Jacob Brown scored the only goal as Stoke recorded a 1-0 win which pushed Derby closer to the Championship relegation zone.
The winger headed home with 16 minutes to go to make it seven games without victory for the struggling Rams.
The visitors, who are winless since February 23, failed to register a single shot on target during a lacklustre display.
Defeat leaves them just five points ahead of third-bottom Rotherham, who have four games in hand.
Stoke enjoyed the better of the first half in terms of territory and possession although the game started slowly, with Andre Wisdom and Teden Mengi clearing early Tommy Smith crosses as the home side pegged Derby back.
Rams midfielder Louie Sibley then earned a talking-to from referee Jarred Gillett after he caught Nick Powell late in the 11th minute.
Visiting goalkeeper Kelle Roos made a decent save after Brown was flagged for offside from Joe Allen’s pass after 14 minutes, while Smith picked up a yellow card seven minutes later after going through the back of Lee Buchanan.
Roos then spilt a Brown shot out for a corner after the Stoke man got a strike away from a tight angle in the 23rd minute.
Smith picked up a knock five minutes later following a Buchanan tackle to further hit the flow of the game.
Powell was caught offside after 36 minutes as Derby’s well-organised defence continued to stifle the hosts.
Adam Davis cut out Buchanan’s dangerous cross in the 39th minute before Colin Kazim-Richards drilled a long-range effort wide as Derby finished the half strongly.
Powell sent a shot wide five minutes after the interval before Sibley dragged an effort past the post soon after having found space just inside the box.
Powell skied a shot high and wide a minute later after Buchanan put him under pressure and Kazim-Richards became the latest player to miss the target after 56 minutes as the game briefly opened up.
Derby’s Nathan Byrne was fortunate to escape a booking after hacking down Powell in the 68th minute, while Graeme Shinnie just failed to get on the end of Jason Knight’s drilled cross a minute later as the visitors pushed for a much-needed goal.
However, it was Brown who finally broke the deadlock when he headed home from Powell’s cross after 74 minutes.
Roos got down well to turn away Danny Batth’s header as Stoke threatened a second before Brown hit the follow-up into the side-netting.
Mengi blazed over after a corner dropped to him as Derby’s last chance went begging with five minutes to go.
What the managers said…
Stoke’s Michael O’Neill: It was the type of game where one goal would win it. We had a lot of control in the first half but we did not create enough. Our play was good from back to front but we couldn’t open them up. That is credit to their defending. They were tough to break down and we knew we had to be patient. We said at half-time we have been here before. We had to find a way to win the game and that is something we need to improve on given how many clean sheets we have had.
“The performance was excellent, we just had to make sure we saw it out. Our play was good in the second half and the goal was a good finish. Jacob has had a tough time in recent weeks. His form and confidence has dipped, but one thing you know is that he will empty his tank for you. The international break is welcome. It has been a relentless season, we will get a break and then build up to the Bristol City game.”
Derby’s Wayne Rooney: “It was a disappointing performance, especially in the first half. I felt the game was like a testimonial in the first half. That is fine for Stoke with where they are in the table, but it is not acceptable for us. There was a lack of aggression. Our game plan was to play on the front foot and be aggressive. We felt we could cause them trouble if we did that and in the end we did anything but that.
“I’m bitterly disappointed with the performance. The run of form over the last few weeks has not been good enough. If we didn’t know before then we know now that we are in a relegation battle. The international break has come at a good time. It gives us time to get some energy back and to rest mentally and physically. It gives me time to reassess the team and the players and see if there is anything I can do to get more out of the players.”