Norwich City twice came from behind to earn themselves a draw against Derby County in a dramatic Sky Bet Championship clash between two of the league’s promotion favourites.
Second half goals from Cameron Jerome and Steven Whittaker cancelled out Johnny Russell’s first half strike and Chris Martin’s 55th minute penalty to record an away point at the iPro Stadium.
A close first half looked like it would end without a goal until two minutes from the interval, as Russell received the ball from Martin before despatching a placed finish past John Ruddy to give the Rams the lead.
Norwich had found the net themselves midway through the half, but Alexander Tettey’s effort was ruled out for offside – the linesman adjudging Jerome to have interfered with play while stood in an offside position.
The second half was a breathless, end-to-end affair, which saw the score change twice in four minutes, before a last minute goal for the visitors earned them a share of the spoils.
Six minutes after the restart, Norwich pushed forward down the right wing through Jonny Howson, who sent a teasing ball across the six-yard box, putting it on a plate for Jerome, who slapped it past Grant.
Straight from the kick-off, Derby went up the other end and Carlos Cuellar up-ended former Canarie, Martin, in the area and the striker dispatched the spot kick emphatically to put the home side back in front.
But just when it looked as though that would be enough to record the win, Steven Whittaker smashed home a last minute equaliser, the game finishing with the sides level.
It was Norwich who had the first chance of the afternoon, when a cross from the left wing found Bradley Johnson in the centre of the Rams’ area, but the midfielder could not direct his header on target.
The away side had another opportunity moments later when a misplaced Omar Mascarell pass fell to Gary Hooper, who played a quick one two with Jerome before dragging his shot wide.
It was then Derby’s turn to test the visitors as Jordon Ibe went on a surging run down the left wing before putting in a low cross, but a last ditch tackle from Johnson cleared the immediate danger.
From the resulting corner, Mascarell’s delivery was met at the near post by the head of Martin, but the forward’s effort was just off target.
Derby were beginning to impose themselves on the game and on the half hour mark, Ibe found Mascarell in space and the Spaniard hit a dipping effort that only just cleared Ruddy’s crossbar.
At the other end, Norwich thought they had opened the scoring when Tettey found the back of the net, but Jerome, standing in front of Grant, was deemed to have interfered with the play as the linesman flagged for offside.
Derby went forward again and after some patient build up play found Craig Bryson in the box, he fired an effort at goal, but City ‘keeper Ruddy reacted well to save the deflected shot.
In the closing moments of the half, Derby’s defence backed off allowing City’s Johnson to push forward and try his luck from range, but his powerful strike sailed over.
But it was Derby who would open the scoring in the 43rd minute, as they got forward once more and Martin squared the ball to Russell, who poked the ball past Ruddy to send the Rams’ into the dressing room with the lead at half time.
Norwich kicked off the second period and immediately went in search of an equaliser, but when a loose ball fell to Martin Olsson, the defender snatched at the effort and fired it well wide.
But minutes later, the Canaries did pull level as they passed the ball around the Rams’ area before a ball across the six yard box found Jerome at the back post and the striker could not miss, slapping the ball home from close range.
The visitors’ joy would be short-lived though as almost immediately, Derby went up the other end and as Martin worked his way to the corner of the box, he was tripped by Cuellar and referee Paul Tierney pointed straight to the spot.
The former Norwich striker stepped up to take the penalty and confidently smashed it into the corner past, leaving Ruddy no chance and restoring the Rams’ one goal lead with 55 minutes gone.
Ten minutes later, the visitors went looking for a second goal with substitute, Nathan Redmond breaking down the right before finding Jerome with a low cross, but the forward was falling as he took his shot and it trickled wide.
Norwich pushed forward again with around fifteen minutes to go, working the ball to full back Steven Whittaker who cut in from the right before thumping an effort goalwards, which bounced just wide of Grant’s post.
And it was Whittaker who would have the final say in this hotly contested affair, when Redmond’s delivery found him from a corner and the defender rifled home from the right side of the area to earn the visitors a draw.
It could have got worse for the Rams as Jerome had a golden opportunity to give his side maximum points in stoppage time, but his powerful hit flew over the bar, the game ending 2-2.
Derby County: Grant (GK), Christie, Keogh (C), Shotton, Forsyth, Mascarell, Hendrick (Hughes 45), Bryson (Dawkins 74), Ibe (Coutts 83), Russell, Martin
Substitutes not used: Roos, L Naylor, Calero, Best
Norwich City: Ruddy (GK), Whittaker, Martin (C), Cuellar, Olsson, Howson, O'Neil (Grabban 72), Tettey (Redmond 62), Johnson, Hooper (Hoolahan 70), Jerome
Substitutes not used: Rudd, Turner, Lafferty, Bennett
Attendance: 27, 974 (1,478)