Lewis to save from six yards.
Derby had the first real effort of the second half after 51 minutes, as centre back Ryan Shotton unleashed a fierce effort from 35 yards which was well held by Lewis.
Blackpool came close after 55 minutes as Donervon Daniels attacked a left-wing corner only to head onto the roof of the net from 10 yards.
Lewis produced a superb save in the 66th minute to keep the scores level, spring high to push Russell's shot from 25 yards over the bar.
But Derby's pressure told when they won a penalty in the 80th minute as McMahon brought down Russell in the area.
Top scorer Martin duly converted the penalty and with Watford being held to a 2-2 draw at home to Nottingham Forest and Middlesbrough losing to Wolves, the win put Derby top of the pile.
Headlines for Blackpool this week
Arsenal & Liverpool have suffered a blow in the race for Winston Reid, Manolo Gabbiadini may join Spurs & Nottingham Forest want Jack Grealish.
A late Chris Martin penalty was enough for Derby who battled to a 1-0 win over Blackpool and to the top of the Sky Bet Championship .
Derby manager Steve McClaren insists his side's 1-0 win away to Sky Bet Championship strugglers Blackpool stands as further evidence he possesses an even stronger squad than last year.
Blackpool manager Jose Riga is aware that he needs 'more players' if Blackpool are to steer a course to safety.
Winger Harry Bunn scored twice in five minutes early on as Huddersfield Town recorded a 4-2 Sky Bet Championship victory over Blackpool.
Chris Powell has admitted he wants to keep Grant Holt beyond his initial month-long loan after he opened his Huddersfield account in the Terriers' 4-2 win over Blackpool.
James Dixon discusses Neil Lennon's appointment at Bolton, hails the league's youngsters and singles out Leeds United's Lewis Cook for praise.
New figures collated by the BBC reveal that the cost of watching football in England is continuing to rise at a worrying rate.
Karl Oyston has told disgruntled Blackpool fans their protests against his running of the club "will never have any impact".
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