Derby County 1 Norwich City 0

Bradley Johnson scored against his old club for Derby County. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Image

Bradley Johnson scored against his old club for Derby County. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Bradley Johnson returned to haunt Norwich City with a second-half strike inflicting a fifth straight Championship defeat on Alex Neil's side.

The Canaries were much improved prior to the break compared to recent lacklustre showings but buckled when the hosts upped the pressure on the restart. Johnson settled matters in the 65th minute with a low strike from the edge of the area in his first game against City since his departure in 2015.

Neil's line up showed three changes from the team that lost 2-1 at QPR. The suspended Martin Olsson and Graham Dorrans were replaced by fit-again Youssouf Mulumbu and Wes Hoolahan with Cameron Jerome replacing Nelson Oliveira. Robbie Brady slotted into left-back in place of Olsson with Mulumbu anchoring central midfield alongside Alex Tettey.

Derby featured City old boy Johnson while Jacob Butterfield, Alex Pearce and Jason Shackell were others in the home squad with Norwich connections, whilst Olsson's twin brother, Marcus, was on the Rams' bench.

Hoolahan had the first shot of note in the ninth minute with a dipping effort from the edge of the home penalty area that Scott Carson watched clear his bar.

Neil made a change at the interval with Kyle Lafferty replacing Jerome, who appeared to take a bang in the face during a tussle with Derby's Alex Pearce in the closing stages of the first-half.

John Ruddy had to parry Darren Bent's low angled shot in the 56th minute following a rare lapse in concentration from the visiting backline.

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The City number one then got the faintest of touches to divert Butterfield's goalbound shot around his far post.

Derby's weight of pressure since the interval finally told in the 65th minute when Will Hughes raced to the edge of the Norwich area before the ball squirmed to the late-arriving Johnson who guided a low left-footed shot past Ruddy.

Hoolahan made way for Alex Pritchard in the immediate aftermath. Alex Tettey then hobbled off to be replaced by Steven Whittaker for the final quarter, which saw Robbie Brady moved into central midfield.

Murphy tumbled inside the Derby area in the final minute of normal time but Hooper waved away penalty appeals as Neil turned to remonstrate with the fourth official.

• Derby: Carson, Keogh, Russell (Weimann 85), Ince, Bent (Vydra 88), Baird, Johnson, Pearce, Butterfield, Hughes (Bryson 80), Lowe. Subs (not used): Mitchell, Shackell, Anya, Olsson.

• Bookings: Pearce (foul on Pritchard, 86), Weimann (ungentlemanly conduct, 90)

• Goal: Johnson (65)

• Norwich: Ruddy, Martin, Bennett, Bassong, Brady, Tettey (Whittaker 72), Mulumbu, Jacob Murphy, Hoolahan (Pritchard 67), Naismith, Jerome (Lafferty 45). Subs (not used): McGovern, Oliveira, Klose, Josh Murphy.

• Bookings: Lafferty (foul on Keogh, 78); Martin (foul on Russell, 85)

• Time added on: 1 minute / 5 minutes

• Referee: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire)

• Attendance: 29,311

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