Out-of-form Derby County recorded their first win in nine Championship games to hold onto their playoff spot with an upset 1-0 win at Preston North End on bank holiday Monday.
The home side dominated procedures throughout the game but were undone by a magical free kick from Tom Lawrence early in the second half.
David Nugent had won the free kick against his former club, five yards outside the penalty area, when he was bundled down from behind.
Former-Manchester United youth product Tom Lawrence stepped up to crack an effort into the bottom right-hand corner of the goal with a bit of swerve and some help of teammate Joe Ledley blocking goalkeeper Chris Maxwell’s sight.
Preston North End had the opportunity to leapfrog Derby and move into the playoff spots themselves with victory and took the game to Gary Rowett’s side. However, they never really tested Scott Carson in the Rams goal, despite all the possession and territory.
Indeed, this game saw Derby have the lowest possession, pass competition percentage and attempts on goal that they’ve had in any game this season. Substitute Kasey Palmer dragged an effort wide in the second half in what was Derby’s only other effort aside from their goal.
The result leaves Derby County three points ahead of seventh-placed Bristol City with seven games to go, but with a tough schedule remaining that includes the likes of Wolverhampton Wanderers, Cardiff City and Middlesbrough, few are expecting Gary Rowett’s side to make the playoffs this season.