Rams and Brewers battle out 16-goal thriller in Andy Corbett's Testimonial at Burton Albion.
Derby County’s first-team squad turned out in force for Andy Corbett’s Testimonial at Burton Albion’s Pirelli Stadium on Tuesday evening, with the Rams drawing 8-8 with a Brewers XI in a thrilling night’s entertainment.
It was an evening of celebration at the Pirelli Stadium as Corbett brought down the curtain on over ten years of service for the Brewers in style, with Nigel Clough showing his utmost respect for the 31-year-old by taking a first-team squad to Staffordshire.
Originally signed as a striker by then Burton manager Clough in November 2003, Corbett went on represent the Brewers on almost 500 occasions and it was announced this week he is to leave Burton this summer to pursue other career opportunities.
The Burton legend enjoyed a Testimonial Dinner and a Golf Day last month ahead of impending retirement this summer, and the Testimonial game saw his former team-mates turned out in force as a Burton Albion XI took on the Rams.
The right-back was also an integral part of the team as Burton gained promotion to the Football League as Champions in 2009 and he was welcomed onto the field with a guard of honour at a sun-soaked Pirelli Stadium.
Derby’s starting line-up included ex-Burton players Adam Legzdins, John Brayford and Jake Buxton, all of which had played alongside Corbett during their time at the Pirelli Stadium, while a strong line-up also included Player of the Year Richard Keogh, top scorer Jamie Ward and Republic of Ireland international duo Jeff Hendrick and Conor Sammon.
Sammon was denied the opening goal of the game on five minutes as ex-Derby goalkeeper Poole rolled back the years with a superb reflex save, diving low to his left to tip the striker’s curling shot onto the post from 12 yards out.
49-year-old Poole made another fine stop from Ward’s curling effort on 15 minutes as the Rams cranked up the pressure, but within 120 seconds down the other end striker Shaun Harrad, who suffered Playoff heartbreak in League 2 only 48 hours previously with Cheltenham Town, tapped home Greg Pearson’s right-wing centre for Burton.
However, the lead lasted only a few minutes as Derby broke away to equalise as Coutts played Ward in goal, and the Northern Ireland international lashed home a superb left-foot volley from the edge of the box.
Within a minute, Ward went from goalscorer to provider as the Rams turned the game on its head. He burst away down the right-hand side and managed to deliver a low cross, which picked out Ben Davies at the near post to guide past Poole with his outstretched leg.
Derby’s ruthless streak continued just before the half hour mark as Sammon collected a loose ball in the box and, buoyed by his weekend winner against Millwall on the final day of the season at Pride Park, he calmly stroked the ball into the bottom corner past Poole from just inside the penalty area.
The game settled down to a slower pace in the latter stages of the half, with Derby going in at the interval 3-1 to the good.
Both sides rang the changes at the break and Theo Robinson, on in place of Sammon after returning from his loan stint at Huddersfield Town in the final months of the season, made an immediate impact on the game with a quickfire brace.
First he netted with well-taken individual effort make it 4-1, producing a number of step-overs before thundering home a low shot in off the far post from just inside the area.
Then, a minute later, the Jamaica international chipped home number five on 53 minutes, again from just inside the box, leaving Poole stranded as his delicate effort drifted into the far corner.
There was no let-up in the goalscoring either as the scoreline was stretched to 6-1 when another substitute, Nathan Tyson, raced clear on goal and lashed home a thunderbolt of a left-foot drive from 20 yards into the roof of Poole’s net to announce his return from his recent loan spell at Millwall in emphatic style.
Burton recovered well and managed to pull two goals back through Marc Goodfellow and Harrad, with half-time substitute Ross Atkins stranded in the Derby goal to make it 6-3.
After a spell of around five minutes of trying to lay a chance on a late for Corbett to get his name on the scoresheet, he finally got his goal with just under 20 minutes to play with a towering header from a few yards out from Jimmy Phillips’s cross to the delight of the crowd.
Following the plethora of Burton goals, Derby got themselves back on the scoresheet to go 7-4 up with 15 minutes left to play as Tyson let fly with a rocket of an effort from 20 yards out that thundered past Poole before he could move.
The scoreline was cut back to 7-6 however as Greg Pearson and Billy Kee both lashed home from close range, only for Robinson to complete his hat-trick with five minutes left by racing into the box to get on the end of Tyson’s low cross.
There was no let-up in the goalscoring though as Jack Sharkey made it 8-7 with a minute left to play – before Corbett levelled matters from the spot to make it 8-8 with the final kick of the game.
Burton Albion XI: Poole, Corbett, Webster, Stanton, James, McGrath, Phillips, Simpson, Pearson, Harrad, Goodfellow.
Subs: Holmes, Stride, Bell, McCrory, Kee, Palmer, Sharkey, Rowlands.
Derby County: Legzdins (Atkins), Brayford (Hoganson), Freeman, Hendrick (Doyle), Keogh (Gjokaj), Buxton (O’Connor), Coutts (Bennett), Davies, Sammon (Robinson), Ward (Tyson), Jacobs.
Subs: Tyson, Atkins, Bennett, O’Connor, Robinson, Doyle, Gjokaj, Hoganson.