James Chester's first goal for Aston Villa enabled the Birmingham club to record a 1-0 Championship home win over Derby - their first victory in 11 games and a first in 2017,
The change in fortunes is a major relief for Villa and their manager, Steve Bruce, following five successive defeats.
For Derby it was a familiar outcome at Villa Park where they have now lost on each of their last 10 visits It was, however, far from a conclusive win for the hosts.
As usual they found themselves under strong pressure in the last 20 minutes defending a lead carved out by Chester's 25th-minute strike.
Their anxiety was increased two minutes into added time when Leandro Bacuna was sent off following a coming together with a linesman.
Early in the proceedings only the brilliance of goalkeeper Scott Carson kept Derby in the game. He produced a superb save to keep out a goalbound header from Villa's skipper and man of the match Chester.
Typically, Villa made most of the early running with Derby dropping a blanket defence to keep out the home side.
Alarmingly Villa's defence was prone to mistakes which allowed Derby to look menacing on the break. Darren Bent, who earlier in his career was Aston Villa's most expensive capture, had a couple of goal attempts blocked.
Increasingly it became a game of frustration for Villa. They were often badly disjointed with Jonathan Kodjia completely out of sorts against a resolute Derby defence.
But in the 25th minute Villa finally achieved a break through. Following a right-wing corner from Henri Lansbury, the ball bobbed around and it was a determined Chester who forced the ball into the net from very close range as Carson was simply unable to intervene.
Forced into a change of approach, Derby had strong appeals for a penalty rejected for a tackle by Nathan Baker on Bent as the Rams striker moved on Villa's goal.
Two minutes into the second half, Villa very nearly increased their lead. Bacuna produced a right-wing cross, which the diving teenager Andre Green headed against the post.
Villa's skipper Chester certainly earned the plaudits. It was only his timely intervention which cut off Johnny Russell's low pass to the waiting Bent.
But it was Villa's Scottish international defender Alan Hutton who embarrassingly wasted an excellent chance to increase the Birmingham club's lead.
Finding himself in unfamiliar territory in front of goal with only Carson to beat he meekly shot straight at the keeper.
As it was, Villa had to endure some relentless pressure with Sam Johnstone rising to the occasion.
With the pressure on Villa growing with every minute Ince very nearly equalised in with a low shot which went across the face of Villa's goal with no one able to get a touch.
Aston Villa boss Steve Bruce:
"The linesman got the decision horribly wrong as it was a throw-in for us. It was a huge frustration but he overstepped the mark and he knows that. It was kind of a chest bump and it was disappointing as he had given a brilliant performance.
"But with Leo it is all about himself. He always tests the manager as he makes a habit of being late, but against Derby he reminded what a good player he is."
Derby boss Steve McClaren:
"This was another bizarre game. I don't know how we lost. We were dominant from start to finish and it was an excellent second half. We did everything but score but all matches are hinged on decisions. It was a stonewall penalty and it has won them the game.
"Had we had the opportunity to score it would have been a different result. The last few games have not gone for us but if we continue playing like we did against Villa we will win games. We are capable of going on a run."