McGoldrick penalty gives Town winning end to the season as Blues finish one place adrift
The striker, who impressed throughout the 90 minutes, sent Scott Carson the wrong way from the spot after Teddy Bishop had been brought down by Richard Keogh.
Bart Bialkowski was rarely troubled in the Town goal in a game of few chances with the Rams finishing the game with 10 men after George Thorne was stretchered off late on with the hosts having used all their substitutes.
Luke Chambers returned to the side after recovering from an ankle injury to replace Josh Emmanuel, Adam McDonnell coming in for his League debut for Blues.
Derby started in positive fashion and it took an excellent save from Bialkowski to deny Craig Bryson from inside the area, Town responding with McGoldrick having a shot blocked.
Tom Ince fired high and wide, Freddie Sears far more accurate with a left foot snapshot beaten out by Carson at the other end in a free-flowing start to the game.
Thorne couldn’t direct his header on target from a corner, McGoldrick then seeing an effort deflected wide with Sears’ cross forced behind as McGoldrick threatened at the near post.
Will Hughes curled a left footer wide, then Bishop went the closest to breaking the deadlock in the first half hour, Liam Feeney’s cross cannoning into the midfielder’s path but he couldn’t stab the ball past Carson.
Chris Martin sent a free-kick over from the edge of the box before a weaving run from Bishop on 33 minutes brought a rash challenge from Richard Keogh.
Referee Tim Robinson pointed to the spot after a delay and McGoldrick did the rest from 12 yards.
Bialkowski gathered from Hughes’ cross, the Town ‘keeper then quick off his line to hack clear from Johnny Russell’s header down aimed at Martin.
Bialkowski saved well from Ince’s free-kick, Derby then having a penalty claim when Russell went down under Myles Kenlock’s challenge.
Referee Robinson wasn’t moved and from a Town break Keogh was shown a yellow card for a foul on McGoldrick who was threatening to get away just before the break.
Luke Hyam replaced Cole Skuse at the break, Jake Buxton on for Keogh for the Rams.
Bialkowski did enough to keep out Bryson’s shot, then Martin headed wide from Russell’s cross before McDonnell made way for Jonathan Douglas before the hour.
Russell couldn’t find the net after neat play between him and Martin inside the Town box, Martin then making way for former Blue, Darren Bent.
Brett Pitman replaced Bishop for the final 20 minutes, McGoldrick testing Carson with a right foot striker after cutting inside from the left.
Bent whipped an excellent delivery across goal, Ince sending another effort over the bar, Douglas to Town’s rescue seconds later as he blocked the on-rushing Thorne’s shot.
The Rams’ midfielder, who has been hindered by injury over the last two years, sadly had to be stretchered off moments later, looking almost certain to miss Derby’s Play-Off games.
Town held on through the eight minutes of added on time to move above Cardiff and end the campaign just that one place adrift of the Play-Offs.