Derby County are in danger of dropping out of the Sky Bet Championship automatic promotion places after a 1-1 draw against Norwich City.
The Rams took the lead early in the match through Matěj Vydra, but they were unable to hold on as they conceded for the first time in the leagsince New Year’s Day.
The Canaries had penalties either side of half time, Nélson Oliveira’s effort was saved before James Maddison’s spot-kick put the sides level in the second half.
Rams winger Tom Lawrence had the first chance of the match after just five minutes following former Canary Cameron Jerome’s improvised lay-off, but Lawrence’s half-volley was blocked for a corner.
The visitors were almost gifted a goal minutes later when Curtis Davies was dispossessed by Oliveira; the Portuguese forward’s effort was denied by in-form Derby goalkeeper Scott Carson.
The Sky Bet Championship’s top goalscorer Vydra opened the scoring early in the first half. He won the ball back for his side before playing a clever exchange with Ikechi Anya down the right flank, Vydra received the ball on the turn and fired his effort past Angus Gunn for his 10th goal at Pride Park in 14 games this term.
Home stopper Carson turned from zero to hero in the space of a minute shortly before half time. He bought down Norwich midfielder James Maddison in the penalty area and was booked in the process, but he saved Oliveira’s spot kick with a great diving save to his right, much to the delight of the 25-thousand home supporters.
Norwich striker Oliveira, who prior to kick-off had a record of four goals in two starts against Derby again came close to levelling the match shortly after the restart, with his low strike from outside of the penalty area going narrowly wide.
Derby defender Davies almost doubled the host’s lead on two occasions early in the second half, with both of his headed efforts in the space of four minutes coming close to finishing up in the back of net.
Daniel Farke’s side continued to press for a second half goal to even the match; Josh Murphy saw his effort from distance fly over the frame of the goal with 20 minutes to go. Minutes later, Oliveira had yet another chance to score, but Carson was there to again deny him at his near post.
Home goalkeeper Carson was eventually beaten for the first time in the league since New Year’s Day when Norwich received their second penalty of the match late on; this time it was Oliveira who went down in the area after being fouled by Curtis Davies. Maddison stepped up to take it and coolly slotted home past Carson to put him on double figures for the season in all competitions.
The result leaves Derby in second place, 13 points behind league leaders Wolverhampton Wanderers. Aston Villa, currently situated in third, face Birmingham City on Sunday, knowing that a win will move them into the top two. Norwich remain 13th.