Late Chris Martin Goal Rescues Derby County Point Against Nottingham Forest
Derby County 1-1 Nottingham Forest
Forest dominated for much of the match before their local rivals denied them of an important three points with seconds to play.
The result sees Nottingham Forest stay fourth whilst Derby go level on points with sixth-placed Cardiff City.
Forest off to a Flyer
Derby made two changes from the side that narrowly beat Preston North End on Wednesday, recalling Chris Martin and Craig Forsyth to the starting line-up; whilst Sabri Lamouchi brought back both Samba Sow and Nuno da Costa into the side.
It was a confident start from the visitors, biding their time well before pouncing on any Derby mistake.
However, it was when Forest moved the ball well in the final third that they found success.
Joe Lolley hit a swerving drive past Ben Hamer from at least 25 yards out to give the Reds the lead after just 11 minutes.
The forward had far too much time to hit a sweet strike that gave the keeper little chance.
Forest have the fourth-best defensive record in the league and their discipline was evident.
Both Samba Sow and Ryan Yates hardly gave Wayne Rooney the chance to look up and pass.
Derby’s start was epitomised by a Rooney free-kick from deep that flew straight out for a goal-kick after 17 minutes.
There were glimpses of the Rams’ potential going forward. A long ball knocked down by Chris Martin into the path of Louie Sibley could only fly wide.
The hosts threatened again moments later too. A long throw-in from Duane Holmes wasn’t dealt with by Forest but Sibley’s shot couldn’t break through the crowded box.
Phillip Cocu’s side began to show more as the half progressed.
Just before the break Derby’s youngsters combined to create a promising opportunity.
Sibley teed up Max Bird on the edge of the box but the 19-year-old couldn’t get a shot off and was soon surrounded by red shirts.
Derby Struggle to Break Down Rivals
It came as no surprise that Derby were brighter after the restart. The hosts began to produce passes that were breaking the rigid defensive lines of their rivals.
The arrival of Martyn Waghorn and Florian Jozefzoon onto the field added a spring to the step of Cocu’s side.
Yet, for all of the Rams’ possession, they scarcely threatened Brice Samba’s goal.
Sloppy play at the back allowed Forest to test Hamer once more just after the hour-mark.
Ben Watson struck a sweet volley from outside the box forcing a strong save from the keeper; moments later and Lolley almost copied his goal only for Hamer to get down well.
Forest nearly settled the tie when Tiago Silva curled a shot onto the post from the edge of the box.
Derby then went close to levelling the scores after Martin pounced on a loose ball but hit a tame shot into Samba’s gloves.
Derby continued to press the red wall protecting Samba’s goal but they couldn’t produce any chances from open play.
The Rams’ afternoon looked to be going from bad to worse when Martyn Waghorn was sent off for a dangerous challenge on Ryan Yates.
Darren England had no choice but to send the ex-Rangers striker for an early bath.
Yet with just a minute left on the clock, Derby somehow broke their rival’s disciplined defence.
Brice Samba was left in no man’s land when he failed to collect the free-kick and Martin managed to head the ball over the line in the goalmouth scramble that followed.
Martin’s ninth goal of the season keeps the Rams in contention for a shock play-off spot.