BRADLEY Johnson scored the winning goal against his old club as Derby County beat Norwich City 1-0 at the iPro Stadium.
Johnson rifled home in the 65th-minute to consign the Canaries to their fifth straight defeat in the Sky Bet Championship.
In the first half, City responded positively to their recent run by going toe-to-toe with their in-form hosts.
Alex Tettey and Youssouf Mulumbu were competing well in front of the back four, and John Ruddy was only called into action once when he palmed clear Thomas Ince's stinging drive.
City moved the ball nicely in offensive moves but Derby's defence was solid, Wes Hoolahan going closest in the opening 45 when his effort from 20 yards whistled over the bar.
Four minutes into the second half, Steven Naismith had the game's best chance up to then when he capitalised on a giveaway only to see Scott Carson get a strong hand to his low shot.
Derby improved, however, and not long after Ruddy had kept out Darren Bent's close-range hit, Johnson beat his former teammate from distance with a trademark blast into the corner after City's midfield had failed to retreat.
With Cameron Jerome and Tettey forced off injured, Alex Neil's options limited as he looked for his side to squeeze out an equaliser, and Derby retained control to claim their fourth straight win in the league.
HOW THEY LINED UP
Neil made three changes from the loss at QPR a week ago, two of them enforced with both Graham Dorrans and Martin Olsson missing through suspension.
Mulumbu came into central midfield for just his second league start of the campaign and his first City appearance in over two months.
Hoolahan and Jerome returned to Neil's starting eleven, with Nelson Oliveira the man to drop to the substitutes' bench. Alex Pritchard was also named in reserve.
Former Canaries Player of the Season Johnson played against the Club for the first time since leaving in 2015, while others featuring versus their old team included Alex Pearce and Jacob Butterfield.
There was little to separate the two teams when the clock ticked past the hour mark, and City will have sensed the chance to bring an end to their sequence of defeats.
Johnson hadn't scored this season before the ball fell to him 25 yards from goal after the visitors had allowed Will Hughes far too much space to advance with the ball through the middle of the park.
The holding midfielder's shot was crisp enough to swing away from Ruddy and into the bottom corner for what proved to be the decisive moment of a tight contest.
WHAT IT MEANS
City's barren run goes on after they appeared to tire in the second half, allowing Derby to take the initiative.
At the close of the day's play, Neil's men had dropped out of the play-off positions in the table as a result of Sheffield Wednesday's 2-0 win at Wolves.
Bradley Johnson (65)
: Carson; Baird, Keogh (c), Pearce, Lowe; Johnson, Butterfield, Hughes (Bryson 80); Ince, Russell (Weimann 85), Bent (Vydra 88). Subs not used
: Mitchell (GK), Shackell, Anya, Olsson.
: Ruddy; Martin (c), Bennett, Bassong, Brady; Tettey (Whittaker 72), Mulumbu; Ja. Murphy, Hoolahan (Pritchard 67), Naismith; Jerome (Lafferty 45). Subs not used
: McGovern (GK), Oliveira, Klose, Jo. Murphy.
: Simon Hooper
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