Rams v Owls FA Cup Report
Rams get out of Jail in Cup
The Rams came back from two goals down and get out of jail, to earn an FA Cup third-round replay against Sheffield Wednesday after a 2-2 draw at Pride Park.
The Championship side went two up in 23 minutes but the Rams gave them both goals. Firstly Mark Beevers' speculative shot squirmed under Lewis Price and Marcus Tudgay pounced on Darren Moore's poor header.
Kenny Miller pulled one back with a delightful control and finish, before Giles Barnes drew them level with a controlled left-foot volley just before the break. The Rams dominated the second half but the Owls held on for the draw and face a replay on Tuesday week at Hillsborough.
Paul Jewell brought back Andy Todd from injury to partner Moore in the centre of defence in place of Claude Davis and new signing Danny Mills made his debut for the Rams replacing the injured Jay McEveley.
Wednesday made three changes to their starting line up from last time out with Ettienne Esajas, Francis Jeffers and former Ram Marcus Tudgay replacing Yoann Folly, Akpo Sodje and another former Ram Deon Burton.
Both sides have been struggling in their respective leagues so it wasn`t going to be a classic and it turn out that way. The Owls opened well, quickly closing down the Rams and it forced them into mistakes and they were caught in possession on a number of occasions.
Wednesday`s early endeavour was rewarded on eight minutes with the lead, but they were given a helping hand from young keeper Price. Beevers' speculative effort from 20-yards somehow squeezed under the Welsh international keeper and bobbled over the line.
It was a huge gaffe from Price but it was matched by his team mate Moore 15 minutes later as the Owls doubled their lead. The big defender misjudged his backward header, leaving former Ram Tudgay to latch on to the loose ball and clinically fire past Lewis from close-range.
The small Pride Park crowd were stunned, but the 5,000 Owls supporters were in full voice. Jewell was like a lion prowling around his technical area and he was forced into an early change when Tyrone Mears came off injured, replace by Michael Johnson. The Rams veteran who has been on-loan at Hillsborough was given a huge ovation from the travelling supporters as well as the home faithful.
The Rams settled and began to get into the game Miller crossed to Craig Fagan on the half hour but he somehow missed from close-range. Miller then went close twice in quick succession, former Rams keeper Lee Grant saving well from his second effort.
But Miller was rewarded for his enterprise, reducing the lead in the 37th minute. Fagan's chipped cross from the right found the Scottish international striker who controlled the ball on his chest and drilled a low shot past Grant.
The Rams were dominating now and two minutes from half-time, they were level after more dreadful defending, this time from the Owls. Wednesday were at six`s and sevens when Fagan`s corner found the unmarked Moore at the back post, he nodded back to Barnes who`s half volley through a crowd of players hit the back of the net, much to the relief of the Rams supporters
Buoyed by the comeback the Rams opened the second half well and went close early. Teale broke down the right channel and found Eddie Lewis but the American delayed his shot and the chance was gone.
Tudgay was a constant threat, and he went close to giving the Owls back the lead. He was found at the far post by Glenn Whelan`s cross, but Price made up for first half error to deny him
Barnes` long-range strike was deflected wide on the hour and Mills` deep cross found Johnson whose header flew inches past the post.
It was a typical cup-tie now with chances at both ends; first Esajas` free-kick shaved the post for the Owls, and for the Rams Miller was denied by a superb reflex save from Grant.
Fagan then had the ball in the back of the net for the Rams but he had already been pulled back for offside, then Wednesday had an effort of their own ruled out eight minutes from time, Burton poking home Esajas's deflected shot, but once again the flag was up for offside.
The Rams pressed late but it came to nothing meaning the Rams will travel to South Yorkshire on January 15 for the replay.
Derby: Price, Mears (Johnson 32), Todd, Moore, Mills, Teale (Macken 85), Oakley, Barnes, Lewis, Miller, Fagan.
Subs Not Used: Hinchliffe, Edworthy, Feilhaber.
Sheff Wed: Grant, Bullen, Hinds, Beevers, Spurr, Johnson, O'Brien, Whelan, Esajas, Jeffers (Burton 61), Tudgay.
Subs Not Used: Gilbert, McAllister, Wood, Boden.
Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire)
Rams boss Paul Jewell
'A month ago we would have lost that game heavily, but we showed good character to come back,' assessed Jewell.
'We made the usual basic errors, but I am taking the positives out of the game.
'The situation we're in at the moment, we have to take any crumb of comfort we can, and a 2-2 draw with a team near the bottom of the Championship, on reflection, is not a great thing.
'But we were 2-0 down and staring down a barrel, so I'm pleased we're still in the hat, and pleased we've come back from a goal down which we've not done since I've been here.'
Laws was angry not to wrap up the win after seeing his side let slip the two-goal lead.
'It's an opportunity missed,' said Laws.
'Away from home against a Premier League side, we found ourselves 2-0 up courtesy of a gift and a bit of luck. We looked in a very comfortable position.
'So of both managers, if you're 2-0 up, who is going to be the most disappointed? I'm afraid I am.'