Derby gave themselves a chance to ease the pain of their Premier League season with a consolation run in the FA Cup when a penalty shoot-out last night earned a home tie against Preston North End in Saturday's fourth round.
But the Derby manager, Paul Jewell, acknowledged that the manner of victory over a team struggling in the Championship hardly merited shouting from the rooftops. "We did not celebrate excessively because it was only penalties, but it might give our season a bit of a lift," Jewell said. In 26 matches in all competitions this season, it was only Derby's second win.
Extra time had failed to separate the sides, who finished last night's replay 1-1 after 90 minutes, having drawn 2-2 at Pride Park 17 days ago. But the Derby 'keeper Lewis Price saved Wednesday's first two spot-kicks, from Glenn Whelan and Kenny Lunt, before Craig Fagan clinched a 4-2 win with the eighth kick.
Wednesday were left to reflect that they should have added to Derby's woes. They let a 2-0 lead slip away in the first meeting and were in front again last night, Steve Watson's low volley from Jermaine Johnson's cross firing them into a 10th-minute lead.
Without a win in 18 matches in the top flight, Derby might have been further behind before half-time. Whelan and Wade Small went close, Lewin Nyatanga almost deflected a Johnson shot into his own net and Fagan's miscued header brought a similar danger before Marc Edworthy cleared off the line.
Jewell, who had to replace Giles Barnes before half-time after he complained of feeling ill, had been unable to call on any of his new recruits. Wednesday's line-up was, arguably, stronger than at Pride Park, with their top scorer Akpo Sodje having come through last Saturday's Sheffield derby without reaction after three weeks out with an ankle injury.
Yet after looking threatening only at the start of the opening half, Derby stole an equaliser just two minutes after the restart. When Kenny Miller broke on the left, Stephen Pearson's through pass left the home defence floundering and the Scottish international beat Grant with a crisp strike.
Thereafter the match became scrappy, with Derby having five players booked in a series of increasingly fractious clashes that twice led to scuffles on the field.
The referee Chris Foy had to give way before extra time because of a pulled muscle but substitute official Graham Laws had little to do before noting the names of Derby's four successful penalty-takers as Miller, Eddie Lewis, Rob Earnshaw and Fagan all converted their kicks.
Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): Grant; Bullen, Hinds, Beevers, Spurr; Johnson, Watson (Lunt, 51), Whelan, Small (Burton 80); Tudgay, Sodje (Clarke,71). Substitutes not used: Gilbert, Burton, Wood.
Derby County (4-3-1-2): Price; Edworthy, Leacock (Moore, 82), Davis, Nyatanga; Teale (Earnshaw, 105), Todd, Pearson; Barnes; Miller, Fagan. Substitutes not used: Hinchcliffe (gk), Macken, Lewis.
Referee: C Foy (Merseyside).
l Barnet beat Swindon Town 2-0 on penalties after their third-round replay also went to extra time. Billy Paynter had put Swindon ahead in the 42nd minute, only to level the score 11 minutes later by putting through his own net.Reuse content