Derby County recorded a 1-1 draw at Doncaster Rovers as part of their friendly double-header on Tuesday.
While one group of first-team squad members were in action at Sky Bet League 2 side Port Vale, the other took on League 1 newcomers Doncaster at the Keepmoat Stadium – with assistant boss Kevin Summerfield and first-team coach Kevin Phillips in the dugout.
Richard Keogh’s first-half header saw the Rams in front at the break, but the hosts hit back to equalise through Tommy Rowe just before the hour mark.
Chris Martin did have the chance to restore the Rams’ lead on 74 minutes, but he blazed a penalty over after Mason Bennett was brought down in the box.
The thinking behind playing two games in one night was to give as many players as possible from Derby’s first-team squad the opportunity to get 90 minutes under their belts and have the same recovery time, following the 45-minute run-outs at Kidderminster Harriers and Macclesfield Town last week.
On that basis, it was mission accomplished in an entertaining and challenging match against Darren Ferguson’s side.
It was Doncaster who had the first effort of the encounter on three minutes as Rowe tried his luck with a strike from distance, but he forced a routine save from England Under-21 international goalkeeper Jonathan Mitchell.
However, with their first serious attack of the game, Derby took the lead after 14 minutes - and it was skipper Keogh who was on the mark with a fine header.
Jacob Butterfield delivered an inviting corner from the right-hand side into the box and the Republic of Ireland international rose highest, showing great desire to beat his marker, and power the ball into the net from around eight yards out.
From that point, Derby enjoyed long spells where the majority of the game was played in the Rovers half and managed to get into some decent attacking positions, but they were unable to test the palms of home goalkeeper Ian Lawlor.
The Rams nearly got a second goal on 35 minutes as Johnson latched into a ball in behind the Rovers defence and cut the ball back to Martin, but the striker saw his powerful shot thump against the inside of the post and bounce away to safety.
That was the last meaningful effort of the half and the Rams were full value for their one-goal lead at the turnaround.
The hosts pushed for a leveller early in the second half and substitute James Coppinger forced a decent save from Mitchell at his near post.
Their pressure continued and just before the hour mark they were back on level terms as Danny Andrew played Rowe in on goal, and he kept his cool to slot past the advancing Mitchell.
Doncaster, lifted by their equaliser, pushed to take the lead. They made a number of changes, as expected, to freshen up their side – so it was understandable that the Rams’ tiring legs were beginning to play a part in proceedings.
Derby did find a second wind however, and had a great chance to go back after with 16 minutes to go. Bennett was brought down in the box after good work by Martin and David Nugent, but Martin fired his spot-kick over the bar and into the travelling 608 Rams fans behind the goal.
Another just swiftly followed, but Andreas Weimann’s fine curling effort from the edge of the box clipped the top of the bar with Lawlor beaten.
The final stages concluded with little to report in terms of action - other than Martin hooking a shot narrowly wide from inside the box - but, pleasingly, every member of the starting line-up played the full game.
With another box ticked in pre-season, it’s on to Kaiserslautern in Germany on Saturday!
Doncaster Rovers: Lawlor, Blair, Andrew, Garratt, Trialist, Wright, Whiteman, Mason, Marquis, Rowe (C), May.
Substitutes: Marosi, Butler, Beestin, Coppinger, Williams, Mandeville, Walker, Middleton, Trialist
Derby County: Mitchell, Hanson, Keogh, Pearce, Forsyth, Butterfield, Johnson, Bennett, Nugent, Weimann, Martin.
Substitutes: Roos, Rawson, Bird, Karic, Babos, Jakobsen, Gordon, Taylor.
Attendance: 2,618 (605 Derby County supporters)