MATCH REPORT & GALLERY: Derby County 4 Ipswich Town 4

Craig Bryson's equaliser for Derby bringing the home team level after being three goals behind again

Craig Bryson's equaliser for Derby bringing the home team level after being three goals behind against Ipswich last night - Credit: Archant

Derby v Ipswich: Ipswich Town threw away a golden chance to secure their first away win of the season with a second-half capitulation at Derby County.

The Blues were 4-1 up at half-time following a breathless 45 minutes which included a mad spell of four goals in eight minutes.

Zak Whitbread’s own goal and Daryl Murphy’s thumping header put Town two in front inside 10 minutes. Whitbread’s header then halved the deficit, but the Blues hit back with a Cresswell strike and another fine Murphy header.

The atmosphere went from poisonous to positive at Pride Park in the second half though, with the Rams utterly dominant after new head coach Steve McClaren – watching from the stands – delivered the half-time team talk.

Craig Bryson quickly made it 4-2 after the restart, with Jamie Ward bundling home to make it 4-3 on the hour mark.

Town were chasing shadows and had six players booked in the second half. The equaliser – fully deserved – finally arrived in the 88th minute when Bryson slammed home after a corner was half-cleared.

Blues boss Mick McCarthy named an unchanged starting line-up for the third successive game. The Rams – who had academy director Darren Wassall in caretaker charge – made three changes to the starting line-up following the 1-0 defeat at Nottingham Forest which cost Nigel Clough his job.

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With four home wins from five behind them, Ipswich arrived at Pride Park desperate to record their first away win of the campaign after some impressive performances at Reading, QPR, Birmingham and Wigan.

Flying out of the blocks in an attempt to turn the home crowd against their board, the Blues took the lead after just six minutes.

David McGoldrick showed pace and strength to win a free-kick up by the left corner flag, with Christophe Berra doing enough to force Whitbread into heading Cresswell’s subsequent dead ball delivery past his own keeper.

Less than three minutes later and the lead was doubled in similar fashion. This time, McGoldrick’s shot looped off a defender for a corner and Murphy powered home a header from Cresswell’s outswinging set-piece.

The home crowd were still in a state of stunned silence when the Rams halved the deficit in the 12th minute. Another corner, another booming header as Whitbread met Ben Davies’ flag kick.

Any growing home hope was quickly crushed though as, within seconds of the restart, Town restored their two-goal advantage.

It was a fine move down the left, involving Ryan Tunnicliffe, Murphy and Paul Anderson, with Cresswell’s angled shot – possibly destined to go past the far post – hitting the inside of keeper Grant’s leg and going in.

Town’s travelling fans sang ‘can we play you every week?’ while Derby supporters chanted ‘sack the board’.

As if four goals in four minutes wasn’t enough, the game continued at a frenetic pace more akin to a basketball match.

Murphy shot just wide for Town, at the other end Jamie Ward curled an effort even closer to goal, before McGoldrick mis-hit an angled effort past the near post.

The next goal of the game eventually arrived in the 34th minute – and it was from yet another set-piece. Another Cresswell outswinging corner, this time Murphy converting with the meat of his head.

There was still time for two more golden opportunities before the half-time whistle sounded. McGoldrick glanced a good headed chance wide, from Anderson’s dinked cross, while at the other end Dean Gerken made a fine save at the feet of the livewire Ward after he had robbed the ball off a dithering Anderson in a dangerous position.

Whatever caretaker boss Wassall said at half-time certainly had the desired effect, with substitutes John Eustace and Mason Bennett lifting the home side.

The score was 4-2 less than two minutes after the restart, Bryson cutting in from the left and slotting home after Hughes’ cute pass.

Within seconds, Berra was forced into a superb last-ditch tackle as Bennett looked to race clear on goal.

Suddenly it was Derby doing all the attacking, with a superbly worked goal on the hour mark making it 4-3. Ben Davies’ brilliant back-heel set Hughes’ away down the left and his sweeping cross was bundled home by Ward from close-range.

The atmosphere had gone from poisonous to positive at Pride Park, with all thoughts of Clough, McClaren and chief executive Sam Rush forgotten as the most unlikely of comebacks suddenly seemed possible.

McCarthy replaced wingers Anderson and Tunnicliffe with Jay Tabb and Carlos Edwards in an attempt to stem the tide, but it was the home side who continued to boss possession.

The fact that Tunnicliffe, McGoldrick, Berra and Skuse were all booked showed just how frustrated the visitors had become. Cresswell soon joined them in the referee’s book in the 85th minute for time wasting.

It didn’t work as Derby got the equaliser their gutsy second half display fully deserved, Bryson slamming home the loose ball after Town twice failed to clear a corner. It was the game’s sixth goal to come from a set-piece.

DERBY COUNTY (4-3-1-2): Grant; Smith, Buxton, Whitbread, Forsyth; Davies (Bennett 46), Bryson, Hughes; Ward (Russell 90); Sammon (Eustace 46), Martin.

Subs: Deeney, Lowe, Hanson, Jacobs.

IPSWICH TOWN (4-4-2): Gerken; Chambers (cpt), Berra, Smith, Cresswell; Anderson (Edwards 71), Skuse, Hyam, Tunnicliffe (Tabb 71); McGoldrick (Nouble 82), Murphy.

Subs: Loach, Hewitt, Mings, Wordsworth.

Referee: Trevor Kettle

Attendance: 21,037