A spirited second-half comeback saw Derby County rescue a point in a 2-2 draw with Brentford on Tuesday evening.
Wayne Rooney’s side had left themselves with a mountain to climb at half time after Ivan Toney converted from the penalty spot in the early stages and Sergi Canos’ fierce strike doubled the visitors’ lead midway through the first half.
Derby made their intentions clear just one minute into the second half when Lee Gregory came off the bench to slot home.
The Rams piled on the pressure throughout the half and finally, with just three minutes left to play, Louie Sibley curled in a superb in the leveller into the top corner.
The Bees broke the deadlock after eight minutes. The referee pointed to the spot and gave the Championships leading scorer a free shot on goal. Toney walked up to take the penalty and sent Kelle Roos the wrong way to tuck into the bottom left corner and give Brentford the early lead.
Less than ten minutes later and there was a big opportunity for that lead to be doubled when the Rams were hit on the break for Jensen to square for Mbeuno to go one-on-one with Roos, but the forward scuffed his shot wide.
With Derby struggling to get any foothold in the game and devoid of ideas, the visitors took their chance to extend the lead midway through the half. After passing the ball around at the back, it returned to the keeper who lofted the ball up-field to pick out Toney.
His deft touch took Andre Wisdom out of the game before slotting into the path of Canos. The winger raced at the defence before cutting inside and unleashing a fierce effort.
Three changes were made at half-time with Rooney looking to spark some creativity into his side with the addition of Gregory and Louie Sibley, while adding Teden Mengi to help tighten up at the back. The Rams came out much sharper and within a minute Brentford’s lead was reduced through Gregory.
Jason Knight won the ball in the middle of the opposition half, drew a foul but the referee played advantage. Colin Kazim-Richards picked up the ball and found Nathan Byrne. The defender drove at the opposition defence and squared to Gregory to convert from two yards out.
The Rams continued to look brighter and ten minutes later Gregory was in the midst of the action again. He received a ball over the top of the Bees’ defence and managed to control the ball before taking aim, but his effort was deflected for a corner.
Brentford couldn’t deal with the delivery and the ball fell to the feet of Gregory in the six-yard who struck at goal to draw an instinctive save from David Raya.
With five minutes left to play, Sibley tried to get control of the ball in the area to take a shot which was blocked and fell to the feet of Knight 20 yards out. The midfielder fizzed a low effort towards the middle of the goal which Raya just managed to hold on to.
After all the hard work in the second half, the leveller came with three minutes left to play. Brilliant work from Patrick Roberts who had just come into the game saw him slot the ball between the lines for Sibley just inside the area to curl a stunning strike into the top corner.
Derby County: Roos, Wisdom (C) (Roberts, 85), Shinnie, Jozwiak (Gregory, 45), Bird (Mengi, 45), Byrne, Kazim-Richards (Lawrence, 78), Clarke, Buchanan, Knight, Watson (Sibley, 45).
Substitutes: Marshall, Forsyth, Waghorn, Baningime.
Brentford: Raya, Norgaard, Canos (Fosu, 71), Jensen (Ghoddos, 71), Toney, Jansson (C), Mbuemo, Dalsgaard, Reid, Janelt, Sorensen.
Substitutes: Daniels, Pinnock, Forss, Emiliano, Roerslev, Žambůrek, Bidstrup.