REPORT/HIGHLIGHTS: Rams stay up after final day drama
DERBY COUNTY 3-3 SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY
A brace from Martyn Waghorn helped Derby secure their Championship status in a pulsating 3-3 draw against Sheffield Wednesday, who themselves were relegated to League One.
Derby had to come from behind twice, but the 31-year-old’s second-half header and penalty ensured the Rams clinched survival, sparking jubilant scenes at the full-time whistle.
The first-half began with both sides looking nervy with so much at stake, with chances few and far between. Barry Bannan lashed a shot wide before Waghorn missed a header from close range before colliding with the goalpost.
Late at the end of the first period, the visitors took the lead. Sam Hutchinson reacted quickest to Kelle Roos’ reflex save to tap home and give the Owls a slim chance of staying in the division.
The second-half was enthralling as both sides battled for victory. Derby had turned proceedings around within the first ten minutes of the half when Waghorn headed in a Tom Lawrence cross, before Patrick Roberts curled a delicious strike into the far corner.
But that was only the start of a emphatic finale. Sheffield Wednesday refused to be beaten and clawed their way back into the game. Just after the hour-mark, Wednesday were level again. Callum Paterson latched onto a loose ball in the box following Craig Forsyth's error and smashed a low shot into the far corner.
With the game finely poised at 2-2, the visitors once again inflicted damage on the Rams’. Julian Borner reacted quickest at the near post to head in from point-blank and put his side ahead once again.
However, it was Derby who had the final say when Waghorn converted a penalty in brilliant fashion after substitute Kamil Jozwiak was scythed down in the box.
The hosts had a chance to seal the win when Roberts was played through on goal by Max Bird, but his attempt to round Keiren Westwood failed with the goalkeeper pouncing on the ball.
The Rams survived a late surge from the visitors and held on for the draw, with Rotherham’s stalemate at Cardiff - secured thanks to Marlon Pack's late leveller for the hosts - meaning Wayne Rooney’s side will be playing Championship football once again next season.