When the ball dropped from the sky some 20 yards from goal in the final minute of Derby County's Sky Bet Championship clash at Middlesbrough, with the Rams 2-1 down, there was only one thing on Duane Holmes’ mind. That was to hit it.

Whilst he didn’t quite get the connection he desired, by his own admission, the ball found the bottom corner to earn Derby a deserved point in a 2-2 draw at the Riverside Stadium.

Lewis Wing had given Middlesbrough a first half lead, however, the Rams reacted positively in the second half and equalised on 54 minutes through Jason Knight’s third goal of the season.

The home side managed to regain the lead from the penalty spot through Paddy McNair, but in the final minute of the encounter, Holmes struck to draw Derby level.

It is the midfielder’s first goal of the campaign and extended the Rams' unbeaten run to five games in all competitions.

“It was nice to score one,” he told RamsTV. “I just tried to watch the ball onto my foot and thankfully it rolled down my shin and went in!

“I’ll take it and it was a good point in the end. I don’t care how they go in. It was a great point for the team, and I think we could have gone on to get all three points to be honest.

“I think if we went home without a point today, we would be very disappointed. As bad as we were in the first half, we were better in the second half.

“Even in the first half we missed two good chances and we just need to be more ruthless and put them away, then the results will come.

“We just know we need to be better than we were in the first-half. We proved in the second half that we can match teams and it is just about doing it for 90 minutes rather than 45."

Whilst Holmes admitted the Rams’ first half performance was below the standards set, they started the second half a lot better and equalised 10 minutes into the half.

Knight’s third goal in as many league games pulled Derby level through a fortuitous effort and asked whether he was claiming it, Holmes said: “He’s trying to claim it, but we all know he crossed it.

“Knighty is a great player; he works hard for the team and he deserves that bit of luck.He works so hard for the team and he deserves every bit of luck he gets.”

And on a personal level, the midfielder is enjoying a sustained spell in the starting XI under manager Phillip Cocu, something he is thoroughly enjoying.

“I am really enjoying my football and it is just nice to be back playing consistently,” he commented. “I think I am starting to get back to my best now and I just want to keep it going.”