Sheffield Wednesday battled bravely but were undone by a Darren Bent penalty that sent host Derby County top of the Championship as they came from behind twice at the iPro stadium, in a game where either side could have claimed three-points.
Backed by a sold out away following in a crowd of more than 31,000, Wednesday twice took the lead. Yes, that's right, Wednesday scored twice! However the normally resilient defence leaked three goals, with the last coming from the penalty spot after goalkeeper Keiren Westwood was sent off, he now faces an automatic three-match ban.
Again not good news, as he has been a standout performer not just for Wednesday, but as arguably the best goalkeeper in the whole of the Championship this season. Prior to kick-off Stuart Gray was forced into a change due to Sergui Buś pulling up injured, with Atdhe Nuhiu taking his place.
During a mediocre first half it was Wednesday who drew first blood as Watford loanee Lewis McGugan put the away side into the lead with a superb curling free-kick.
This was after Will Hughes gave away a soft free-kick on the edge of his own area and McGugan's effort looped over the wall, leaving former Owls goalkeeper Lee Grant rooted to his spot. But McGugan's goal failed to give Wednesday a foothold in the game.
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The second half started with a bang and set the tone for a thrilling half of football, and with just a minute played after the break Steve McClaren's side were level when defender Buxton rose to turn in, glancing home the equaliser from George Thorne's corner.
Only the second time the Owls have conceded from a corner this season, sadly not the last in this game. However, it was Wednesday reclaimed the lead when Will Keane pounced on slack Derby defending to fire home for 2-1.
Rams Fans' Pleasant Surprise
Derby gave the ball away cheaply and Keane, who is on loan from Manchester United, took full advantage to beat Grant at the near post. Shocked Wednesday fans celebrated a second goal for the first time since their last trip to the East Midlands in a dominant display over Nottingham Forest back on 10th January.
Stuart Gray's side sensed they had Derby in trouble, and Kieran Lee sliced an effort towards goal from a Jacques Maghoma's cross when well placed in the area.
But Wednesday still looked vulnerable from corners and set plays, and the inevitable happened as Buxton headed in, Craig Bryson's ball for 2-2 and his third goal of the season.
Both teams had chances to edge in front but the end came as Tom Ince who had earlier missed a glorious chance to level, but could only hit the post. He was pulled down by Westwood in the box leading to his red card.
After a delay whilst Stuart Gray reshuffled his side, substitute keeper Chris Kirkland failed to save a Darren Bent spot-kick giving the hosts the lead for the first time in the match.
As the fourth official indicated five-minutes of injury time Wednesday fans hoped for another Reda Johnson style equaliser at the same ground, but Derby held on to the lead to move two points clear at the top of the table.
Wednesday drop into 12th spot and after an awful period in February, they now look unlikely to trouble the play-off positions for another season. Wednesday now move on to the always tricky fixture away at Millwall on Tuesday evening (24th February) who are yet again fighting relegation.
So Wednesday will be looking to claim three-points for the first time since victory over Forest in January and worsen the survival chances for Ian Holloway's side.
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