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Pride Park Stadium (ATT 33,010) 26th December 2011 - Kick off 13:00 Ref: T Bates

Derby Derby County vs Leeds United Leeds

Derby 1

J Ward (67)

ft

Leeds 0

Rams beat Whites once again

Last Updated: 26/12/11 3:28pm

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Ward: Hit the winner for Derby

Ward: Hit the winner for Derby

Derby's recent dominance of Leeds continued at Pride Park as Jamie Ward's second-half goal earned the Rams a 1-0 win over United.

Ward was on hand to convert after his initial 67th-minute shot had been parried by Andy Lonergan and, with Leeds unable to respond, Nigel Clough's men hung on for what was just a second win in nine and a first clean sheet in 15 but a sixth straight win over Leeds.

The full-time whistle marked a second straight defeat for Leeds and they are now three games without a win. Chairman Ken Bates has already turned the heat up on manager Simon Grayson, celebrating three years in charge on Boxing Day, by demanding promotion this season, but this was not the performance of a side destined for better things.

A late flurry apart, United created no genuine chances and, although Derby offered up little more, they did signal some intent when Ward hit the post in the first half and could lay claim to being deserving winners.

Derby did the double over Leeds last season, with their 2-1 victory at Pride Park in April putting the skids on Leeds' ultimately fruitless chase of a play-off place, and the away side started as though they had revenge on their minds.

A slip from John Brayford allowed Aidan White a run which Shaun Barker halted, with Michael Brown drilling wide through a crowd of bodies from the subsequent corner.

After surviving that early flurry, Derby settled and Nathan Tyson, making an injury-delayed first start since his summer move from Nottingham Forest, should have done better than warm Lonergan's palms when he got free in the 15th minute.

Leeds' leading scorer Ross McCormack then fizzed in a 35-yard drive out of nothing that Frank Fielding had to scramble to turn away, before Ward went the closest out of anyone when he worked an opening and crunched an effort into the base of Lonergan's post.

The former Sheffield United winger got the better of Tom Lees and found half a yard inside the box, with the strike rebounding into the path of the onrushing Paul Green who should have done better than bundle it away from goal.

It was then Leeds' turn to go close, with Scotland winger Robert Snodgrass at the heart of their chances. His jinking run was halted by Gareth Roberts and, from the subsequent free-kick from the corner of the box, his stinging hit was tipped over by Fielding. His corner then found Luciano Becchio free but he headed over from six yards out.

A scrappy 10-minute period preceded the half-time whistle but Derby emerged the better side after it, with Roberts slicing wide when a chance presented itself to him on the edge of the area.

Patrick Kisnorbo then flicked a header over for Leeds and Fielding beat away an opportunist drive from Danny Pugh as the game opened up, but the pace of Derby's attack always promised to cause problems and so it proved as they opened the scoring.

Craig Bryson's neat ball played Ward in on the left of the box and, although his first effort was smothered by Lonergan, the ball came free and he duly tucked in his third of the season.

Leeds response was not immediate and it took 20 minutes for them to test Fielding, with the former Leeds loanee keeping out a McCormack drive and then Adam Clayton's follow-up effort. The keeper also did well to push out a Kisnorbo header, but Leeds' charge had come too late.

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Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Leicester City 43 93
2 Burnley 43 86
3 Derby County 43 78
4 Queens Park Rangers 43 73
5 Wigan Athletic 42 70
6 Brighton and Hove Albion 43 65
7 Reading 43 64
8 Ipswich Town 43 64
9 Nottingham Forest 43 62
10 Bournemouth 43 62
11 Blackburn Rovers 43 61
12 Watford 42 60
13 Middlesbrough 43 58
14 Bolton Wanderers 43 55
15 Sheffield Wednesday 43 53
16 Leeds United 43 53
17 Huddersfield Town 43 47
18 Birmingham City 42 43
19 Doncaster Rovers 43 43
20 Millwall 43 43
21 Charlton Athletic 42 42
22 Blackpool 43 42
23 Barnsley 43 39
24 Yeovil Town 43 37