Derby edge past Fulham to keep their Championship survival hopes alive

Derby 2-1 Fulham: Wayne Rooney’s side halt their opponents’ Premier League promotion party as the struggling Rams produce a superb second-half comeback to keep their faint hopes of survival alive

  • Fulham took the lead in the first half as Fabio Carvalho finished a fine team move
  • Derby hit back through Luke Plange and a Tosin Adarabioyo own goal
  • The result leaves Derby with a slim chance of avoiding relegation this season
  • Meanwhile, Fulham did not get the win they needed to seal promotion 

Wayne Rooney’s defiant Derby delayed Fulham’s promotion party in a tale of two teenagers at Pride Park as The Rams prospective new owner Chris Kirchner looked on.

Marco Silva thought the Londoners were on the way to clinching a return to the Premier League when Liverpool target Fabio Carvalho showed his class to put the visitors ahead after 20 minutes.

But Rooney’s young side never gave up despite being on the brink of relegation and struck twice in the half through another 19-year-old, Luke Plange and an own goal by Tosin Adarabioyo.

Derby completed their comeback in the 74th minute to keep their survival hopes alive

Derby (4-2-3-1): Allsop; Byrne, Davies, Cashin, Buchanan; Bielik (Sibley 84), Thompson (Ebosele 72); Ebiowei (Richards 90), Lawrence, Knight; Plange

Scorers: Plange, Adarabioyo (OG)

Booked: Thompson, Lawrence, Allsop, Cashin

Manager: Wayne Rooney

Fulham (4-2-3-1): Rodak; Williams (Muniz 81), Adarabioyo, Ream, Bryan; Cairney (Seri 72), Reed; Wilson (Kebano 72), Carvalho, Decordova-Reid; Mitrovic 

Scorer: Carvalho 

Booked: Bryan

Manager: Marco Silva 


The Arsenal youth produce levelled after 51 minutes and then forced Adarabioyo to turn in a mis-hit shot by Tom Lawrence for an emotional winner.

Fulham can still confirm their return to the top flight after 12 months absence by beating Preston on Tuesday night but Silva’s men are wobbling to get over the line having also lost their previous game at home to Coventry.

Nottingham Forest’s defeat to Luton earlier on Good Friday had given The Cottagers their opportunity to secure promotion on the night. Their mood contrasted with Derby who had moved closer to the brink after seeing their rivals at the bottom Reading and Peterborough both win.

Even so, it was Rooney’s side who started on the front foot with Wales international Tom Lawrence dribbling past three defenders and Jason Knight sending a header at Marek Rodak.

Lawrence then sent another long-range sighter into the pit of the goalkeeper’s stomach.

County have anticipated relegation ever since they were deducted 21 points for breaches of EFL rules and going into administration but with the end nigh, their fans belted out a rousing rendition of “Derby ’til I die”.

Fulham, who had made three changes from their surprising home defeat to Coventry last time out, were cautious in comparison with Harrison Reed’s strike flying wide with their only attempt of the opening 15 minutes.

Luke Plange slid in to bring Derby level in the early stages of the second half

Fabio Carvalho had put Fulham in front in the first half at Pride Park on Friday night

But Marco Silva’s side have so much quality, once they hit their strides for the first time, they scored.

A neat combination of passes left Carvalho on the edge of the box where he exchanged a one-two with Bobby Cordova-Reid and accelerated away from marker Krystian Bielik before finding the corner of the net from eight yards.

Carvalho is out of contract this summer and tipped to move to Anfield but his enthusiastic celebration showed how much he wants to depart with Fulham also a top-flight team.

It was also his first goal since finding the net against Manchester City in the FA Cup in February.

Top scorer Aleksandr Mitrovic had prospects of adding a quick second but uncharacteristically took a poor touch when Harry Wilson found him in front of goal. Wilson then tried to head over Ryan Allsop but the ball hit his shoulder instead and arrived in the Derby goalkeeper’s grateful arms.

Carvalho should have made it 2-0 when put through by Decordova-Reid shortly before half-time but on this occasion his finish was too close to Allsop who saved.

Fulham fans mocked their Derby counterparts by singing “Forest Green on a Tuesday night” but there was no shortage of endeavour from Rooney’s side despite a gulf in individual quality.

When Carvalho threatened to turn and surge at the County defence, Nathan Byrne was quick to rob him with a clean challenge.

Derby were rewarded for their fighting spirit with a deserved equaliser after 51 minutes. Their impressive young left-back Lee Buchanan showed great energy to surge to the byline and then produced an excellent cross which Plange turned in from close range after beating Tim Ream to the ball.

It was a fourth goal of the season for Plange, 19, but his first in 14 games and necessary in the absence of Ravel Morrison who was absent with illness.

Mitrovic sent his header too close to Allsop as Fulham tried to respond from the setback. His second header from Harry Wilson’s 63rd-minute corner was more like you’d expect from the 38-goal Serbian but Allsop was equal to it with a great leap to his right.

When Carvalho’s shot then hit the post, Mitrovic tapped in the rebound and shouted at the assistant in horror as he was flagged offside.

Fulham have been either promoted or relegated in each of the last four seasons – having dropped down last season – but are making hard work of a fifth change of division.

Derby are still odds-on to drop but are showing incredible will to survive.

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