Festy Ebosele was delighted to play his part as Derby County progressed to Round Two of the Carabao Cup following a penalty-shootout victory over Sky Bet League Two side Salford City on Tuesday night.
The game ended 3-3 in normal time, however, the Rams struck five successful spot kicks to ensure their passage through to the next stage of the competition.
The visitors raced into an early two-goal lead after Jordan Turnbull headed home from close range, whilst Josh Morris fired home from 25 yards to put Derby on the back foot.
However, Derby reacted well and settled into the game. They were rewarded for their persistence before half time as Isaac Hutchinson netted his first goal for the Rams, whilst before the break, Wayne Rooney’s side could have drawn level as Louie Sibley’s fierce effort struck the post.
Derby kept up the pressure and intensity in the second half and were rewarded with 20 minutes of the game remaining as Festy Ebosele’s pace caused havoc and earned a penalty kick.
Colin Kazim-Richards dispatched from the spot despite slipping during his run up, however, three minutes later, Salford won a penalty of their own as Craig Forsyth was adjudged to have brought down Luke Burgess inside the area, despite replays suggesting it was outside the box.
Morris stepped up and scored, but that wasn’t the end of the action. With 80 minutes on the clock, Ravel Morrison smashed a free kick into the wall but with the ball falling perfectly for him, he struck into the top corner to send the game to penalties.
Five successful penalties followed with Graeme Shinnie, Kazim-Richards, Jordan Brown, Forsyth and Louie Watson all converting, whilst Salford’s Burgess was denied by Rams goalkeeper Ryan Allsop.
Ebosele, who received the Sky Sports Man of the Match following his impressive display, was pleased to play his part.
“I want to say all my thanks to God,” he told RamsTV. “It was amazing to be out there. It was my first start for the club and hopefully there will be many more to come but on the team I thought we played well.
“Being 2-0 down is never good but the gaffer was saying to us to keep playing the way we want to play. It is football, sometimes you have slow starts and good starts, but it’s all about how you react.
“In training, everybody trains well and we always say if we go behind then it’s not the end of the world and you can still win the game so that’s what we did.”
The fans took to the Republic of Ireland Under-21 international well as his direct play forced problems for the opposition defence.
Supporters took him to their hearts immediately and sang his name loud from the stands.
“The fans have always been behind me, ever since I came to the club,” he said. “I love them for that.
“I’m loving football more than I ever have at the moment. It’s amazing to be in the first team and hopefully I can continue on this path.
“This game is done now. We will enjoy it but all focus is now on the next game. you have to be down to earth, anything can happen in football, both good moments and bad moments so you need to learn to keep going.”