Derby County showed huge resilience to come from behind and record their first league victory on the road since August as they beat Swansea City 3-2 in South Wales.
It was a performance worthy of all three points as they took the lead early on, before falling behind early in the second half.
However, Derby’s reaction to falling behind was strong and they turned the game on its head to ensure they grabbed all three points.
Martyn Waghorn had given Derby the perfect start on eight minutes as he finished from close range after Tom Lawrence’s 25 yard effort had hit the post.
Swansea turned the game on its head early in the second half as goals from Yan Dhanda and Kyle Naughton steered the game in their favour, however, the Rams’ passion and desire shone through.
Duane Holmes grabbed an equaliser just after the hour mark, whilst in the final 10 minutes of the game, Lawrence unleashed an unstoppable effort into the net as Derby moved within seven points of the Sky Bet Championship play-off places.
It was Swansea who looked the brighter of the two sides in the opening exchanges of the half, and they almost went ahead in the opening four minutes.
A neat backheel from former Charlton Athletic loanee Conor Gallagher found the advancing Swansea City captain Connor Roberts and whilst his ball across the box bounced around in the penalty area, Jayden Bogle just managed to hack clear.
The Rams managed to find their feet and took the lead soon after through Waghorn’s close range effort.
After a flowing move, the impressive Max Bird found Tom Lawrence who fired at goal from 25 yards. Swansea City goalkeeper Freddie Woodman could only parry onto the post and Waghorn reacted quickest to notch into the empty goal and claim his 10th goal of the campaign.
The goal knocked Swansea from their rhythm as the Rams sat back and slowed the tempo of the game down.
It was that discipline which saw several Swansea attacks break up in key areas as the Rams were able to apply pressure to their hosts in good areas of the pitch.
Bird was key to that as he remained calm in possession and linked up the play nicely between the midfield and attack.
With the half drawing to a close, Jayden Bogle was cautioned for a late challenge on Swans forward Andre Ayew as they started to apply pressure to the Rams’ goal.
It sparked Derby goalkeeper Ben Hamer into his first real bit of action in the game as he palmed Joe Rodon’s header from 12 yards wide, whilst the last action saw Ayew head wide from Wayne Routledge’s cross.
Swansea introduced Dhanda at the break in place of the injured George Byers as they lined up in a more attacking formation.
It was the Rams who had the first opportunity of the half as Bird received the ball in a good area, shifted the ball onto his left foot and shot but his effort went wide.
The game started to open up as Swansea put Derby’s defence under increased pressure. Knight was forced to clear off the line following a scramble in the box, whilst Holmes went into the referee’s notebook for a late challenge on Naughton.
Swansea’s pressure paid off 10 minutes into the second half as Dhanda equalised. Knight was dispossessed in possession, whilst Rams players felt he was fouled, and the substitute unleashed a curled effort from 25 yards to level the scoreline.
The hosts had the momentum and managed to take the lead two minutes after equalising. Rams stopper Ben Hamer felt he was fouled in the build up to the goal, and was booked for his protestations, however, Naughton capitalised on the loose ball and fired home from close range.
In a bid to retrieve the situation, manager Phillip Cocu introduced Curtis Davies and Graeme Shinnie, and that change made an immediate impact as Derby levelled.
A deep cross from the left from Craig Forsyth found Davies who nodded the ball back for Holmes to strike into the corner to equalise.
The game started to stretch with both sides throwing everything in a bid to get something from the encounter and the longer it went on, the more influence Wayne Rooney had on it.
His intricate passing, vision calmness on the ball was a joy to behold as he picked holes in the Swansea defence.
But it was his midfield companion, Bird, who grabbed the headlines for the Rams’ eventual winner. He picked the ball up on the halfway line and shrugged off the challenge of Gallagher. He found Waghorn before the striker laid the ball into the path of Lawrence.
The forward, in acres of space, had time to pick his spot and unleashed an unstoppable effort into the back of the net to ensure the Rams secured their first away league win since the opening weekend of the season.
Swansea City: Woodman, Guehi, Rodon, Grimes, Routledge (Cullen 86’), Brewster, Ayew, Roberts, Naughton, Byers (Dhanda 46’), Gallagher.
Unused Substitutes: Mulder, Fulton, Dyer, Wilmot, Bidwell.
Derby County: Hamer, Wisdom, Forsyth, Waghorn, Lawrence (Marriott 88’), Clarke, Holmes, Rooney, Bogle (Davies 61’), Knight (Shinnie 61’), Bird.
Unused Substitutes: Roos, Martin, Malone, Whittaker.