Derby 2-2 Brighton: Seagulls denied win late on
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 12/12/15 6:24pm
Sky Bet Championship leaders Brighton stretched their unbeaten league run to 20 matches but were denied victory by a late Chris Martin penalty that earned Derby a 2-2 draw at the iPro Stadium.
Brighton's proud record was under threat from a Derby team that had won their previous five home games but the Seagulls pounced when James Wilson volleyed home only for Bradley Johnson to head the equaliser before the break.
Substitute Rajiv van La Parra finished off a well worked attack 15 minutes from the end but Derby came back for a second time when Martin earned them a deserved point.
Brighton had lost on their last three visits to the iPro Stadium and Derby almost broke through after 30 seconds when Tom Ince had a shot deflected over following Martin's clever pass.
Derby started with the best defensive record in the Football League but they had a scare in the second minute when Solly March shot just wide from 15 yards after Tomer Hemed set him up.
There was concern on the Brighton bench when March went down clutching his right knee but he was able to continue after treatment before Derby went close again in the 12th minute with Jason Shackell's header hooked off the line by Hemed.
Derby were looking confident on the ball but Brighton hit them on the counter in the 22nd minute after Inigo Calderon won the ball and sent Jamie Murphy down the left to deliver a cross which Wilson volleyed over Lee Grant from 10 yards.
Minutes later March went down again in clear discomfort and this time he left the field on a stretcher to be replaced by Van La Parra, whose pace caused problems down the right.
But it was Derby who struck next when Johnson rose at the back post to head Jacob Butterfield's corner powerfully past David Stockdale, although Wilson almost restored Brighton's lead with a swerving shot in stoppage time.
The second half started like the first with Ince shooting narrowly wide but it needed a great block by Stephen Warnock to keep out a Hemed volley in the 72nd minute.
Derby were having more of the ball but Brighton caught them on the break in the 75th minute when Wilson ran at the defence before Dale Stephens played in Van La Parra, who drove the ball high past Grant from 12 yards.
It was almost all square again six minutes later when substitute Johnny Russell broke clear on the left only to be denied by Stockdale but Derby were level in the 88th minute when Brighton gave away a penalty.
Russell appeared to be caught after he crossed the ball and Martin produced a superb spot-kick to drive it low into the bottom-right corner of Stockdale's net.