Bump. That was the sound of Paddy McCarthy coming crashing back to earth as, just 48 hours after helping his Crystal Palace side knock Manchester United out of the Carling Cup, his own goal denied them a win over struggling Derby.
McCarthy's spectacular leap to turn Paul Green's cross into his own net and cancel out Chris Martin's first-half effort ensured the Eagles' midweek euphoria was tempered – and Derby avoided a sixth straight defeat.
"Football never goes your way all the time," said the Palace manager, Dougie Freedman. "Paddy has played two games in two days and given his all. He's a great guy with a great attitude. I'm over the moon with a point and a cup semi-final in 48 hours."
The home side made 10 changes to the side that beat United in extra time, with McCarthy the only survivor. But for all the feelgood factor surrounding Palace following their upset at Old Trafford, their league form has slipped of late and before Martin's opener they had failed to find the back of the net in the Championship since 19 October.
Glenn Murray, who scored the winner against United, came close to putting Palace ahead inside the first minute, but Derby keeper Frankie Fielding made a good save to deny the striker.
Then on 15 minutes Martin was left alone by the Derby defence to curl home Palace's first goal in exactly 500 minutes of league football.
Derby offered precious little in way of reply in the first half, but came to life after the break and on 75 minutes Green crossed for what he thought would be Tamas Priskin in the box, but McCarthy was in the way to toe-poke the ball into his own net.
Nigel Clough, the Derby manager, said: "We had to stop the rot somehow. We had a horrid November, so it is nice to start off December on a positive note."
Crystal Palace (4-4-2): Speroni; Ramage, McCarthy, Keinan, Parr, Ambrose, Jedinak, Garvan, Andrew (Pedroza, 82) ; C Martin (Zaha, 71), Murray. Substitutes not used Price (gk), Clyne, Iversen.
Derby County (4-5-1): Fielding; Green, Barker, Shackell, Roberts; Bailey (Ball, 71), B Davies (Bennett, 64), Hendrick, Bryson, Ward; Priskin (O'Brien, 90). Substitutes not used Legzdins (gk), Buxton.
Referee A D'Urso (Essex).