Derby County came back 2-0 at halftime to earn a deserved draw with championship top drivers Brentford.
After 27 penalty goals in the eighth minute for Championship top scorer Ivan Toney and a low shot from Sergi Canos, Lee Gregory recovered one of his opponents in front of the superb left curler Louie Sibley, just four minutes from time.
Brentford, who now leads Watford to second by five points, looked on course for a fourth win in five games.
But Derby boss Wayne Rooney turned things upside down with a three-way substitution at halftime.
And it paid off as the Rams fought back to earn just their second point in five games in March – and steer clear of danger eight points.
Derby had already endured a miserable month, collecting just one point and drawing four successive blanks in front of goal.
It looked bad for the Rams when Bryan Mbeumo was knocked down by Lee Buchanan and Toney converted.
Then Canos stepped in from the left in the 23rd minute to pierce a low right-footed shot that beat goalkeeper Kelle Roos to his near-right post to seemingly put the Bees on track for another victory.
But Gregory was one of three halftime substitutes and the loaned Stoke City forward, who replaced Louie Watson, scored within two minutes of his arrival.
He managed Nathan Byrne’s low cross at close range for only his second goal for the Rams since arriving on the last day of the transfer window last month.
It gave the Rams the confidence to look for more and they got their point when Sibley scored his first goal in almost eight months – since the 3-1 win at Birmingham last July.
Another Derby sub, Patrick Roberts, who had just arrived, slipped a pass to his left inside and Sibley carefully feigned to give himself the space he needed to send a superb shot 20 meters beyond the reach of David Raya.
Derby boss Wayne Rooney:
“The first half was everything we didn’t want. We looked a little nervous and if you let teams like Brentford this space they’ll hurt you so I had to make some changes at halftime.
“We showed great energy and great character and we fully earned a point at the end. We came out at half-time and played without fear.
“I know it’s hard sometimes to do that, but that’s what we have to do. We have to believe that we are a good team.
“If we play up front, are aggressive, take risks and aren’t afraid of the consequences, we’ll do well. The second half was very good. We had Brentford in the back. “
Thomas Frank, Brentford Head Coach:
“Definitely a game in two halves. We were absolutely excellent in the first half, maybe one of the best we’ve played so far in the season, totally in control on and off the ball.
“We could have been more than two and we talked at half-time about the need to pick up the pace because we knew they were going to fly.
“They changed three players so we knew something was going to happen. Then they got that goal, so now it’s a masterstroke from Wayne and his coaching staff and it was well deserved.
“Sure, they deserve some respect because they did what they did to make a difference. But we have to do better. We just didn’t keep the ball well enough. “
- 2WisdomReplaced byRobertsat 86 ‘minutes
- 8BirdReplaced byA lotat 45 ‘minutes
- 7JozwiakReplaced bySibleyat 45 ‘minutes
- 40WatsonReplaced byGrégoryat 45 ‘minutes
- 13Kazim-RichardsReplaced byLawrenceat 78 ‘minutes
- 15A lot
- 29Bech Sørensen
- 8JensenReplaced byGhoddosat 71 ‘minutes
- 6NørgaardReplaced byForssat 89 ‘minutes
- 19MbeumoReplaced byRasmussenat 85 ‘minutes
- 7CanósReplaced byFosu-Henryat 71 ‘minutes
Le match se termine, Derby County 2, Brentford 2.
Second Half ends, Derby County 2, Brentford 2.
Fault of Marcus Forss (Brentford).
Matthew Clarke (Derby County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Failed attempt. Tom Lawrence (Derby County) right footed shot from outside the box is near, but misses to the right. Assisted by Lee Gregory.
Fault of Mads Rasmussen (Brentford).
Graeme Shinnie (Derby County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Winston Reid (Brentford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Fault of Lee Gregory (Derby County).
Replacement, Brentford. Marcus Forss replaces Christian Nørgaard.
Goal! Derby County 2, Brentford 2. Louie Sibley (Derby County) left footed shot from outside the box in the upper left corner. Assisted by Patrick Roberts.
Substitution, County Derby. Patrick Roberts replaces Andre Wisdom.
Substitution, Brentford. Mads Rasmussen replaces Bryan Mbeumo.
Faute by Bryan Mbeumo (Brentford).
Louie Sibley (Derby County) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt saved. Jason Knight (Derby County) right footed shot from outside the box is saved into the center of the goal.
Foul by Vitaly Janelt (Brentford).
Jason Knight (Derby County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt blocked. Ivan Toney (Brentford) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Saman Ghoddos.
Foul by Saman Ghoddos (Brentford).