Nottingham Forest took the spoils in a fiercely-contested East Midlands derby as second-half goals from Lewis Grabban and Brennan Johnson put them on course for a 2-1 Championship victory over Derby.
After the hosts went 2-0 up, there was a dramatic finale as Tom Lawrence netted from the penalty spot in the 87th minute to reduce the deficit, before Derby substitute Ravel Morrison was shown a red card in injury time, for a high challenge on Philip Zinckernagel.
Grabban netted his 13th goal of the season in all competitions to put the home side ahead three minutes into the second half and it was no more than they deserved when Johnson added the second, eight minutes from time.
When Steve Cook brought down Lawrence it gave Wayne Rooney’s side the chance to pull one back, but Steve Cooper’s Forest held out for a memorable win to end a run of four consecutive 1-1 draws between the two sides.
Lawrence should have put Derby ahead after 16 minutes following a neat exchange of passes on the edge of the box, which left him with a clear sight of goal from 12 yards out – but he rolled a low shot the wrong side of the post.
Forest carved out a good chance of their own, when Keinan Davis used his strength to flick the ball into the path of the advancing Ryan Yates, who took a touch before driving a low shot, which Ryan Allsop saved well.
A great ball from James Garner put Johnson in down the right but his cross – hit on the stretch – flew right across goal.
There was a flashpoint when Jack Colback sent Davis chasing a ball down the centre of the pitch. Allsop raced out of his box to challenge and made no contact with the ball.
Forest felt that the goalkeeper had made contact with the striker, but referee Tim Robinson was not convinced, with the home protests falling on deaf ears.
The hosts made an electric start to the second half as Derby failed to clear a James Garner free-kick.
Davis laid the ball off for Cook to have a shot which was deflected but fell perfectly for Grabban, who made no mistake as he drove the ball home emphatically from a few yards out.
A mistake at the back then let in Davis for a sight of goal but Derby recovered with Allsop charging down his shot for a corner.
Forest had survived a goalmouth scramble at one end before Garner almost extended their lead at the other, with a free-kick bent narrowly the wrong side of the post.
Grabban almost had a second when he spotted Allsop off his line, but his 30-yard lob dropped wide of the target.
Djed Spence made room for a shot but could not make it 2-0 as he bent his effort high of the angle of post and crossbar.
Forest did get their second with eight minutes to play, as substitute Zinckernagel rampaged down the left, before cutting the ball back for Johnson to slide home.
That was not the end of the drama as Cook brought down Lawrence in the box to give Derby a penalty with three minutes to go.
Lawrence hammered the ball low into the bottom corner to make it 2-1, before both he and goalkeeper Brice Samba earned yellow cards as they tussled in the goalmouth.
Morrison was shown the red card for a high challenge as the game ended with a series of clashes between players, including a melee after the final whistle as Forest held on for maximum points.
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Get the best features, fun and footballing frolics straight to your inbox every week.
Thank you for signing up to Four Four Two. You will receive a verification email shortly.
There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.