Wayne Rooney is one of Derby's interim coaching team and hoping to become manager

Credit: PA

Bristol City 1 Derby County 0

Wayne Rooney found the road from legendary player to potential manager can be a rocky one as he saw his side knocked out by a sucker punch 12 minutes from the end of what would otherwise have been a creditable draw.

Given the dire straits in which Derby currently find themselves, every point counts and this was certainly a gut-wrenching loss after they had dominated possession and looked on a par with a team 19 places above them.

Famara Diedhiou’s 78th-minute goal from a swift counter-attack down the right flank knocked the stuffing out of the visitors and made it one win in 12 to date this season. For Bristol it was a third win in a row and a rise up to third in the table, one point off the top.

It was a toss up to decide which team had had the more difficult build-up to the first game after the latest international window. Derby had parted company with their manager, Phillip Cocu, the previous weekend, while Bristol boss Dean Holden had been forced to deal with another Covid outbreak.

Derby arrived with Rooney as one of their interim coaches. He captained the side, Liam Rosenior roamed the dug-out, and Shay Given and Justin Walker backed him up.

There was plenty of effort, the players listened to the pre-match plea from their skipper to get him on the ball more often and they created the better chances in the first half.  All eyes were firmly fixed on Rooney as he tried to find a way to lift the club off the bottom of the table.

Under Frank Lampard a few seasons ago all the talk at Derby was of possible promotion, whereas now it is all about not falling into the third tier of English football for the first time in 35 years. And all of this against a backdrop of a £60m takeover by Sheikh Khaled bin Zayed Al Nehayan and the search for a successor to Cocu as manager.

Aside from one rasping shot from Martyn Waghorn in the seventh minute, which forced Dan Bentley into an acrobatic, full-length save to concede a corner, there was little to get excited about in either penalty box in the first hour.

Waghorn curled another effort just past the post soon after that, and Jamie Paterson blasted over the top when well placed, but it was Diedhiou who finally made the difference.

Match details

Bristol City (4-3-3): Bentley; Hunt, Vyner, Kalas (captain), Dasilva; Paterson (Rowe 90 + 2), Nagy, O’Dowda (Brunt 69); Semenyo, Martin (Diedhiou 69), Wells (Moore 83). Subs Unused: O’Leary, Mariappa, Edwards, Towler YC: Paterson (45)

Derby County (4-2-3-1): Marshall; Byrne (Hector-Ingram 88), Wisdom, Clarke, Buchanan; Rooney (captain), Bird (Sibley 81); Knight, Holmes (Whittaker 72), Lawrence; Waghorn. Subs Unused: Roos, Forsyth, Shinnie, Evans, Davies, MacDonald YC: L Buchanan (58)

Referee: Keith Stroud