Conor Hourihane’s late strike from range was the difference between the two teams, as the visitors struggled to muster a serious threat on the hosts’ goal for large periods.
The clean sheet, along with limiting the Yellows to just 0.43 expected goals according to xG Data, would have been very pleasing for Liam Rosenior after Oxford were the joint-top scorers, despite finishing eighth, in League One last season.
Curtis Davies was an enormous presence at the back last term and played a key role in the club’s opening day victory.
The 37-year-old took to Instagram to reflect on a crucial opening day win.
He wrote: “A big three points and a clean sheet on opening day to start as we mean to go on.
“Pride park was rocking.”
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Davies and Eiran Cashin have the foundations of a promotion-pushing centre back partnership in the third tier, and the latter should be in a great position to kick on in his career, from playing alongside the 37-year-old.
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Davies was one of the best centre backs in the Championship last season, and it was a huge coup for the Rams to keep him around this summer after reaching the end of his contract.
Next up, the Rams take on free-flowing Charlton Athletic at The Valley after Ben Garner’s men drew 2-2 at Accrington Stanley on League One’s opening day.
Swindon Town were the top scoring team in League Two last season under Garner, and it will be interesting to see how the Derby backline handle the likes of Jayden Stockley, Corey Blackett-Taylor and Scott Fraser in South London.
With players of the quality of Hourihane and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, the Rams should be able to hurt the Addicks in the final third.