A below-par Posh were beaten 3-1 by Derby County, but a defeat for Wolves kept Darren Ferguson's men out of the bottom three.

Peterborough United's hopes of avoiding relegation from the npower Championship suffered a blow as they were beaten 3-1 by Derby County at Pride Park with the Rams finishing with 10-men as their goalkeeper saw red for felling Dwight Gayle.

Inside the opening two minutes, Derby cracked the post as a Paul Coutts cross nearly caught out goalkeeper Bobby Olejnik at his near post.

Hendrick fired wide on 20 minutes after the home side had forced nine corners in the first quarter. Moments later and Connor Sammon was inches away from the deadlock as he skipped past Brisley and curled an effort just past the post.

Forysth cracked a volley wide of the target after a corner had only been half cleared by the Posh defence, under immense pressure.

Keogh headed corner number 13 over the bar, while Buxton also couldn't keep an effort down as the Rams dominated.

Olejnik made a smart stop to deny Coutts, whose drive took a slight deflection. The deadlock was broken on 40 minutes and it had been coming, a move down the left developed and as the ball came across the six-yard box, BRYSON made no mistake, firing into the roof of the net.

In first half stoppage time, Gayle dragged a shot wide of the target as Buxton let the ball roll under his foot. It was a tight angle and the first time Gayle had been involved in proceedings.

Derby: Fielding; Brayford, Keogh, Buxton, Forsyth; Coutts, Hendrick, Bryson, Ward; Sammon Martin. Subs: Legzdins, Davies, Freeman, Bennett, Gjokaj, Jacobs, Hughes.

Posh made a double switch at the interval with Grant McCann and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing replacing Zakuani and Ferdinand.

Gayle failed to divert a McCann shot on 48 minutes while Payne saw a shot blocked as Posh made a positive start to the second period.

However moments later, Derby made it 2-0 as MARTIN was allowed to turn and fire low into the corner past the despairing dive of Olejnik. It was 3-0 moments later as a simple corner kick routine caught Posh cold as KEOGH was allowed to nod home from three yards after the ball was flicked on at the near post.

Posh were given a lifeline on the hour mark as Fielding was sent off for fouling Gayle in the box. McCANN stepped up and coolly converted past substitute Legzdins.

Alex Pritchard replaced Swanson moments later before Tomlin fired a presentable shot wide of the target after Buxton's weak header clear.

Gayle saw a curling effort saved by Legzdins before Derby introduced Ben Davies for Jamie Ward. Gayle had the ball in the back of the net on 83 minutes, but the offside flag cut short any celebrations.

Tomlin fired over while Sammon was denied by goalkeeper Olejnik before the referee brought an end to seven minutes of added time.

Final Score: Derby County 3-1 Posh

Derby: Fielding, Brayford, Bryson (sub Hughes 85min), Buxton, Keogh, Coutts, Hendrick, Ward (sub Davies 74min), Forysth, Martin (sub Legzdins 63min), Sammon. Unused subs: Jacobs, Bennett, Freeman, Gjokaj.

Posh: Olejnik, Alcock, Knight-Percival, Zakuani (sub Mendez-Laing 46min), Brisley, Rowe, Payne, Ferdinand (sub McCann 46min), Swanson (sub Pritchard 63min), Gayle, Tomlin. Unused subs: Day, Cuvelier, Ntlhe, Barnett.

Attendance: 23,753 (1,788 Posh fans)