It was honours even in the opening game of 2019.
The Boro side initially showed one change from that which started the game against Ipswich, Adam Clayton returning as Stewart Downing dropped to the bench. However, Aden Flint didn’t make it through the warm-up (hamstring) and was replaced by Danny Batth, with Ashley Fletcher replacing him on the bench. It was the first league game Flint had missed this season.
That meant a 350th career start for George Friend and 100th career league start for Jordan Hugill.
Derby were unchanged from the side that started the remarkable game at Carrow Road on Saturday when they came from behind twice and won 4-3.
It took just 87 seconds for Derby to smash their way into the lead.
A sweeping move from the halfway line cut Boro open through the middle, Jack Marriott picked out Harry Wilson and he cracked home from close to the edge of the box.
Derby went for a quick second but if they expected to find Boro rattled they were in for a surprise.
Two crosses flashed through the Boro box, but neither caused a problem and as Tony Pulis’ side grew into the game they were the ones who looked as though they would be next on the scoresheet.
Friend headed wide from a George Saville corner, then both Jonny Howson and Lewis Wing had close-range shots blocked.
Successive corners kept Derby on the back foot and when Hugill was fouled a yard up from the edge of the box Boro had a free-kick in a dangerous position, though the chance was wasted when Saville drilled a low delivery straight at the wall.
The response had been encouraging, but at the break, other than the goal, neither goalkeeper had been unduly troubled.
It took Boro seven minutes of the second half to draw level when Friend delivered a superb cross from out deep on the left and Jordan Hugill headed home from deep inside the box.
Minutes later Batth brought an unconventional but effective save from Scott Carson with a close-range header and not long after Dani Ayala headed wide from close range.
Boro’s tails were up and Derby looked vulnerable.
However, the Rams settled and took the game back into Boro territory.
Strong defending repelled any threat and there was a near constant threat on the break.
It did, though, take a very smart save from Darren Randolph late in the game to keep out a well-struck shot from David Nugent just before Mason Mount fizzed a low shot just wide from outside the box.
In the closing minutes Britt Assombalonga replaced Hugill and made his 250th career appearance.
Scorers Wilson 2, Hugill 52
Derby: Carson, Bogle, Keogh, Tomori, Wisdom, Wilson (Huddlestone 48), Mount, Evans (Nugent 77), Waghorn (Holmes 68), Marriott, Jozefzoon. Subs: Roos (gk); Bryson, Pearce, Lowe.
Boro: Randolph, Fry, Batth, Ayala, Friend, Howson, Clayton, Besic, Wing, Saville (Downing 70), Hugill (Assombalonga 87). Subs: Lonergan, McNair, Tavernier, Fletcher, Gestede.
Referee: Robert Jones. Merseyside.
Attendance: 28,123 (2,130 Boro)