Attendance: 29, 001
A stirring comeback from two goals down in the first quarter of an hour saw Derby County beat local rivals Nottingham Forest 3-2 and set up a rematch with Manchester United in the fifth round after a classic cup tie at the City Ground. It all looked to be going wrong for Nigel Clough`s men when Cohen had an effort deflected in and then Tyson escaped the backline only to be upended by Bywater and he picked himself up to fire home the penalty. Strangely that goal seemed to settle Derby and they played their way back into the match and gave themselves hope with a Rob Hulse header just before the half-hour mark. After the break The Ram`s simply had too much for Forest and it only seemed a matter of time before they equalised and Paul Green obliged with another header before Kris Commons took control of the match and pulled the strings before firing in another deflected effort that proved to be the winner against his former side. In an exciting ending to the match both sides could have added to their tally but neither could take advantage of some great chances and the final whistle blew amidst wild celebrations at the Derby end of the ground as the players went to applaud the travelling fans.
Lewin Nyatanga was recalled to the starting line-up in place of Miles Addison who still hadn`t recovered from his tight hamstring and Jay McEveley came in for Jordan Stewart who had to settle for a place on the bench alongside the returning Todd and Pearson after spells out. Rob Earnshaw was missing for Forest with Cohen taking his place up front alongside Tyson and Davies named largely inexperienced bench. The home side got off to the perfect start after a long ball forward came off Teale to give them an early corner. The kick was taken short to Cohen who went past his man before firing in a shot from the edge of the box that nicked off a defender and flew past Bywater with barely a minute on the clock.
Kris Commons was coming in for the expected abuse from the home crowd but he nearly put Derby level with a curling effort from the edge of the area that dipped just wide. It was mainly one-way traffic in the opening moments however and Thornhill met a cross in the Derby area but his header was wide of the mark. Tyson then escaped down the left and his ball into the area was met by McGugan but his effort was straight at Bywater. Forest weren`t to be denied though and Tyson escaped the offside trap and looked to go around Bywater only for the keeper to clip his heels and pick up a yellow card in the process of giving away a penalty. Tyson picked himself up to fire high past Bywater to put his side 2-0 ahead with only 14 minutes on the clock.
The goal seemed to spark Derby into life and they gradually played their way back into the game, they nearly pulled a goal back on 22 minutes when Commons picked up a loose clearance and beat two men before forcing Smith into a smart low save. The ball was not fully cleared and McEveley won the ball back halfway inside the Forest half before making progress and firing an effort narrowly wide of the left post from 20 yards.
Robbie Savage was beginning to have a big influence with his prompting in the middle of the park and he started the move that led to The Ram`s getting themselves back into the game. He played the ball out to the left to Gary Teale who cut inside and clipped over an inviting cross that Hulse won and headed back across Smith in the home goal and into the corner to give his side a foot hold in the match. Derby had stepped up the pace and, as in the first game at Pride Park, Forest were struggling to cope and clear their lines as the pressure increased.
A Forest break looked as though it could cause problems as McGugan went down after beating Albrechtsen and it appeared as thought the referee had awarded a penalty only to book the Forest man for diving. Derby were looking to break dangerously with Barazite down the right only for the halftime whistle to blow and, from a poor start, Clough`s side had dragged themselves back into the match to leave the second half perfectly poised.
The second half began and showed little let up for the home side amidst claims for handball from a Barazite cross but the referee waived them away and a quick free kick almost gave Forest a chance when Cohen stole the ball back and forced Bywater to turn his low effort around the post. Barazite was getting involved down the right a lot more and was giving Forest problems, another mazy run and pull back found Green in the area but the midfielder couldn`t get the ball out from under his feet and could only poke a tame effort goal wards that was easily cleared.
Derby hauled themselves level on the hour mark with Gary Teale again the provider from the left when his run and cross found Green in the area and his glancing header beat Smith to level the game as he celebrated in front of the Derby fans. Forest had no answer for the visitor`s football and Commons was inches away from putting them in front when his effort took a deflection off Perch and went narrowly wide for a corner.
Tyson`s run down the left ended with him picking out McCleary at the far post but Bywater got across to get something on the shot and the ball went wide for a corner. The resulting set piece saw the ball bounce around the area before Connolly cleared the danger. Two injury stoppages close together threatened to disturb the rhythm of the game with Perch needing a lengthy spell of treatment after a clash of heads with Hulse before being replaced by Mark Byrne.
Commons was back in the action again as he slipped the ball through to Green but the midfielder screwed his shot across the goal and wide. The former Forest man then picked the ball up inside The Red`s half before firing in a 30 yard effort that struck the inside of the post and flew across the area with Smith beaten but he found the net moments later to silence the boo boys who had plagued him all evening. He received the ball on the edge of the area before turning and firing in a right foot effort that took a deflection off a defender before beating Smith and sparking wild celebrations at the Bridgford End. He then had another effort from outside the box that Smith collected as Derby looked to finish the game.
Forest were looking desperate but they broke forward and Cohen had an effort easily gathered by Bywater and they replaced McCleary with Heath and sent Morgan up front as a makeshift striker to try and generate something going forward. Derby replaced Hulse with Nathan Ellington as they added some fresh legs to the frontline and the striker came off to a standing ovation from the travelling faithful. The change up front led to great chance for the home side as Morgan found room down the left and his cross picked out Byrne and the youngster took a touch eight yards out and looked set to score but somehow screwed his effort wide as Bywater flung himself at his feet.
The board went up for five minutes of injury time as the home side piled forward in search on an equaliser and Morgan met a corner at the near post but couldn`t keep his header down and another corner saw Smith come forward from the Forest goal only for Derby to break but Commons couldn`t quite get his effort on target and it passed over the top of the net. The Ram`s saw out the final minute at the Forest end of the pitch and the final whistle blew to confirm the first victory at the City Ground since 1971 in the days of Brian Clough and set up the clash with United in the next round.
utstanding in the second half and could have had a hat trick as he punished his former side. Ran the show from just off Hulse and revelled in the atmosphere created by his return to the City Ground. His goal took a deflection but there is no chance of anyone taking the strike away from him.
Stephen Bywater 8
Paul Connolly 7
Jay McEveley 7
Lewin Nyatanga 7
Martin Albrechtsen 7
Gary Teale 8
Robbie Savage 8
Paul Green 7
Nacer Barazite 7
Kris Commons 9
Rob Hulse 8
Nathan Ellington 6