Derby County 1 Norwich City 1: Canaries pegged back late but go eight unbeaten
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City were denied all three points in the closing minutes but extended their unbeaten run to eight games in a 1-1 draw at Championship rivals Derby County on Wednesday.
Timm Klose powered home Emi Buendia's corner in the second half at Pride Park but Craig Bryson salvaged a point for Frank Lampard's hosts when he poked home from close range in the 86th minute.
City had to endure a desperate late onslaught as Derby went for the jugular but held on for a spirited point.
Daniel Farke named an unchanged line up for the fourth league game in a row as old boys James Maddison, John Ruddy and Ryan Bennett watched on from the away end.
Teemu Pukki's confidence was evident inside the opening three minutes when he burst free but fired over as the angle narrowed after Derby had coughed up cheap possession, much to Lampard's chagrin.
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But City were indebted to Tim Krul in the fifth minute when he shovelled behind David Nugent's half volley when the Canaries' backline allowed Scott Carson's booming goal kick to drop uncontested.
Farke's unchanged side survived another scare when Harry Wilson burst between Christoph Zimmermann and Max Aarons before tumbling inside the visitors' penalty area. Referee Eltringham was quick to wave away home penalty appeals.
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There was a zip and a tempo to the early skirmishes that illustrated the mutual respect between the two camps. Farke made it clear he expected the Rams to challenge for promotion during the build up and Lampard was no less fulsome in his praise of the soaring Canaries.
City's play was infused with a bullish self confidence. Marco Stiepermann picked out the overlapping Aarons but Derby got numbers back. Leitner then whipped a corner onto Zimmermann's head but the centre back's effort lacked the venom to trouble Carson.
It was bright and progressive. The black-suited Lampard appeared at the front of his technical area to demand more composure. The presence of Wilson and Chelsea's Mason Mount in the home ranks hinted at plenty of creative potential.
Yet Alex Tettey's sixth sense dampened any sparks in front of his back four during the opening quarter. Aarons was dragged out of possession in allowing Scott Malone an unobstructed path to the City penalty area but Tettey used all his nous to shepherd Malone inside before smothering the danger.
Norwich sensed opportunity with each turnover.
Emi Buendia was crudely upended just outside the Rams' penalty area. Stiepermann whipped in a delicious free kick right under the bar that Richard Keogh headed away. Pukki's spiralling shot then sent Carson airborne before it dropped outside his far post.
But a Championship contest is about peaks and troughs. City were unable to apply the final cut in a fertile period midway through the first half.
Krul then lost his bearings dealing with a deep cross to invite Derby forward. Wilson's free kick clipped the Norwich wall shortly after to force a flurry of corners.
Mount then swivelled onto a pass but hammered at Krul before the Dutchman thwarted Derby's dangerman with a superb parry in the 38th minute after Mount had slalomed his way through.
That stop may have carried added value had Todd Cantwell not slammed a shot at the grounded Carson from 12 yards seconds later when he collected a fortunate ricochet.
Norwich started the second half on the front foot. Klose triggered a patient bout of possession that moved seamlessly up the park before Buendia freed the overlapping Aarons who produced a cross headed behind. Derby mopped up from the set piece but the ambition was again admirable from Farke's men.
Jamal Lewis displayed City's pragmatic side in the 53rd minute when he eased Wilson into the hoardings to earn a booking.
Derby's sense of growing urgency was underlined with the arrival of Tom Lawrence, who replaced Mason Bennett on the hour mark. Jack Marriott then replaced David Nugent. Farke opted not to twist. It was an inspired call. Klose bent his run like a predatory striker to leap unchallenged and crash home Buendia's corner in the 69th minute.
Martyn Waghorn arrived in a final throw of the dice from Lampard. The atmosphere at Pride Park turned stormy. Home fans clearly felt Leitner was playing for time when Bogle careered through him tight to the byline. The Derby full back may have felt fortunate to escape a second booking.
Krul looked to secured all three points with a wonderful tip over to foil Mount but the City keeper was left exposed in the 86th minute when Bryson volleyed home Waghorn's low cross six yards out in a pulsating finish to the contest.
• Derby County: Carson, Bryson, Tomori, Keogh, Wilson (Waghorn 71), Mount, Johnson, Bennett (Lawrence 60), Nugent (Marriott 65), Bogle, Malone. Subs (not used): Roos (GK), Forsyth, Pearce, Huddlestone.
• Booking: Bogle (foul on Cantwell, 60)
• Goal: Bryson (86)
• Norwich City: Krul, Aarons, Zimmermann, Klose, Lewis, Tettey, Leitner, Buendia (Thompson 85), Stiepermann (Vrancic 83), Cantwell (Rhodes 90), Pukki. Subs (not used): McGovern, Godfrey, Trybull, Srbeny.
• Bookings: Zimmermann (foul on Mount, 45); Lewis (foul on Wilson, 53)
• Goal: Klose (69)
• Time added on: 1 minute / 5 minutes
• Referee: Geoff Eltringham (Durham)
• Attendance: 24,236