Mason Bennett said he had ‘dreamt of a moment’ like Sunday afternoon when he fired the Rams back into the play-off places against West Bromwich Albion.
After the Baggies levelled the scoreline at 1-1 to cancel out Martyn Waghorn’s opening goal, Bennett fired in to regain the lead just six minutes after coming off the bench.
Then just three minutes later Harry Wilson tucked away from the penalty spot after Tom Lawrence was brought down to give the Rams a 3-1 victory.
Derby needed all three points to ensure they clinched the final play-off spot with their closest rivals, Middlesbrough, just a point behind and winning their final game of the season at Rotherham United.
Bennett said that the unity of the team is what drove them on to claim all three points.
“I dreamt of a moment like that last night,” said Bennett when speaking to RamsTV.
“I stayed over because I wanted to make sure I had the perfect preparations ready to go today. I am here to make an impact off the bench and I wanted to give back to the players who have supported me all season.
“Our mindset coming into this game was to get the three points. Before the game the gaffer said to us: ‘Don’t worry about anyone else, it’s in our hands’.
“It was a great reaction from the lads to keep going. Everyone’s head went down they scored but we showed that unity and that squad togetherness to get those three points.”
The 22-year-old came off the bench in the 65th minute with the score tied at 1-1 and within five minutes he had fired home to put the Rams back in front.
Tom Lawrence's initial shot was parried by Sam Johnstone and Bennett rushed in to smash the second chance shot home, once again proving his impact off the bench.
“I believe in my ability and I am at this club for a reason. I am just delighted to have been such a crucial part so far. Hopefully I can take that form into the play-offs,” he said.
“I am a striker by trade and when I am in and around the box, I know I need to be on my toes. I learned that from the Nigel Clough days, he was the first one to tell me to be jogging on the spot.
“I am delighted to have scored. I celebrated at the wrong end, but I don’t care! It’s three points and we are in the play-offs.”
Though the 2018/19 season is not over for the Rams, Bennett reflected in what has been his best yet with the Rams.
The young forward showed his appreciation to his team-mates, Frank Lampard and the coaching staff for pushing him on.
He said: “By far, absolutely by far my best season here. I have never played so many minutes, I’ve never scored so many goals and I have never set so many goals up.
“It is all thanks to the gaffer and the team and players for believing in me and giving me the confidence to go out there and perform.”