There were joyous scenes at Pride Park Stadium on Saturday as Derby County were promoted back to the Sky Bet Championship thanks to a 2-0 victory over Carlisle United.

Goals from Max Bird and top scorer James Collins cemented the win on a memorable day for the club as Head Coach Paul Warne led the Rams back to the second tier.

Key Moments

It was almost the perfect start for the Rams with Nathaniel Mendez-Laing inches away from finding the target in the opening three minutes. He worked a yard of space in the middle of the park and drove forwards before letting fly from range but his effort flew just wide of the post.

But there were in front within the opening five minutes and it was Academy graduate Bird with a sublime strike on his final appearance for the club ahead of formally joining Bristol City in the summer. The midfielder picked the ball up centrally and let fly from 25-yards and saw his effort rifle into the corner.

After a rapid start from the Rams, the visitors did grow into the game more and had a couple of penalty shouts in quick succession that were swiftly waved away by the referee.

But just as Carlisle were building a bit of momentum, Derby had the ball in the net a second time, although this time it would not count. Neat interplay around the edge of the area eventually fell to Louie Sibley on his right foot and his side footed effort looked destined for the corner but for a miraculous clearance off the line. The rebound then made its way to Ebou Adams who fired home but the flag was immediately raised to halt celebrations.

Georgie Kelly's looping header forced Joe Wildsmith into a smart save as the Cumbrians continued to fire warning shots of their own.

The Rams started the second period much like they did the first and were inches away from doubling their lead. Mendez-Laing beat his man for pace down the right and whipped a delightful ball into the box which had striker Collins stretching but he couldn't quite get there to prod into what would have been a near open goal.

It was two just before the hour mark and Paul Warne's side were almost there! A free-kick from Wildsmith was headed down into the path of Collins by Sonny Bradley and Derby's top scorer made no mistake, striking beyond Harry Lewis from close-range.

Bird was brought off to a standing ovation from all four sides of the ground with five minutes remaining and the job was done, meaning Derby are promoted back to the Sky Bet Championship at just the second attempt following their exit from administration in the summer of 2022.

The Teams

Derby County: Wildsmith (GK), Wilson (72' Hourihane), Bradley (90' Blackett-Taylor), Cashin, Bird (83' Thompson), Collins, Mendez-Laing (C) (83' Barkhuizen), Smith, Sibley (72' Elder), Adams, Nelson.

Substitutes: Vickers (GK), Washington.

Carlisle United: Lewis (GK), Back, Armer, Lavelle (C), Kelly (69' Gibson), McCalmont, McGeouch (73' Diamond), Mellish, Barclay, Neal, Armstrong.

Substitutes: Breeze (GK), Harris, Emmanuel, Dudik.


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