Derby County bowed out of the Carabao Cup in the second round after a late strike from Adam Hammill meant the Rams suffered a 3-2 defeat at the hands of Barnsley at Oakwell.
Result aside, Gary Rowett was able to hand George Thorne his first competitive start in over a year, whilst Academy pair Max Bird and Callum Guy made their senior debuts in South Yorkshire.
In an action-packed first 45 minutes, as little as three minutes had passed before the deadlock was very nearly broken by the hosts after Harvey Barnes, the on loan Leicester City man, struck the crossbar with force from the edge of the box.
Quick counter-attacking play from the Rams, though, gave Barnsley headaches from the start and on six minutes Johnny Russell opened the scoring with a well-placed finish from inside the box after he had been picked out by Chris Martin.
Despite being a goal down, the Tykes looked sharp and incisive going forwards and after going close on a number of occasions, they found an equaliser courtesy of Adam Jackson’s glancing header on 18 minutes.
Derby sought and instantaneous reaction and just four minutes later, Russell head the perfect chance to do so after a brave run from Ikechi Anya ended with him cutting the ball back, but the wideman fired straight at the ‘keeper.
Rowett’s side settled down as the clock ticked on and grew in stature and with the game looking set for a draw going into the break, Anya thought different as he broke down the right side to deliver a very dangerous looking cross, which Bennett guided in at the far post.
The 20-year-old looked to add to his tally early in the second half, testing Adam Davies on two occasions, but the Barnsley shot-stopper tipped both efforts behind for corners.
After that, the game went quiet for a brief period and the Rams looked to be well on course for a fifth win in six matches.
Tom Bradshaw had different ideas and on 73 minutes he benefitted from some wasteful play and got on the end of a low driven cross from the right to throw his side straight back into the mix.
They weren’t done and with just two minutes remaining, Hammill, on as a substitute, found the back of the net with a curling effort from 25-yards to complete the comeback and set up a Round Three tie with Tottenham Hotspur at Wembley Stadium.
Barnsley: Davies, McCarthy, Jackson, Pinnock, Pearson, Williams, Barnes, Potts (McGeehan, 88), Moncur (Thiam, 66), Hedges (Hammill, 61), Bradshaw
Substitutes not used: Townsend, Lindsay, Bird, Ugbo
Derby County: Mitchell, Wisdom, Pearce, Shackell, Forsyth; Thorne, Bird (Guy, 81); Anya, Russell, Bennett (Lawrence, 82); Martin
Substitutes not used: Roos, Baird, Keogh, Vydra, Nugent
Finding pockets of space and orchestrating the majority of Derby’s attacks throughout the entirety of this fixture, Russell imposed himself brilliantly in all areas of the pitch.
As well as finding the back of the next withhis superbly placed effort – his first goal of the 2017/18 season – Russell did the dirty side of the game just as well, challenging for every second ball and continually putting pressure on Barnsley’s deepest lying defender.
He very easily could have had more goals to his name, but this was another typically dogged display from the Scotsman, this time in the ‘number 10’ role.
Bradshaw’s equaliser on 74 minutes was crucial and changed the complexion of the whole contest.
With Derby 2-1 up, they looked comfortable in the second half against a Barnsley side that looked out of ideas of how to get back in the game.
A Rams mistake led to Bradshaw’s goal and the pendulum swung in favour of the Tykes who made the most of it and went on to win the tie through Hammill’s stunning winner.
What’s To Come…
After exiting the Carabao Cup, the Rams now quickly turn their attention back to the Sky Bet Championship once again as they prepare to take on Bristol City away from home.
Looking to build on the emphatic 5-0 victory of Hull City, Rowett’s side will be keen to make it two wins out of two as they continue to try and climb up the table.