Derby County overturned a two goal deficit at the iPro Stadium to overcome Yeovil Town in an enthralling 90 minutes of football.
First-half defensive lapses from the hosts were capitalised on by John Lundstram’s fierce drive into the bottom corner and Ishmael Miller’s lung-busting run and finish, which had the Glovers 2-0 ahead going into the interval.
However, a relentless second half of attacking football from Derby hauled the Rams back into the game as Patrick Bamford nodded in Simon Dawkins’ left-wing cross in the 55th minute, prior to Bryson setting up a grand stand finale with his coolly taken 20-yard strike.
Top-scorer Chris Martin lathered icing on the proverbial cake in stoppage time when he glanced in Bryson’s free-kick to complete an incredible comeback and send the home supporters euphoric.
It was the teams’ first ever meeting on Derby turf – slick, wet turf at that, as there was a downpour prior to kick-off at the iPro Stadium.
The Rams started buoyantly, with former Norwich City forward Martin shifting the ball onto his left foot while he was hounded by defenders before prodding an effort at goal that was blocked.
Liverpool loanee Andre Wisdom then displayed real strength and determination down the right as Yeovil defenders rebounded off of him like he was a human bouncy castle. The right-back subsequently teed up Martin, who swept the ball over from the edge of the box.
Opportunities continued to flow the Rams’ way in a vibrant opening 20 minutes, with Bryson slicing a first time shot narrowly wide, before Dawkins cut in from the left prior to finding the foot of the post with his deflected shot.
However, the Rams’ dominance was tempered with quick transitions of play from Yeovil in swift counter attacking moves, which ultimately proved costly in the 25th minute. Everton loanee Lundstram dropped his shoulder on the edge of the penalty area to create a pocket of space and drilled a low shot into the bottom corner.
The strike came against the run of play and Derby soon clicked back into their attacking rhythm, and were unfortunate not to be awarded a spot kick after Martin was felled by what seemed clumsy tackle from Luke Ayling, but the referee waved away the Rams’ protests.
But just as the Rams were entering their pomp, their confidence took an additional thwack, as another attacking move from the visitors was finished with aplomb shortly after the half-an-hour mark. On loan Nottingham Forest striker Miller outmuscled Richard Keogh down the left and from the acutest of angles, fired a shot into the net past goalkeeper Lee Grant.
Jamie Ward was introduced at the break for John Eustace as Head Coach Steve McClaren implemented a 4-2-4 formation. The new shape, combined with a smattering of intensive pressure from the hosts brought early chances in the second period, with Hughes’ half-volley flying narrowly wide, despite the exuberant celebrations from the South Stand who thought the England Under-21 international’s effort had crept in.
The attacking prowess of Dawkins, Martin, Ward and Bamford had the Glovers on the back-foot, and with five minutes of the second-half gone, the visitors’ resolve was finally breached. In a goalmouth scramble, Dawkins eventually took control and clipped the ball into the six-yard box, where a diving Bamford stooped to head past Marek Stech.
The goal lifted the home supporters and acted as an extra shot of adrenalin for the Derby players, as a barrage of attacks on the Yeovil goal ensued.
Bryson and Wisdom both had efforts flash agonisingly over the crossbar, whilst in almost carbon copy strike of his goals against Brighton and Hove Albion and Blackburn Rovers, Bamford watched on as his left-footed curling shot cannoned off the post.
Moments later the woodwork took another hit as Craig Forsyth surged into the penalty area after collecting Bryson’s deflected pass and lashed a shot that clipped the top of the crossbar on its way over.
As the game edged into the final 15 minutes, Dawkins’ jinking run even left his marker on the floor, but he tried to catch Stech out at his near post, who second guessed the forward and comfortably held his strike.
McClaren rolled the dice again, adding Conor Sammon to the Rams’ attack, replacing Dawkins, and like a cork on a shaken bottle of champagne, the seal finally blew as Bryson guided Hughes’ cut-back into the bottom corner to level the game with three minutes remaining.
And in the four minutes of injury time, urged on by the home supporters, Derby completed their miraculous comeback. Martin rose highest to flick Bryson's free-kick into the back of the net and seal a dramatic three points in cinematic style.
Derby County: Grant (GK), Wisdom, Keogh, Buxton, Forsyth, Eustace (Ward 45’), Bryson, Hughes, Dawkins (Sammon 79’), Bamford (Russell 89’), Martin.
Subs not used: Legzdins (GK), Whitbread, Keane, Bailey.
Yeovil Town: Stech (GK), Ayling, Duffy, Webster, McAllister; Grant (Dawson 68'), Lundstram, Edwards, Ralls; Miller (Upson 80’), Moore.
Subs not used: Dunn (GK), Hayter, Foley, Lanzoni, Morgan.