A Chris Martin penalty saw Blackpool slump to yet another defeat, but it could have been so different.
The Seasiders missed a host of good chances on a wet and windy night at Bloomfield Road before Chris Martin’s penalty 10 minutes from time handed Derby the win.
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.