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Derby battle to win despite looming points deduction

Max Bird celebrated his 21st birthday with a stunning strike that put crisis club Derby on course for a 2-1 win over Stoke.

The midfielder unleashed an unstoppable shot from distance before Curtis Davies doubled the lead with a header.

Derby, set to go into administration and incur a 12 point deduction, were by far the better side in the first half but Stoke hit back in the second.

Former Derby winger Tom Ince pounced to give the visitors hope and Derby had to withstand fierce pressure to hold on for a morale-boosting victory.

Despite the club’s dire financial position, there was a defiant mood among the home fans and Derby responded with a positive start.

Ravel Morrison created the first chance in the fourth minute when he played in Lee Buchanan but his shot was blocked at the near post.

Stoke were guilty of too many misplaced passes in the opening 15 minutes but Ince found the right ball in the 21st only for Graeme Shinnie to deny Sam Clucas.

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