Timi Max Elsnik scored the winning penalty on his senior debut as Derby County defeated Carlisle United 14-13 on penalties to secure a place in the Third Round of the EFL Cup.
Darren Bent struck the contest’s opening goal in the second half, but Mike Jones’ dramatic injury time shot took the meeting with the Sky Bet League 2 side into extra time.
No further goals were scored during the extra 30 minutes and after Joe McKee missed his penalty, Elsnik calmly struck the winner to bring the curtain down on a mammoth cup tie at the iPro Stadium.
The meeting also saw Nigel Pearson field Max Lowe from the start for his senior debut too against the Cumbrians.
The 19-year-old full back was one of eight changes from the team that drew 0-0 with Aston Villa at the weekend and Derby started brightly against a team two divisions below them.
Nick Blackman was the first to try his luck, seeing an effort from an acute angle stopped by Mark Gillespie in the Carlisle goal and Abdoul Camara, making his first start of the season, bent a shot well wide after cutting inside from the right with ease.
The visitors’ goalkeeper had to be alert to claim a teasing Lowe centre and, later, Jacob Butterfield saw a drive from the edge of the area turned narrowly wide by Darren Bent, who did not have chance to get evade the shot.
Keith Curle’s squad were far from out of the game, though, and looked confident in possession as they put together a couple of early prolonged spells of passing moves.
As was the case against Grimsby Town two weeks ago, however, they very rarely threatened Scott Carson’s goal as the Rams’ stubborn defence, which had kept four clean sheets in five games prior to this meeting, kept them at arm’s length.
Their best opportunity came through Mark Ellis, the defender who had been restored to the Cumbrians’ starting line-up at the iPro Stadium, but his header from a deep corner was easily claimed by Carson, whilst Jamie Devitt screwed a shot wide late on in the half after a break away move.
Gillespie and the Carlisle defence remained the far busier, though. Blackman saw a firm effort palmed away by Gillespie before the half hour mark, whilst Bradley Johnson fired wide after collecting a pass from Lowe.
The second half saw Derby far more on the front foot with Camara looking particularly lively.
He fired well over the crossbar on two occasions after causing havoc down the right side and the Rams made their dominance count by opening the scoring on 56 minutes.
Initially, Blackman was unlucky not to open his account for the season as Gillespie got a fingertip to his long range effort, turning it on to the crossbar, but Bent reacted quickest to slot the loose ball into the back of the net.
Curle, the Carlisle boss, responded by making two attacking changes – introducing Charlie Wyke and Jabo Ibehre – and whilst his intent would pay off right at the very death of normal time, Derby still looked firmly in control.
With 13 minutes remaining, Blackman cracked a low effort just wide after good work by Elsnik, the substitute, whilst Tom Ince also cleverly exchanged passes with the Slovenian before shooting wide.
The contest looked done and dusted. It looked as though the Rams were comfortably through to the Third Round of the competition, but with the whistle in the referee’s mouth, Carlisle got back on level terms in sublime fashion as Jones, denied by Carson only moments earlier, found the back of the net with a long range strike - five minutes into added time.
Carlisle had their tails up and looked the more likely during extra time and would have taken the lead, but for a hacked clearance off the line by Johnson after Carson had been beaten to a free kick in the area.
At the other end, Gillespie pulled off a fine save to deny Ince’s shot from the edge of the area, whilst Butterfield lashed another effort from 20 yards well wide as Pearson’s side fought their way from the late blow.
Blackman had two opportunities in the early stages of the second half of extra time, sending both off target and Elsnik came even closer to finding a winner, sending a low drive agonisingly wide with Gillespie seemingly beaten.
The chances continued to fall to Derby. Richard Keogh, facing his former club, headed wide too after connecting with an Elsnik flick following a set play and Hughes got too much lift on a first time shot inside the area after being picked out by Johnson.
Gillespie was called into action again in the dying embers, thwarting Ince after a prolonged spell of possession and that proved to be the last of the chances, leaving the contest to be decided on a penalty shootout, which the Rams edged to secure a place in the hat for the next round of the competition.
Carlisle United: Devitt (x2), Jones (x2), Joyce (x2), Wyke miss, Grainger (x2), McKee, Gillesphey, Ibehre miss, T. Miller, Raynes, Wyke (second time around), McKee miss.
Derby County: Ince (x2), Blackman (x2), Butterfield (x2), Hughes miss, Keogh (x2), Elsnik (x2), Baird, Pearce miss, Lowe, Carson, Hughes (second time around).
Derby County: Carson, Baird, Keogh (C), Pearce, Olsson (Elsnik, 73); Camara (Ince, 66), Johnson, Butterfield, Lowe; Bent (Hughes, 66), Blackman
Substitutes not used: Grant, Martin, Hanson, Rawson
Carlisle United: Gillespie, Grainger (C), Joyce, Rayes, Ellis (Ibehre, 64), Jones, Adams (McKee, 54), Gillesphey, Devitt, S Miller (Wyke, 65), T Miller
Substitutes not used: Crocombe, Atkinson, Penn, Lambe
Attendance: 9,860 (611 Carlisle supporters)