Andreas Weimann scored against his former side as Derby County beat Aston Villa for the first time since 2001.
Weimann and substitute Johnny Russell netted either side of half time at Pride Park to move the Rams just three points behind the Championship automatic places.
David Nugent came close to putting the hosts ahead twice inside the opening two minutes. He was put through on goal by the club’s top scorer Matej Vydra, but defender Neil Taylor cleared the ball away. Nugent then attempted a bicycle kick, with his effort only narrowly over the frame of the goal.
Villa goalkeeper Sam Johnstone was then called into action by the Derby forward Nugent, whose header at the back post from a Craig Forsyth cross was tipped over by the ex-Manchester United stopper.
Derby then took the lead midway through former Villa winger Andreas Weimann; Whelan cleared the ball straight towards Vydra, who was clean through on goal, he unselfishly squared the ball to Weimann who slotted home at the back post for his second goal in as many games. The last time he managed this feat was back in November 2015.
It was also Derby’s first goal against Villa since Daryl Powell netted in a 2-1 defeat for the Rams back in January 2002.
The visitors came close to equalising early in the second half, but Rams skipper Richard Keogh blocked Robert Snodgrass’ effort on the line, which proved to be the visitors’ best chance of the game.
Keogh then had a great chance of his own; his header from a Joe Ledley free kick was unable to beat Johnstone from close range.
Bradley Johnson returned to the starting line-up in place of the injured Tom Lawrence, he nearly extended the hosts lead with less than 20 minutes to go, but Johnstone was able to push his diving header from Chris Baird’s corner over the bar.
Second half replacement Russell secured the victory in second half stoppage time after captain Keogh made a surging forward and played the Scottish winger clean through on goal, Russell poked the ball past Johnstone for his third league goal of the season.
Derby midfielder Tom Huddlestone was making his 500th career appearance in the match.
The win for the Rams leaves them in fourth position in the Championship table, just three points behind the automatic promotion places, whilst the Villans remain fifth, just a point ahead of seventh placed Leeds United.