The latest edition of the East Midlands Derby was one of its most dramatic as Derby County and Nottingham Forest played out a 1-1 draw at Pride Park. Joe Lolley gave Forest the lead in the 12th minute and it appeared that lone goal would be enough especially after Martyn Waghorn's red card in the fifth minute of second-half extra time.
But the Rams grabbed a late and stunning equalizer through Chris Martin at the very last kick of the game. Derby pull level with Cardiff City for the last promotion play-off spot in the EFL Championship while Forest remain fourth in the table, five points from automatic promotion.
Story of the game
The opening minutes were tense until Lolley was given space, cut in from 25 yards out and fired a left-footed shot past Derby goalkeeper Ben Hamer to give the visitors the lead. Derby's first chance came when Martin headed down for Louie Sibley, whose effort was well wide.
The Rams were starting to dictate and it was again Martin who threatened the Forest goal after a cross from Jayden Bogle, but his header was fizzed over. Craig Forsyth's cross was mishandled by Forest goalkeeper Brice Samba, but Joe Worrall cleared the danger.
Samba was helped out by his defense just before the stroke of halftime after Sibley outmaneuvered Worrall and picked out Max Bird whose effort was deflected straight to the Forest keeper. Hamer was alert to Matthew Cash's free kick as the first half came to an end.
The Derby keeper was under more pressure in the second half, first sending Ben Watson's expert volley wide then denying Lolley a second. Lewis Grabban then sent an effort from the edge of the box wide before substitute Tiago Silva blasted one against Hamer's post.
Bogle finally tested the Forest net on 63 minutes, smashing his effort wide. Nine minutes later, the visitors should have doubled their lead as Sammy Ameobi played a pinpoint ball to Grabban, who missed high and wide. Tiago da Silva crashed his shot against the post and Grabban again misfired.
The visitors continued to pass up opportunities and when Waghorn was shown a straight red card for his studs up challenge on Ryan Yates' legs, Forest appeared to be on their way to victory until Martin bungled the ball over the line from a free kick with goal-line technology confirming the equalizer.
Man of the match: Chris Martin
Aside from scoring the dramatic equalizer, he was at the heart of Derby's best chances, always in and around the Forest area. The goal not only keeps the Rams in the thick of the play-off race, but since it was in a derby, it will go down as a goal no one at the club will soon forget.
Forest will regret this result. They had plenty of chances to extend their advantage and were wasteful in front of goal, Grabban at the top of the list. They effectively neutralized Wayne Rooney and appeared to be headed for all three points when Waghorn was sent off, but Martin made them pay for not increasing their lead.
These are what derbies are all about with plenty of twists and turns and this one was no different, especially late on. This may very well be a play-off preview should Derby qualify and if it's anything like this match, fans will be in for a treat.