Paul Warne admitted his Derby side “got away with one” after they came from behind to beat struggling Cheltenham 2-1.
The head coach saw his team struggle before two moments of quality from Max Bird and James Collins rescued Derby.
Cheltenham unsettled County and thoroughly deserved to take the lead five minutes into the second half through Liam Sercombe, whose deflected shot bobbled into the bottom right corner.
The goal was greeted with boos from the home fans, but they were cheering 10 minutes later when Bird curled a free-kick over the wall and into the top corner.
Cheltenham thought they should have had a penalty when George Lloyd went down under Louie Sibley’s challenge, but Derby won it in the 80th minute when Collins acrobatically volleyed Nathaniel Mendez-Laing’s cross past Luke Southwood.
Warne said: “I don’t think we deserved a win.
“Cheltenham played the pitch better than we did, it was definitely a game for winter football. They stretched us first half, they ran in behind, didn’t give us any time on the ball and we didn’t show any character on the ball.
“We played safe, we didn’t have any aggression in our game, so we get booed off at half-time which is understandable.
“But fair play to the lads, you can crumble and feel sorry for yourself, but we kept going and two amazing bits of class got us back in it.
“We definitely gave away a penalty and we definitely got away with one.
“Cheltenham were more than value for one point and played the game possibly better than us. We haven’t played great, but we’ve won which is a good sign.”
Cheltenham manager Darrell Clarke said: “Frustration again, there was a blatant penalty and I was very frustrated how we defended the set-piece.
“The game plan was working well, we were frustrating the crowd, we got the lead and so it’s disappointing to come away with nothing.
“We’ve played Portsmouth, Bolton, Derby and I thought to get three points, we warranted more, the performances warranted more, but we haven’t got more so we can’t be victims, we can’t let that affect us.
“We haven’t got what we deserved, but that’s football so we have to get back on the training pitch and get better at the things we aren’t doing so well.
“The lads are fighting, the application is good, but the game’s about inches and I’ve got some players who can kick their careers on if they narrow down those inches.
“A good honest group, but can they raise those quality levels, can we manage situations better? Individually and collectively as a team we have to be better at that.”
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