The game could have been no more than 20 seconds old when Lars Hirschfeld was picking the ball up out of his net. The goalkeeper got caught in possession by Marcus Tudgay following a back pass by Ronnie Henry and the striker took the ball wide before chipping over the stranded Canadian and into the goal.
The Spurs response was instant and almost bought a leveller when a determined run and shot by Lee Barnard flashed inches wide of visiting keeper Lee Camp's right-hand post. The same player found himself in a similar position just a few minutes later, but this time Camp advanced to block his effort.
Inbetween times, Labarthe Tome was not far away from the top corner with a rasping effort from 20 yards.
As the half progressed and the young Spurs side established a rhythm, there was a real snap to the midfield approach play with Mark Hughes, Jackson and, just ahead of them, Mark Yeates asserting creative control.
On 23 minutes a David Galbraith run down the left and low cross presented Marney with a clear strike on goal. The keeper was duly beaten but, somehow, David Cassidy recovered to scramble the ball off the line. Ifil then tested Camp's reflexes from 20 yards.
Four minutes later Derby were gifted a second goal when Hirschfeld came out to collect and clambered over the back of Paul O'Donoghue. The ball ran loose and Labarthe Tome struck sweetly into an empty net.
Jackson then swung a corner from which Barnard must have thought he had reduced the deficit with a powerful header, but Christopher Palmer stooped to head the ball off the line.
Chris Hughton replaced Kazuyuki Toda with 1st Year Academy boy Jamie O'Hara at the break and it was his pass to Marney that led to the latter whipping in an inviting cross that Yeates headed a fraction wide.
The invention and movement displayed in the first half was not quite replicated in the second as Derby took on a more resolute look in protecting their two-goal cushion.
A lifeline came along on 75 minutes when Spurs were awarded a free-kick 25 yards from goal. Cue Jackson, who stepped up and arrowed a his shot away from the keeper and into the top right hand corner. Game on.
A Barnard header from a Marney cross so nearly provided an equaliser with five minutes remaining, but as fireworks fizzed away in the night sky, Spurs could not quite ignite one last cracker.
Team: Hirschfeld, Ifil, Galbraith, Toda (O'Hara 45), O'Donoghue, Henry, Marney, Hughes (Slabber 74), Barnard, Yeates, Jackson. Subs: Slabber, Burch, Foster, Barnett.
Derby: Camp, J Turner, Zavagno, Sheard, Walton, Wilson, Cassidy, Miller, Tudgay, Labarthe Tome (McLeod 63), Palmer. Subs: Kuduzovic, Richardson, Kemp, C Turner.
A five-game unbeaten run came to an end for the reserves as two first half goals that bordered on the bizarre secured victory for Derby at Stevengage.