HALF-TIME: Bristol City 0, Derby County 2
Derby's poor away record of eight points from a possible 30 exactly mirrored City's meagre return from 10 games played at Ashton Gate this season.
Beaten in their last four outings on the road, the Rams nevertheless made the better start and almost went in front in the sixth minute, Michael Jacobs meeting Craig Bryson's deep cross with a flick that drew a fine one-handed save from Tom Heaton.
City were slow out of the blocks, but gathered some momentum when Sam Baldock beat Derby's offside trap and tested Adam Legzdins with a low drive that came back off the keeper's legs.
Ryan Taylor's ability to hold the ball up was causing the visitors problems and his neat set-up invited Albert Adomah to try his luck from inside the penalty area. But the winger's shot went high and wide.
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Derby proved just as wasteful, Paul Coutts electing to pass to Bryson instead of shooting when he only had Heaton to beat.
But the Rams made no mistake when opportunity came knocking 11 minutes before the break. Jacobs swung a cross over from the left flank and Jeff Hendrick was allowed a free run to turn the ball in at the near post from six yards.
Derby doubled their lead in identical circumstances two minutes later. Gareth Roberts sent over a cross from the left and Bryson left red-shirted defenders trailing in his wake to beat Heaton with a close-range header at the front post.
City tried to respond and Adomah played in Sam Baldock, only for the striker to direct his shot straight at Legzdins, who made a smart save.
Derby looked the more likely to score and right-back John Brayford cut inside and sent a venomous left-footed drive inches wide of Heaton's upright.
Robins boss Derek McInnes made a change shortly before half-time, withdrawing the ineffectual Matthew Bates, moving Liam Fontaine to centre-back and sending on left-back Greg Cunningham for his first appearance since September.