Derby County Under-23s earned a point in their final home game of the 2018/19 season in a 2-2 draw with West Ham United.
The Rams lead twice with Jayden Mitchell-Lawson providing the only goal of the first-half with his clinical finish.
Josh Shonibare put the Rams ahead again when he nodded in from Alex Babos’ corner five minutes after Xande Silva levelled the score. The Rams couldn’t hold on for the victory at Pride Park, however, as Nathan Holland slotted in to earn a point for the Hammers who were battling for their lives the division.
With one game remaining, the draw moved the Rams to sixth as Blackburn Rovers defeated Manchester City to etch ahead.
Marcus Ollson retuned to action for the first time since the end of last season when he tore his ACL against Barnsley to provide the assist for the opening goal.
A scrappy opening ten minutes of the first-half ensued between both sides. The visitors had the best opportunity in the opening stages when Nathan Holland directed a free-kick effort into the area from a dangerous position to the right of the area, but it was comfortably cleared by Derby’s defence.
The Rams took the lead in the 16th minute though brilliant work by Ollson on his return to action. After stripping Dan Kemp of the ball down the left flank, he played a quick one-two with Cameron Cresswell before sending a pinpoint low cross towards Mitchell-Lawson.
The winger rushed in to slot home from close range for his seventh goal of the season.
Rams keeper Henrich Ravas was tested just before the break by West Ham’s forwards. Holland fired just over from the right two minutes before he threatened again when he cut inside on his right foot.
The Derby stopper palmed his effort away, luckily into the path of Olsson to fully clear.
With less than five minutes remaining before the break, Jahmal Hector-Ingram was played through in the area with only Ravas beat. Ravas rushed out to meet him and had slightly the better hand staying on his feet and able to tap the effort wide before the Hammers’ forward could get back on his feet to poke it home.
Straight out of the block in the second-half, Mitchell-Lawson looked to double his tally when Alex Babos laid the ball forward to him. He just managed to get the better of footrace with Ben Johnson but the defender’s pressure made it a comfortable save for Nathan Trotter.
Another good save by Ravas in the 58th minute maintained the Rams’ lead when he dived to palm out an effort by Xande Silva from just inside the area after he slipped behind Derby’s backline. On the hour-mark, however, he wasn’t able to deny a good finish by Hector-Ingram into the roof of the net for West Ham to draw level.
Five minutes later, the Rams regained the lead from an Alex Babos corner. He found Shonibare at the far post who headed past Trotter.
With less than ten minutes to play, West Ham equalised again as Holland weaved his way into the box and fired low effort into the far corner just past an outstretched Ravas.
Derby County: Ravas; Gordon, Wassall, Ambrose, Olsson (Karic, 45); Evans, Macdonald, Babos; Mitchell-Lawson, Cresswell (Splatt, 78), Shonibare
Unused Subs: Yates, Roache, Hunt
West Ham United: Trott, Ngakia, Johnson, Coventry (C), Barrett, Alese, Kemp, Lewis (Scully, 79), Hector-Ingram, Silva (Dju, 65), Holland
Unused Subs: Belic, Anang, Okotcha