Martyn Waghorn said he was delighted to open his account on the season as his brace against Stoke City earned Derby County a draw but is disappointed it wasn’t all three points.
The Rams’ striker opened the scoring in the second minute at the bet365 stadium for his first goal of the 2019/20 Sky Bet Championship campaign.
The Potter equalised through Liam Lindsay before Lee Gregory saw Derby fall behind for the first time this season as the home side found a way into a game which Derby dominated early on.
Waghorn then converted from the penalty spot with 20 minutes left to draw level, and almost made it a hat-trick when he was played through and looked to chip Jack Butland late on.
The forward commended the squad’s character to work their way back into the game and the desire to keep pushing for the winner until the final whistle.
“I am delighted to get off the mark for the season,” Waghorn told RamsTV. “We are bitterly disappointed we couldn’t have snuck one late one, but we have come to a difficult place early in the season and picked up a point.
“Coming to a place like this, it is a place where they really put it on you early doors. It was a really demanding and tough game so to get the early goal was pleasing and it settled a few nerves.
“Gradually we let them get into how they play the game and ultimately got back into the game by doing that.”
He added: “We really needed that second goal, it is vitally important that we get ahead and get the fans turning against them because they have been under a bit of pressure here.
“It is disappointing to let them back in the game, but it was good character by the boys to get us back in the game and earn a point. We have to look at the positives and move forwards.”
Waghorn looked to get off the mark for the season last weekend against Swansea City, but his penalty drew a good save by the Swans keeper to deny his effort.
That did little to deter the Rams’ No. 9’s confidence who had no doubt that when that opportunity would come again, he would be ready.
He was ready, and confident, against the England and Stoke keeper after George Evans was taken down in the area and he nestled the spot-kick into the corner.
“I was always going to take it,” Waghorn explained. “I spoke to the staff after the previous game and they said: ‘you have a good record, it is the striker’s decision.’
“I am never going to turn down a penalty opportunity. The one last week was a good save, I hit it where I wanted to hit it and that is the luck of the draw sometimes. I have played with Jack [Butland] before, he goes early so I just thought be safe and get it in the corner.
“Jack is a big keeper and has good reflexes. I knew early doors what I was going to do and know what he is about, so I am pleased with it.”
The Rams will look to continue their strong start to the season with back-to-back home games as Bristol City and West Bromwich Albion travel to Pride Park on Tuesday and Saturday respectively.
Waghorn is hoping to accumulate more positive results heading into to the first international break of the season.
“It is another good game [against Bristol]. I think the opening fixtures has been a challenge, but we have come through them alright at the minute and we just have to build on the start that we have had.
“Two home games on the bounce now and we need to take advantage of that and go on a little run going into the break.”