David McGoldrick and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing struck inside three minutes to complete a stunning late comeback win for Derby at Port Vale that extended the Rams’ unbeaten League One run to 14 matches.
The hosts were poised for victory after Funso Ojo marked his first start since September by converting on the rebound following Joe Wildsmith’s save from Dan Butterworth’s initial attempt.
Derby appeared to be running out of ideas – and low on good fortune – when manager Paul Warne sent on Lewis Dobbin after 68 minutes.
Forward Dobbin, on loan from Everton, had one effort repelled by Jack Stevens – who earlier saved point-blank from McGoldrick – before turning provider in dramatic fashion.
The 20-year-old scorched down the left in the 87th minute to cross for McGoldrick to touch home his ninth league goal of the campaign.
And Dobbin created a sense of deja vu two minutes later, escaping to steer a ball to the near post where Mendez-Laing arrived to reflect into the roof of the net and spark jubilant scenes among the 3,821 traveling fans.
There was still time for Dan Jones to head narrowly wide in search of an equaliser, while Dobbin nearly capped his blistering cameo in fine style but sent a curling strike against the bar.
Derby stay fourth after claiming a fifth straight victory but close within eight points of Sheffield Wednesday in second. Port Vale slip one position to 14th.
Match report supplied by PA Media.
- 2CassSubstituted forForresterat 80′minutes
- 33politicianBooked at 2minsSubstituted forOdubekoat 63′minutes
- 26ButterworthSubstituted forPettat 74′minutes
- 15robertsSubstituted forSpringettat 80′minutes
- 4HourihaneSubstituted forDobbinat 68′minutes
- 11Mendez-LaingBooked at 89mins
- 7BarkhuizenSubstituted forCollinsat 68′minutes
- 10McGoldrickSubstituted forRooneyat 90+3′minutes
- Ben Toner
Match ends, Port Vale 1, Derby County 2.
Second Half ends, Port Vale 1, Derby County 2.
Jason Knight (Derby County) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by William Forrester (Port Vale).
Corner, Derby County. Granted by Dan Jones.
Lewis Dobbin (Derby County) hits the bar with a right footed shot from the center of the box. Assisted by Nathaniel Mendez-Laing.
Attempt missed. Dan Jones (Port Vale) header from the center of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by David Worrall following a corner.
Corner, Port Vale. Granted by James Collins.
Attempt blocked. James Collins (Derby County) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Nathaniel Mendez-Laing.
Substitution, Derby County. Jake Rooney replaces David McGoldrick.
Nathaniel Mendez-Laing (Derby County) is shown the yellow card for excessive celebration.
Goal! Port Vale 1, Derby County 2. Nathaniel Mendez-Laing (Derby County) left footed shot from the center of the box to the top left corner. Assisted by Lewis Dobbin.
Goal! Port Vale 1, Derby County 1. David McGoldrick (Derby County) right footed shot from the center of the box to the bottom right corner.
Attempt missed. Lewis Dobbin (Derby County) right footed shot from the center of the box is close, but misses to the right.
Foul by Tony Springett (Derby County).
David Worrall (Port Vale) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Derby County. Tony Springett replaces Haydon Roberts.
Substitution, Port Vale. William Forrester replaces Lewis Cass because of an injury.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match due to an injury Lewis Cass (Port Vale).