Accrington Stanley lost 4-0 to in-form Derby County who extended their unbeaten League One run to 11 games.
The Reds were under pressure from the off as the rampant Rams led 3-0 at the break with the win moving them to fourth place in the table.
Paul Warne’s side were reduced to ten-men with 11 minutes to go but Stanley couldn’t take advantage.
Stanley, on their first visit to Pride Park, remain out of the bottom four by a one goal difference as they now have a break from league action, focusing on the Emirates FA Cup.
John Coleman brought in Baba Fernandes into defence in the one change from the loss at Morecambe with Joe Pritchard sidelined for the rest of the season.
League appearance record holder Sean McConville, on his way back from injury, had to settle for a place on the bench as he pushes to get back in the starting line-up.
Derby forced the early pressure and took the lead on seven minutes when Stanley couldn’t clear David McGoldrick’s ball into the box and it fell kindly for Tom Barkhuizen to stroke home his third goal for County.
It was 2-0 on 16 minutes when the Rams counter-attacked quickly and Korey Smith fed Conor Hourihane who finished superbly into the bottom corner of the net.
It could have been three a minute later but Lewis Dobbin fired narrowly wide and, while Stanley did force some pressure around the Derby box, the Rams continued to dominate the chances.
Barkhuizen’s cross just needed a touch from McGoldrick on 32 minutes but thankfully it sailed through everyone before the former Preston striker toe poked a ball over the bar after racing through.
In the second minute of added time in the first half, McGoldrick slotted home a penalty after Ethan Hamilton was judged to have handled a close range strike.
McConville came on for the second half but Stanley suffered within 20 seconds of the re-start when a short back pass was leapt on by Jason Knight and he passed for Barkhuizen for another easy slot home.
Stanley tried to get one back, McConville trying his luck from distance on 48 minutes with Joe Wildsmith pushing it over – it was the Reds first shot on target.
Both sides had half-chances before John Coleman made a triple substitution on 64 minutes with Leslie Adekoya, Josh Woods and Jack Nolan on for the Reds, with Derby changing four players at the same time.
Three minutes later, Stanley were then forced into a change with Mitch Clark limping off, replaced by Harry Perritt.
Rams substitute William Osula had a free header on 78 minutes which produced a superb point blank save from Toby Savin before, a minute later, Osula was sent off for kicking out at Liam Coyle.
The Reds appealed for a penalty in the final minutes when Woods went down in the area but nothing was given.
McGoldrick fired wide in added time and Adekoya's strike was easy for Wildsmith on an unhappy first trip to Pride Park for Stanley.
Stanley: Savin, Fernandes (McConville), Astley, Rodgers, Conneely, Clark (Perritt), Hamilton, Coyle, Longelo (Nolan), Whalley (Woods), Leigh (Adekoya)
Subs: Jensen, Martin
Yellow: Whalley, Rodgers, Fernandes
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