Stephen Pearson was the last Derby County player to score at Wembley Stadium. That was the goal that sent the Rams to the Premier League in 2007.
In the 61st minute, Derby hit West Bromwich Albion on the counter attack and a cross from substitute Giles Barnes was picked out by Pearson who muscled in front of his marker to tap in the only goal of the game.
It is a goal that Pearson said he will always remember, but the fact that it sealed promotion made it even sweeter.
“We had had a break and I can remember running from just inside our own box when we hit them on the counter,” he recalled.
“It was just about getting inside and that determination to get in the box and luckily it fell for me. It was one of those ones you couldn’t miss – well you could miss, especially on my right foot. It was lovely to score the goal that sealed promotion for us.
“It was great to score a goal of that importance and magnitude at Wembley is such a proud moment for me individually, but to get promoted with Derby was the reason that I came here. I am delighted we achieved that.”
Despite finishing the regular league season in third and the Baggies a place behind in fourth, the midfielder believes that Derby were the under-dogs on that day in the eyes of the outsiders. Within the group, he described the tight-knit group, similar to how the 2018/19 Rams have been described.
“We knew on any given day we were a match for any team. We knew home or away we were going to give whoever a good game,” he explained.
“We were confident in our own ability, quietly confident. I think most pundits wouldn’t have had us as favourites to go up in the play-offs but that just served us more motivation.
“We were up against a good West Brom side that year there were some very talented individuals. The goal was on 60 odd minutes so there was still half an hour for us to dig in, but we had done that all season. We were doing what was natural for us, to dig in, defend for each other, work hard and we got the rewards.
“It was a great team to be part of, the club was on a high and hopefully we can see some more times like that soon.”
Reflecting on the achievement, Pearson saw the bigger picture of what promotion meant for so many people connected to the club and how it uplifted the city.
“It was just one of the proudest moments of my career. I think at the time you take it for granted but when you look back you reflect on things and the importance and what it meant to so many people around Derby.
“Everyone connected to the club from the chairman right down to the people that work to the club on a day-to-day basis. It meant so much to everyone so to play a part in that is something I am very, very proud of.”