Derby manager Nigel Clough admitted being staggered by the performance of his players after they battled with 10 men for almost the entire match to earn a 2-1 victory over East Midlands rivals Nottingham Forest.
Goalkeeper Frank Fielding's second-minute red card provided a dramatic start at the City Ground as he brought down Ishmael Miller and Andy Reid netted the resulting penalty. Jamie Ward equalised before half time and teenager Jeff Hendrick struck the winning goal midway through the second half.
''In the context of the moment, coming off the back of consecutive defeats and wanting to stay in the top six and against the adversity of the opening two minutes, I thought it was an absolutely remarkable performance - staggering,'' said Clough.
The manner of Derby's equaliser in the 29th minute was just as dramatic as the opening goal.
As Forest full-back Chris Cohen lay injured on the ground midway inside the County half, following an innocuous-looking clash with Mark O'Brien, Derby worked the ball out to Ward on the left wing amid a chorus of boos from the home supporters who wanted play stopped.
Ward evaded a challenge from Radoslaw Majewski to reach the byline, where he knocked the ball round Wes Morgan and collected it on the other side of the burly centre-half before squeezing a low shot past Lee Camp from an acute angle.
Clough said: ''Its not our job to stop play. You are told from five years old to play to the whistle and that is what we did. If the referee wants to stop it or feels like he should then he will do that. But let's not take anything away from Jamie Ward because it was an absolutely brilliant individual goal.''
Forest manager Steve McClaren, who is still looking for his first npower Championship victory at the City Ground, agreed with Clough but was critical of his players' defending.
''I wouldn't have stopped, I would have played on,'' said McClaren. ''That decision is up to the referee. I don't expect any favours.
''But I also didn't expect us to switch off. To allow Ward to travel nearly 50 yards and skip by two challenges and slide the ball in from where he did was unacceptable."
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