Nolan finds the target as Town match high-flyers
Jon Nolan’s second goal for Town gave Blues a point but it could have been three.
The summer signing from Shrewsbury came off the bench to find the net within a minute of coming on after Tom Lawrence had given Derby an early lead.
Jonas Knudsen saw a strike headed off the line and another goalbound effort clear as Paul Lambert’s side showed loads of character.
Fikayo Tomori hit the woodwork for the Rams in added on time but Blues matched the Play-Off challengers all the way and fully deserved the ovation on the final whistle.
Blues made four changes to the side that went down at Norwich at the weekend, skipper Luke Chambers missing out with a foot injury, Bart Bialkowski wearing the armband for the first time since he was captain for Poland at U20 level.
Town got off to the worst possible start again, with just two minutes on the clock when Lawrence hooked the ball home from close range via a deflection off the unfortunate Knudsen.
Blues responded, Collin Quaner seeing a shot deflected wide, Alan Judge and then Will Keane crowded out in the Rams’ box before Teddy Bishop won the ball with a terrific tackle, then was only a yard away from sending Keane in on goal with an incisive pass.
Myles Kenlock’s right footer almost fell into Bishop’s path, Lawrence’s cross failing to find former Blue, Martyn Waghorn in the Town box, Quaner then firing wide after Judge sent him away on the counter.
Trevoh Chalobah had a shot deflected behind for a corner, Richard Keogh clearing Judge’s delivery, then Chalobah’s header from another Judge set-piece drifted just wide.
Matt Pennington did well to hold up Lawrence as the Wales international raced into the box, Fikayo Tomori bundling the ball just wide from the corner, the half finishing with another set-piece from Judge evading Keane at the back post.
James Bree pulled a shot wide as Town pushed for an early equaliser as the second-half got underway, Flynn Downes limping off on 52 minutes to be replaced by Nolan in Blues’ first change.
The substitute made an immediate impact, Qauner set him up and the midfielder buried his shot past Kelle Roos to level the scores.
David Nugent replaced Harry Wilson in Derby’s first change, Judge winning a free-kick 35 yards out, the Republic of Ireland international testing Roos with a curler.
Bishop had a shot deflected wide, then from the corner Knudsen saw his shot headed off the line when a goal looked certain.
Andre Dozzell replaced Bishop as Paul Lambert shuffled his pack, Pennington heading over from a Judge delivery as Town looked the more likely to add to the scoreline.
Chalobah was wide from the edge of the area, Mason Bennett and Craig Bryson entering the fray, with Bennett denied by Pennington’s excellent tackle inside the area.
Ellis Harrison completed the changes, on for Quaner, the substitute not able to hook James Bree’s pass back into the danger area, Scott Malone denied at the other end by resolute Town defending.
Knudsen stayed strong to keep out Bennett at the near post, Bialkowki doing well to keep out Richard Keogh with a strong right hand, then Tomori unable to keep his shot down as the ball broke loose.
Knudsen was thwarted again after more great work by Pennington, Waghorn was denied by Bialkowski, Dozzell had a shot blocked, Tomori hit the bar then Nugent couldn’t beat the Town ‘keeper in a frantic finish.
Town: Bialkowski, Bree, Pennington, Knudsen, Kenlock, Downes (Nolan 52), Chalobah, Bishop (Dozzell 69), Judge, Quaner (Harrison 75), Keane. Subs not used: Gerken, Edwards, Jackson, Nsiala. Booked: Chalobah, Pennington.
Derby: Roos, Tomori, Keogh, Wilson (Nugent 61), Waghorn, Lawrence, Johnson, Holmes (Bennett 72), King (Bryson 72), Bogle, Malone. Subs not used: Ravas, Wisdom, Cole, Huddlestone. Booked: Waghorn, Holmes, Johnson.