Derby crashed out of the Capital One Cup to League One Scunthorpe in a game that they dominated for large periods and then pressed the self-destruct button.
In front of a very low crowd, manager Nigel Clough must have been doubting his own eyesight as the Rams surrendered a 4-1 and 5-3 lead to share a 10-goal draw, then succumbed to defeat on penalties.
The Rams selected a near full strength side with the exception of Jamie Ward on international duty and the injured Jeff Hendrick, who should have been representing his country.
The early minutes of the game saw the home side dominate possession without too much trouble from their visitors., with Nathan Tyson looking particularly sharp in front of goal.
Derby’s early pressure paid off on the half hour, when Richard Keogh met a Michael Jacobs corner to head past Slocombe. Buxton doubled the lead four minutes later as his header met Jacobs’ cross.
Derby were very dominant in midfield with Will Hughes having a stormer of a game. Five minutes before half-time Theo Robinson made it 3-0, as Coutts cross was flicked on by Jacobs and Robinson provided the final touch.
Most would have thought that with a 3-0 lead at the break, it was game over. But seven minutes into the second half, a brilliant individual effort from Barcham saw the Iron pull a goal back and alarm bells began to ring. Nine minutes later Derby restored the three goal cushion when Buxton again met a Jacobs cross to make it 4-1.
After 62 minutes Nigel Clough made a double substitution that immediately had a negative impact on the match. Naylor replaced Roberts and Ben Davies came on for Bryson, which saw right footed centre-half Naylor struggled at left back and Bryson’s influence was lost from midfield.
Just one minute later a thunderous shot from Grella made it 4-2 and the nerves were now starting to show amongst the few home fans that had bothered to turn out to watch the game.
Nine minutes later Martin fouled Keogh inside the box resulting in a penalty for Derby. Robinson stepped up to take it, but his poorly hit effort was saved by Slocombe. Scunthorpe broke away from the penalty and pulled the game back to 4-3, with Duffy finding Grant who made no mistake in hitting the net.
With seven minutes left, the Rams were starting to look very nervy. Nathan Tyson helped ease those nerves when he rose to head home a Coutts cross. Derby must have thought that, that surely that was a killer goal and would win the tie. How very wrong they were though!
Many fans had started to leave the ground when the fourth official indicated an additional five minutes would be played. Usually with a 5-3 lead, most people could be forgiven for thinking that the game should be over.
When Jennings scrambled a loose ball in on the 94th minute, Scunthorpe went on the attack again and the comeback was complete when they were awarded a penalty in the 95th minute. Grant made no mistake from the spot and sent the game into extra time.
Scunthorpe pushed forward in the first period and Derby missed many chances in the second half of extra time. Neither side could find the decisive strike to settle the game and penalties it was.
Both sides missed two penalties and the shootout went to sudden death. Naylor’s effort was saved by the impressive visiting keeper, making him the player who had to endure the agony of missing the deciding spot kick.
All in all it was a harsh lesson for the Rams to learn. Complacency cost them big time and Clough was shown up by poor tactical changes which cost Derby dearly. Well done to Scunthorpe for converting a damage limitation exercise into one of a memorable victory.
Derby – Fielding, Brayford, Buxton, Keogh, Roberts (Naylor 62), Coutts, Bryson (B Davies 62), Hughes (Bennett 87), Jacobs, Tyson, Robinson. Subs not used, Legzdins, Lelan, Doyle, S Davies.
Scunthorpe – Slocombe, Kennedy, Ribeiro, Mirfin, Newey, Duffy, Walker, Ryan, Grant, Barham (Jennings 84), Grella. Subs not used, Severn, Gibbins, Gordon, Hughes, Howe, Keegan.
Attandance – 4,724 (364 Away fans)
Men of the match: Slocombe (Scunthorpe) for pulling off a string of fine saves