Derby County player ratings vs Port Vale as remarkable Rams seal ...
Nathaniel Mendez-Laing completed a terrific fightback from Derby County as two goals in quick succession secured a late 2-1 win at Port Vale.
Funso Ojo looked to have handed Vale all three points only for David McGoldrick and Mendez-Laing to score twice in the dying stages to seal the win.
Derby had started the better of the two sides in the first half with McGoldrick and Tom Barkhuizen both missing from close range. Vale certainly had their moments in attack with Dan Butterworth a particular nuisance as he drew an excellent save from Joe Wildsmith.
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Dennis Politic also looked lively when cutting in from the left-hand side as he struck an effort on target but failed to trouble Wildsmith.
And after the break after McGoldrick had seen a snapshot saved by Stevens, Vale took the lead when Butteworth's shot was saved by Wildsmith.
But Ojo was quick to the loose ball in the area and he steered the ball into the bottom corner. Craig Forsyth tried to summon a response with a volley but that was claimed at the second attempt before Nathan Smith headed wide of the target after Ben Garrity flicked on a corner.
Head coach Paul Warne threw on substitute Lewis Dobbin and James Collins as he went in search of an equaliser. And his changes nearly paid instant dividends when Dobbin raced clean through only to shoot at Stevens.
But Derby kept plugging away and McGoldrick turned in to make it 1-1 in the 87th minute before Mendez-Laing completed the turn around when he lashed in after meeting Dobbin's cross as the Rams made it 19 games unbeaten.
Joe Wildsmith: Made a brilliant save to deny Dan Butterworth in the first half and his starting positions were good. Got unfortunate with the goal as he initially made a good stop. 7
Korey Smith: There were moments when he managed to get forward from his position at full-back and his pressing helped create the equaliser for the Rams. 6
Curtis Davies: Made one exceptional challenge in the opening 45 minutes which he timed to perfection on Butterworth in the area. Solid in the air and had a decent game, but Vale were a threat down the sides. 7
Craig Forsyth: One moment when he missed his kick in the first half aside, the long-serving defender did okay. Vale were happy to play in the channels and it was a tactic that caused a problem. Created a brilliant chance for Dobbin. 7
Haydon Roberts: Was willing to get forward but that left space behind for Vale to exploit which meant Forsyth, on his side, had to cover at times. 5.5
Max Bird: Battled away, but like the first game between these sides earlier in the season was too much of a dogfight in there for him to be able to get the ball down and play. 6
Jason Knight: Couldn't fault his energy, but Vale made life difficult for Derby in the middle of the pitch and he couldn't quite influence the game as he would have liked. 6
Conor Hourihane: Created a terrific chance for David McGoldrick after a delightful touch and the striker should have scored his first goal away from Pride Park this season. Was subbed in the second half. 6
Nathaniel Mendez-Laing: Lashed in the winner and was a threat whenever he had the ball and the scenes in the away end will live long in his memory. 7
David McGoldrick: Should have scored when he was picked out by Hourihane but made amends with the equaliser which he gleefully stuck away to score his first goal away from home this season. 7
Tom Barkhuizen: Slid in at the back post but somehow managed to turn the ball wide when he looked odds on to score. Full of industry and should have been on the scoresheet. 6
James Collins (Collins 68): Plugged away up front. 6
Lewis Dobbin (Hourihane 68): Should have hauled Derby level when clean through on goal but conjured up two assists in a fine cameo. 7
Tony Springett (Roberts 80): Came on at left-back and had one or two neat touches. 5.5
Jake Rooney (McGoldrick 90): Didn't have time to make an impact. N/A