Attendance: 30, 127
A dramatic ending at Pride Park saw West Brom come from a goal down to lead deep into injury time before DJ Campbell scored his first goal for The Rams with virtually the last touch of game to give his side a share of the spoils. On reflection over the ninety minutes it was a fair result but the circumstances of the draw and drama of the last ten minutes certainly left a lot of talking points. Paul Dickov turned Abdoulaye Meite on the edge of the area just before halftime to fire Derby ahead and they lead until the eighty second minute when Simon Cox turned home from close range amidst mass protests for handball from the home side. Graham Dorrans then looked to have given his side a late winner when he fired home two minutes into injury time but Nigel Clough`s men again showed their fighting spirit when Lee Hendrie crossed for Campbell to head home with barely time to get the game underway again.
Nigel Clough made two changes to the side who beat Reading last weekend with Shaun Barker and Paul Green both missing out and being replaced by Dean Moxey and Lee Croft respectively with Jay McEveley moving to the centre of defence to cover for the injured Barker. Chris Porter also made a welcome return to the bench alongside loanee DJ Campbell who again had to settle for a place on the bench.
The Rams looked to get at their visitors` from the off and a Scott Carson spill nearly dropped for Rob Hulse but was scrambled to safety by Marek Cech in a bright opening and West Brom nearly took the lead themselves when a free kick wide on the right was played short across the area but Simon Cox hit the post with a firm effort that then bounced behind for a goal kick via a teammate.
Jay McEveley and Dean Leacock were having to stand firm as West Brom were getting on top but they were coping admirably with a number of balls in to the strikers and threw themselves in to block shots from Cox and Luke Moore as the visitors looked to take advantage of the spell of domination. Derby fought their way back into the match with Savage and Pearson both closing down well and not allowing any time on the ball in midfield.
Gary Teale was next to threaten when Frederik Stoor and Lee Croft combined down the right and Paul Dickov cleverly headed the latter`s cross back to him but he was forced to take the chance first time on the volley and didn`t threaten Carson in the West Brom goal. There were some hefty challenges going in in the middle of the park and Graham Dorrans appeared to kick out at Robbie Savage after another such tackle which lead to bout of handbags but there was only a yellow card for the Scot along with Paul Dickov for the afters.
Carson made a superb reaction save from a low Gary Teale free kick that took a slight deflection through a group of players as he got down to his right to turn the ball behind for a corner and it wasn`t long until he was beaten for the opening goal of the game. Dean Moxey fed Paul Dickov on the edge of the area and he turned Abdoulaye Meite before firing in a shot that clipped a defender before crashing against the bar and bouncing over the line and into the roof of the net. It was the last meaningful action of the half and The Rams went into the break with a deserved lead against their high flying opponents.
Chris Brunt had the first effort of the second period but he couldn`t keep his header down as the ball dropped from a corner and Paul Dickov stung the palms of Scott Carson at the other end with a low drive that he hacked to safety after parrying the initial shot with Rob Hulse closing in. Jonas Olsson then denied Stephen Pearson with a fine block as the midfielder met Hulse`s cross and the Swede got his head to corner at the other end but his header looped harmlessly over as both sides looked to add to the scoring.
Rob Hulse held the ball well on the edge of the area before turning and firing in a stinging shot that appeared to strike an arm before being cleared to safety but all appeals were waived away. Stephen Bywater was next to be called into action when he came off his line quickly to gather the ball at the feet of Simon Cox as a Luke Moore through ball set the striker running in on goal.
The Rams made their first change of the afternoon with Lee Croft making way for Lee Hendrie with little over fifteen minutes to go with cramp after an energetic return to the side. West Brom had already made a change of their own with Roman Bednar coming on for Luke Moore and he was inches away from a Chris Brunt cross to the far post as the visitor`s stepped up the pressure in their search for an equaliser.
Simon Cox turned the ball into the roof of the net from close range after another Brunt cross with eight minutes on the clock amidst protests from the Derby players who were convinced he had used his arm to force the equaliser. After consulting with the assistant referee however the goal stood and it looked like being an interesting end to the game with West Brom`s tails up after levelling the scores.
DJ Campbell replaced Paul Dickov with four minutes on the clock as Nigel Clough`s side hadn`t given up hope of taking something from the game and the loan striker laid the ball off to Rob Hulse but his shot was well wide of the mark from just inside the area. Campbell was involved as the visitors took the lead when he lost the ball deep inside the West Brom half, Albion broke forward and after a neat interchange of passes Graham Dorrans received the ball on the left side of the penalty area. He cut inside before creating a yard of space for himself and firing high into the net from close range to give his side the lead.
It looked to be a harsh ending to a much improved team showing from The Rams but they again showed their spirit as they snatched an equaliser in dramatic circumstances at the death. A long ball forward dropped to Lee Hendrie who took a touch before knocking the ball across the area and DJ Campbell held off his man to head in from close range with the four minutes of injury time virtually up. There was little time to get the game back underway from the resulting kickoff and Derby deserved the point they took from the game after a good all round team performance.