Bolton ended a run of five Sky Bet Championship games without a win as they denied Derby the chance to move up to fourth in the table with a 1-0 victory at the University of Bolton Stadium.
Frank Lampard’s side dumped Manchester United out of the Carabao Cup earlier in the week with a dramatic penalty shootout win at Old Trafford but they were frustrated by a battling display from Wanderers.
Derby came into this game with just one defeat in their last eight games in all competitions but they struggled to create many clear opportunities despite dominating possession.
A 10th minute goal from Craig Noone proved the winner for Bolton as he headed home a Will Buckley cross from a tight angle.
Moments earlier, Derby had a lucky escape when a poorly judged backpass by Craig Forsyth ended up with Buckley but he was unable to react in time and Fikayo Tomori was able to recover and clear the danger.
Despite enjoying plenty of possession, Derby were unable to create a clear chance. In the 20th minute, Harry Wilson lined up a free-kick from 30 yards out but he tamely fired straight into Bolton’s defensive wall.
Bolton picked up two yellow cards in three minutes with Josh Magennis booked for a late challenge on Bradley Johnson and then Mason Bennett was fouled by Pawel Olkowski just outside the Wanderers penalty area.
Buckley had a 32nd minute penalty appeal waved away by referee Scott Duncan after he appeared to be blocked by Jayden Bogle.
Derby’s Johnson was booked two minutes before half-time for a heavy tackle on Erhun Oztumer and a third Wanderers player was yellow carded in stoppage time – Jason Lowe with a lunge on Wilson.
Seconds before the half-time whistle, Oztumer was narrowly wide with an ambitious snap shot from just outside the box after a mix-up in the Rams defence.
Derby goalkeeper Scott Carson was hugely relieved to see the ball miss the inside of the post after he was left flat-footed.
Derby looked to up the pace in the second half but Bolton remained relatively untroubled at the back while offering a threat on the counter.
In the 56th minute, the Rams made a double substitution with Jack Marriott and Tom Lawrence replacing Mason Bennett and David Nugent respectively.
Within moments of coming on, Marriott shot wide from distance but the better chances continued to fall to Bolton.
Noone was narrowly wide with a first time shot then Carson had to get down quickly to save well from Buckley.
Bolton boss Phil Parkinson made a double change with 16 minutes remaining – Christian Doidge replaced Magennis and Noone made way for Gary O’Neil.
Lampard made his final change moments later when Martyn Waghorn came on for Wilson.
There was a standing ovation for the busy Oztumer when he was replaced by Josh Vela with four minutes remaining.
Having been relatively untroubled for much of the game Matthews, who was a late replacement for the injured Ben Alnwick, made a superb close save from Mason Mount in the last minute of normal time to secure all three points for Bolton.