Hulse helps see off Pilgrims
Derby pulled further clear of trouble after an impressive 3-0 victory at out-of-form Plymouth.
Last Updated: 07/02/09 6:04pm
Derby County pulled further clear of trouble after an impressive 3-0 victory at out-of-form Plymouth Argyle.
Gary Teale, who finished last season on loan at Home Park, has been rejuvenated since Nigel Clough took charge of Derby and he opened the scoring just before half-time.
Rob Hulse increased the lead immediately after the break and the Rams striker then grabbed his second of the game to finish off the Pilgrims.
Having beaten rivals Nottingham Forest in the FA Cup in midweek and Coventry last weekend, Derby continued their fine form to make it three consecutive wins in all competitions.
Derby began the game in confident mood and almost went ahead after only two minutes when Robbie Savage's clever reverse ball played in Kris Commons but his effort was well blocked by Plymouth goalkeeper Romain Larrieu.
Only moments later Plymouth themselves wasted a gilt-edged chance to go in front when Alan Judge was left unmarked at the back post but fired wide.
Commons looked the most dangerous player on the pitch and came agonisingly close to giving Derby the lead when his 25-yard free-kick left Larrieu rooted to the spot but clipped the top of the bar.
Midway through the half Savage got caught on the ball and Jamie Mackie shot from fully 30 yards but his fierce effort cannoned off the bar.
With half-time approaching Teale's persistence paid off as he drove forward before smashing home an unstoppable effort that gave Larrieu no chance.
Plymouth came close to an instant reply when Judge got past Jay McEveley inside the area but his shot flashed just wide of the far post.
Derby made the perfect start to the second half and doubled their lead within a minute of the restart when Commons crossed from the left and Hulse squeezed the ball past Larrieu from close range.
The home side were in disarray and just six minutes later Teale got down the left unchallenged and his cross found Hulse who made no mistake again to make the game safe.
The Rams could have made it four but Larrieu did well to tip Commons' rasping 20-yard strike over the bar, while Stephen Bywater made an excellent save from Mackie at the other end.