After a dream start, Salford City were pegged back on two occasions in the 90 to prevent a dramatic and surprise first round knock out, at the expense of Derby.
Story of the match
Derby's horror start could've been all so different, with the first opportunity of the tie falling in their favour. New arrival Ravel Morrison found himself in acres of space inside the opening two minutes, but his effort was fired at visiting stopper Tom King, and claimed comfortably.
Morrison joined as the Rams’ fourth summer signing on Saturday afternoon, but after failing to get the deal ironed out in time for Derby's Sky Bet Championship opener against Huddersfield Town, tonight served as the 28-year-old's debut.
Ashley Eastham rose highest to flick on Josh Morris' corner to the back post, and he found the head of his unmarked defensive partner Jordan Turnbull, who nodded home from close range to open the deadlock.
A reaction from the Rams wasn't on display, and they found themselves two goals behind on the quarter-hour mark.
The lively Morris deceived the hosts defensive line, darting through from the right towards a crowd of bodies in white. However, he arrowed his shot towards goal from 30 yards out and the dipping low strike bounced into the bottom right past a bewildered Ryan Allsop, who should've done better.
Minutes later, Allsop was alert to prevent the Rams from falling three behind. Conor McAleny received the ball and twisted quickly to fashion a shooting opportunity, but his strike was denied by a quick reaction stop.
Kamil Jozwiak's run was chopped down on the edge of the penalty area, however, with advantage played and the ball still in a dangerous position, a chance to halve the deficit hadn't yet passed the Rams by.
Isaac Hutchinson let the ball roll into his path, before connecting beautifully and curling a strike towards the top left corner, but it sailed narrowly over.
Hutchinson didn't have to wait long for the next chance to fall his way though, and this time he took it.
After letting the ball run, the 21-year-old midfielder swivelled and fired through the defender's legs to slash Salford's advantage. It bobbled its way past King and Hutchinson celebrated his first goal for the Rams, three minutes before the interval.
Derby grew stronger as the half wore older and Louie Sibley was inches away from drawing things level at the break. His powerful strike was expertly saved at the near post by King, as he looked to catch out the Ammies stopper - but a strong hand was thrown in front of the ball to tip it onto the bar.
The hosts pressure carried into the second-half with both Louie Watson and Jack Stretton having openings in the final third.
The former fell to Stretton as he latched onto a Festy Ebosele cross, but his ambitious backheel was met by King once again. Watson then saw his goal bound effort deflect over the upright, with Craig Forsyth then squandering a back-post header from the resultant corner.
The Rams' pressure in the final third did eventually pay off, as Derby were given the chance to level the score from the spot. A swift run into the area from Ebosele saw him hauled down and substitute Colin Kazim-Richards dispatched the penalty with 20 minutes to play.
Salford responded instantly with a penalty of their own, after Forsyth dragged back goalscorer Burgess, from what looked to be just outside the area.
Morris placed the responsibility on his shoulders, and he coolly converted his second goal of the night to fire the Ammies back into the lead of the tie.
After a summer on trial, Morrison marked his contractual debut with a delightful goal that drew Derby level at 3-3, for a third goal in an eventful 10 minutes at Pride Park.
Morrison stood over an inviting looking free-kick just outside the 18-yard area, but after striking the wall it fell back into his path once more and his perfectly sliced effort flew through King's fingertips and into the top left corner.
The game filtered out and like twice this evening, players had to test their nerve from the spot.
Watson converted the decisive penalty, and rounded off a comfortably penalty shootout for the Rams - who scored all five.
It was a heartbreaking ending for Salford, after a valiant display on the evening, but they fell just short to a 5-3 scoreline from the spot.
Welcomed source of creativity
Morrison has been questioned across his career for his attitude, and lack of effort, but if Derby can strike a balance and get the 28-year-old ticking under Wayne Rooney then it will prove to be an astute piece of business.
The attacking midfielder looked sharp on the ball and if he can find a level of consistency, it will be a welcomed source of creativity to Derby's attacking third.
Encouraging evening for Gary Bowyer's side
To lose in the way they did, will leave a bitter taste in the mouth of everyone associated with Salford. However, they can take a number of positives from this evening's display and carry it into their ambitious plans for the League Two campaign this year.
The Ammies worked the ball into some great attacking positions and crafted a number of notable opportunities on the evening. The prospect of playing at a Championship stadium in this competition is still new to Salford, and it only serves as further experience as they continue on their impressive journey up the English football pyramid.
A sigh of relief
A mammoth task still stands ahead of the Rams this season, but they can breathe a huge sigh of relief that they're into the next round.
After an opening day draw to Huddersfield and a trouble summer, the last thing Derby would've needed is an early scalp and exit from the EFL Cup this evening.
With a number of youngster's tallying minutes under their belt and new additions to still grow into the side, Derby can now look ahead to more important league fixtures without the factor of a first round defeat.
Man of the match
The 19-year-old put in a confident and assured performance that was far superior of his years this evening.
The youthful right-back stormed down the attacking right channel on numerous occasions, to cause problems for the Salford defence.
He showed obvious nerves at times, most notably rushing and slicing the ball high and wide into the stand, but the performance levels he put in to work defensively and offensively down the right side was promising.
In addition, Ebosele won the penalty that Kazim-Richards dispatched with a clever darting run into the area. Rooney surely now has to monitor the progress of Ebosele in training and in the coming weeks, as the Irish international pushes for a spot in the Rams first team.