Derby County player ratings v Leeds United: Ibe and Buxton excellent

Derby County stadium entrance

Liverpool-owned winger Jordon Ibe impressed against Leeds United as Derby County won 2-0 to move third in the Championship table

Derby County were in fine form against Leeds United, winning 2-0 and ensuring their push for promotion lost no momentum going into 2015. 

The Rams were in the ascendancy from start to finish, but came up against a resilient Leeds side that promised to make it a difficult night for Steve McClaren and his men. 

The first half started slowly, with the Rams racking up possession but few shots on target, and both sides looked content with heading into half-time with the score level.

However, the influential Will Hughes forced Leeds midfielder Alex Mowatt into a mistake late in the half with a stunning cross which the young prospect put into the back of his own net. 

The second half started much like the first one ended with the East Midlands side on top, as the impressive Jake Buxton was able to out-jump his marker to head home a Jeff Hendrick free-kick and make it 2-0. 

Although in control for the whole game, Steve McClaren's men couldn't add to their two goals, despite a number of chances, and played out a comfortable 2-0 victory without many problems from the Yorkshire side.

The win moves the Rams up to third in the Championship league table on 45 points. Leeds sit 20th on 24 points from 24 games. 

Here is how the Derby County team rated v Leeds United:

Lee Grant - 8 - He didn't have much to do, but did what he needed to well. 

Cyrus Christie - 7 - A good performance by a player who often looked to help in attack, but struggled to find that extra bit of quality when needed in the final third. He was never in danger of being beaten defensively and he was able to command his line without much issue. 

Richard Keogh - 7 - He had the quieter game out of the two centre backs, but did enough when questions were asked of him. He showed good desire for the physical challenge and good quality when distributing the ball to teammates. 

Jake Buxton - 8 - The former Burton Albion centre back was back in the starting line-up and back to his best. He scored the all-important second goal and was a constant rock at the heart of the Rams defence, not allowing the United front line a glimpse of the ball. 

Craig Forsyth - 8 - Impenetrable in defence, dangerous going forward. It was arguably his best performance so far this season, despite not making or scoring a goal. The threat he carried on the wing allowed his side to pin Leeds back into their own half. 

John Eustace - 8 - The returning old head in the side helped a lot and showed just what Derby were missing from their last game against Leeds. He was able to offer a calm, composed foundation for his side to build on and, when needed, would more than happily put his foot in where it hurts. A much-needed, professional performance in the centre of the park.

Will Hughes - 8 - MOTM - He created the first through sheer intent and perhaps should have been in a position to score or assist one or two more. He was the main threat against Leeds on the night and was able to cause the opposition defence no end of panic with his willingness to drive at their back line. The performance caps off an impressive month for the 19-year-old. 

Jeff Hendrick - 6 - He created the second goal with a fine free-kick, but wasn't able to put in a performance to match his two central midfield teammates. Hendrick had the chance to offer a serious attacking threat, with Eustace in defensive midfield, but often made the wrong runs at the wrong times. Nevertheless, the assist will no doubt do him the world of good and will also go a long way in help him secure his spot in the Derby team for the Ipswich game. 

Jordon Ibe - 8 - A very good all-round performance from a player who will now have to fight tooth-and-nail for his position in the Derby side following the news Jamie Ward is ready to return from injury. He perhaps should have claimed a goal or an assist for his performance, but, like Forsyth, had a huge effect on the game purely through the threat and danger he posed once given the ball. 

Johnny Russell - 6 - Not one of his better days this month, but not a bad performance by any stretch of the imagination. Although he struggled to get on the ball in key areas, the Scottish attacker was able to help the Rams in their build-up play on many occasions and worked hard for his teammates. 

Chris Martin - 6 - He will undoubtedly be the most disappointed Derby player in the side, purely because he was unable to carve out a real golden opportunity to add to his goal tally this season. He battled well, but he will be eager to put this performance behind him and return to goalscoring ways in his next game against Ipswich Town. 

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