Garry Monk was a frustrated head coach after the thickness of the woodwork denied his Leeds United side a point away to Derby County at the iPro stadium.
A single goal from substitute Johnny Russell gave Derby a narrow 1-0 win with Kyle Bartley and Marcus Antonsson both seeing efforts come back off the woodwork for Leeds.
United boss Monk was disappointed with the way his team played on their return after the international break.
He said: “I said to the players at half-time that we need to put our game on the pitch a little bit better and we came out and we started to do that and then we conceded a poor goal from our point of view which put us on the back foot.
“We had a go in the last 25 minutes and had a couple of chances but overall I think we didn’t do enough of the things we have done really well in recent games with the ball to give ourselves the best chance of getting something.
“We probably deserved something from the game but it’s one of those where you probably can’t complain that you didn’t. We didn’t do enough of the good things that we have been doing recently to really carve them open or create really clear opportunities.
“We hit the woodwork a couple of times and were probably the wrong side of those margins but the pleasing thing for me is we are still very competitive in games and were fighting for the result right up to the very end.”
Monk made just one change to the side that had played in the previous three matches with Alex Mowatt in for the injured Stuart Dallas on the left and they did not look in much danger in the opening half as Derby settled in under returning manager Steve McClaren.
United were short on chances as well although they did put together a good move just before the half-hour when Chris Wood headed narrowly wide.
At the other end, Jacob Butterfield fired well wide from distance and Matej Vydra hit a shot wide from a tough angle.
Leeds finished the half strongly and after winning a corner were unlucky not to go ahead as Bartley got on the end of Mowatt’s corner only to see his header smack off the crossbar.
Derby had to make a change early in the second half when Ikechi Anya had to limp off, but his replacement, Russell came up with what turned out to be the winning goal with virtually his first touch as a corner was not convincingly cleared and his shot through a crowded goalmouth appeared to go under unsighted keeper Robert Green into the net.
Leeds made their first change as Kemar Roofe replaced the ineffective Hadi Sacko out wide, but there was no improvement in their attacking play with Green having to make a save to keep out Will Hughes’ shot.
The final 25 minutes, however, saw United play their best football. Luke Ayling mis-hit a shot and Kalvin Phillips saw his 25-yard free-kick well saved by former Leeds keeper Scott Carson. From the follow-up, Roofe was thwarted by a great tackle.
Derby seemed to sit back and could have paid on 82 minutes when Charlie Taylor’s cross was met by Roofe, but he could not get his effort on target.
Hernandez bent a shot just wide after more good build-up play involving Taylor as United turned up the heat.
Six minutes of added time were signalled to give Leeds more time to get an equaliser and they almost got it, first when Bartley’s shot was from eight yards out was saved by Carson then when they hit the woodwork again.
In the final minute substitute Antonsson bent a fine shot towards goal from just inside the box only for the ball to hit the post. On such thin margins the points were decided with Leeds not at their best but unlucky not to bring something back from their visit to the north Midlands.
Derby County 1
Leeds United 0
Saturday, October 15, 2016
Derby: Carson, Christie, Keogh, Pearce, Lowe, Anya (Russell 52), Johnson, Butterfield (Bryson 75), Hughes (Baird 84), Ince, Vydra.
Leeds: Green, Ayling, Bartley, Jansson, Taylor, O’Kane, Phillips, Hernandez, Sacko (Roofe 59), Mowatt (Grimes 80), Wood (Antonsson 82).
Referee: Tony Harrington.