A first-half strike from Chris Martin and a Christophe Berra header just after half-time meant the honours were shared at the iPro Stadium and both sides walked off the pitch with a point a-piece following a hard-fought Sky Bet Championship clash.
Derby were the better side in a first-half of few chances, with Martin’s tap-in, following a defensive scramble in the Ipswich box, the difference between the two sides as they went in at the break.
The Rams had looked the biggest threat going forward, giving the visiting defenders plenty to think about and managed to find a way through in the 13th minute when Martin stabbed home from close range after his and Johnny Russell’s efforts had already been kept out.
Ipswich struggled to create anything of note; their only notable chance coming from a Jay Tabb header after a Paul Anderson cross in the 36th minute, but it lacked power and was straight at Lee Grant who saved easily.
The only other major incident came midway through the half when midfielder Jeff Hendrick looked to have picked up a serious knock to his right arm and had to be replaced by Will Hughes.
The visitors pulled themselves back into the match just minutes after half-time, notching an equaliser through a towering header from Berra, which bounced off the turf and up into the roof of the net.
Despite Ipswich’s bright start, they never really tested Grant again and as the half wore on, it was Derby who looked more likely to grab a winner with a volley from Martin and a header from Leon Best both a whisker away from settling the tie.
Ipswich had a chance of their own late on when Luke Hyam wriggled through the Derby defence and tried to poke the ball home, but Grant got out quickly to save and the game finished with the score level at 1-1.
The first real chance of the game fell to Derby with just under ten minutes gone. Craig Forsyth whipped in a low cross with Martin and Hendrick bursting forward, but neither man could get a decisive touch.
Seconds later, the Rams came forward again and this time Forsyth’s cross was turned behind for a corner, which saw Tommy Smith bail out ‘keeper Dean Gerken, after he flapped at the resulting set piece.
The Tractor Boys’ defence was teetering and in the 13th minute, Derby took full advantage to open the scoring.
A poor clearance from Jonathan Parr looped high in the area towards Martin, who saw his header saved well by Gerken before Russell’s effort from the rebound was blocked on the line. The loose ball eventually fell to Martin who poked home from close range, to give the home side a 1-0 lead.
There was a lengthy stoppage in play midway through the half when Hendrick went down under the challenge of a defender and had to be replaced by Hughes, having picked up what looked to be a serious arm injury.
The visitors hadn’t posed much of a threat, but were gifted an opportunity to equalise when a loose pass was picked up by Paul Anderson, who crossed for Daryl Murphy, but his weak header was gathered easily by Grant.
Towards the end of the half, some quick passing from Derby saw Hughes feed Jamie Ward, who with time and space to shoot, curled an effort at goal, but it was straight at Gerken who made a simple stop.
And with almost the last kick of the opening period, some tricky play from Cyrus Christie got him past his defender before whipping in a low ball, but Ward couldn’t get his feet right and his first time effort ended up hitting the outside of the net.
After the restart, Ipswich got out of the blocks quickly when half-time substitute Tyrone Mings was picked out in a great crossing position on the left. But his subsequent whipped cross in was behind everyone and rolled harmlessly into touch.
Moments later, having won a free-kick around 35-yards from goal, Anderson’s set-piece delivery found Berra, who towered above everyone to power home a header from inside the six-yard box and pull the Tractor Boys level.
The visitors continued to pile on the pressure and with ten minutes of the half gone, Anderson tried an effort from range calling Grant into action, with the Rams' 'keeper tipping the ball over the crossbar at full stretch.
That seemed to serve as a wake-up call for Derby who almost immediately went up the other end and nearly restored their lead when an excellent cross from Christie found Martin, but his close range header was off target.
Just over a minute later, Jamie Ward bore down on goal and tried to curl a shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the box, but Gerken got down quickly and palmed the ball away.
With fifteen minutes to go, Derby came forward again and when Hughes crossed, it was cleared only as far as Martin, who brought the ball down well with his chest and thumped a first time volley from 20-yards, but his shot bounced narrowly wide of the left post.
Subsitute Leon Best almost netted his first goal for the Rams’ with a little under ten minutes left when he leapt to meet a Craig Bryson corner, but his powerful header flew just a few inches over Gerken’s bar.
In the last minute of normal time, Kevin Bru passed to Luke Hyam who muscled his way into the box before trying to poke the ball home with his left foot, but Grant rushed out to make a good save.
And up the other end, with almost the final kick of the game, a Derby corner found Grant in the box, but the striker’s shot was deflected agonisingly wide, the game ending in a 1-1 draw.
Derby County: Grant (GK); Christie, Keogh, Buxton, Forsyth, Eustace (Dawkins 81’), Hendrick (Hughes 26’), Bryson, Ward, Russell (Best 70’), Martin.
Substitutes not used: Roos (GK), Whitbread, Shotton, Mascarell.
Ipswich Town: Gerken (GK); Chambers (Mings 45’), Smith, Berra, Parr, Anderson (Nouble 80’), Hyam, Bishop (Henshall 66’), Tabb, Bru, Murphy.
Substitutes not used: Bialkowski (GK), Clarke, McQueen, Bajner.