The Rams made a perfect start to the decade in a 2-1 victory over Barnsley, with goals from Martyn Waghorn and Jack Marriott giving Derby all three points.
The game was highly anticipated, with a bumper crowd expecting the debut of England all-time scorer Wayne Rooney in a Derby shirt.
The five-time Premier League winner was at the heart of both Derby’s goals, first teeing up Marriott for the opener, before playing a sublime ball to Wisdom in the build up to the winner. Barnsley did cause the home side problems though, Elliott Simoes close range finish levelling up the tie just after half time.
Phillip Cocu’s side started the game with intent. Max Lowe’s pass found the path of Waghorn. The forward managed to link up with Marriott, but the latter couldn’t quite steer his shot on target and blundered a great early chance.
The theme of missed opportunities was the epitome of Derby’s half in large periods, with Marriott being gifted another two chances in front of goal, the first of which was blocked by an outrushing goalkeeper, the second another opportunity put wide.
However, Marriott managed to right his wrongs. A voluptuous delivery from Rooney found the path of an onrushing Marriott, who finished what was arguably his hardest chance of the half to steer the ball past Samuel Sahin-Radlinger.
Just minutes later, the home side were denied again by fine margins. Matt Clarke’s towering header was sent goalward bound, almost certain to bulge the net if it were not for the outstretched hand of Sahin-Radlinger.
Just minutes after the half way mark, Barnsley were back in it. Jordan Williams’ cross-cum-shot was denied by Ben Hamer, but the on-loan goalkeeper couldn’t sweep up the ball with Simoes poking home for the visitors.
Just moments later, the home side were back in the lead. A lovely cross-field diagonal from Rooney picked out Andre Wisdom on the right-hand side. The full-back out-muscled his way to the by-line before pulling the ball back for Waghorn to stab home.
The Rams couldn’t extend their lead before the closing stages, calling upon some fine rear-guard action to see out the final moments and secure the all-important three points.
Derby County: Hamer, Wisdom, Davies, Clarke, Lowe, Bird; Holmes, Rooney (C), Knight, Marriott (Whittaker 82), Waghorn (Malone 74).
Unused Substitutes: Roos, Forsyth, Sibley, Bogle, Martin.