Darren Bent, the Derby County striker, showed his Premier League class to rescue a point for Steve McClaren’s side in a compelling top-of-the-table Championship encounter with promotion rivals Bournemouth.
The Cherries were pegged back twice as Tom Ince and then Bent, on loan from Aston Villa, cancelled out strikes by Matt Ritchie and Callum Wilson.
Eddie Howe’s side took the lead on 12 minutes. Wilson’s cross from the right flank was expertly knocked down by Yann Kermorgant and Ritchie made no mistake, firing home past Lee Grant for his ninth goal of the season.
Derby were forced into an immediate change with Darren Bent replacing the injured Chris Martin up front. Yet Bent played a major role in drawing the Rams level on the half hour when he caught Steve Cook in possession, calmly squared for Tom Ince, who slammed the ball past Artur Boruc.
But the hosts restored their lead on the stroke of half-time when Derby failed to clear, Kermorgant supplied Wilson and he rifled a thunderous shot into the top corner.
McClaren’s side searched for a second leveller after the interval, but Ince could not claim another double following his two goals against Bolton on Saturday. The 23-year-old saw his shot inside the area superbly blocked by centre-back Tommy Elphick.
But there is a feel-good factor and expectation level around Derby at the moment with the former top-flight outfit attracting 1,800 fans back at their iPro stadium to watch the game on a beam back in the club’s hospitality lounges.
How they would have enjoyed Bent’s leveller when he hooked home Simon Dawkins’s left-wing cross.
Bournemouth (4-4-2): Boruc; Francis, Elphick, Cook, Daniels; Ritchie (Pitman, 90), Arter, Surman, Pugh (Smith, 77); Kermorgant (MacDonald, 77), Wilson. Substitutes not used Camp, Stanislas, Fraser, E Ward.
Derby County (4-3-3): Grant; Christie, Keogh, Buxton, Forsyth; Mascarell, Hughes, Hendrick; Ince, Martin (Bent, 15), J Ward (Dawkins, 66). Substitutes not used Bryson, Lingard, Roos, Shotton, Warnock.
Referee M Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)Reuse content