Derby boss Paul Jewell dedicated his side's Carling Cup quarter-final victory to the club's fans after the last-ditch 1-0 win at Stoke.
Jewell was manager last season when Derby were relegated from the Barclays Premier League, but now they are just one result away from a Wembley final after defeating top-flight opposition in the last eight.
Jewell said: "Our fans were humiliated last season by what happened, they at least have something to feel good about after this."
Nathan Ellington rolled home an injury-time penalty to send those fans delirious at the Britannia stadium.
Ellington kept his nerve in injury-time after Andy Griffin had been penalised by referee Rob Styles for handball.
Jewell said: "People may have expected Nathan to blast a penalty in the last minute of a cup tie. But that is the way he takes penalties.
"One of these days he is going to miss one like that and I will give him a rollocking, but that is how he does it. He waits for the keeper to move and rolls it in.
"He has done it that way ever since I have known him, right from when he was with me at Wigan. Credit to him, he showed great confidence and strength of character.
"I was confident he would score, that he would not be scared to take it, but it was great to see it go in."
The result means Derby have reached a semi-final of a major cup competition for the first time since 1968, also in the league cup.
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