Gorka Pintado marked his return from injury by coming off the bench to salvage a point for Swansea at Pride Park.
Rangel – Serran – Williams – Tate
Dyer – Britton – Allen – Gomez – Butler
Derby led 2-0 after a brace from Chris Porter, but Angel Rangel gave the Swans a lifeline before Pintado struck three minutes from time.
It was harsh on Derby who had the better of the chances, striking the woodwork twice and seeing Dorus de Vries make a fingertip save in the closing minutes to deny them victory.
The Swans started sluggishly, clearly feeling the effects from their recent tough run of games.
After 10 minutes de Vries was called into action, saving well to deny Steve Davies from a narrow angle.
But it was only delaying the inevitable, as Robbie Savage’s free kick spat up off the surface, and de Vries could only parry it to Porter who tapped in from close range.
The returning Joe Allen was the only bright spark in the Swans rather poor early showing, and his twisting and turning run was finished with a ball flashed across the box but Stephen Bywater nipped in ahead of Nathan Dyer to snuff out the chance.
Jordi Gomez worried Bywater with a free-kick before Derby were denied a second by an offside after a sweeping counter attacking move.
There was little of note after that in the first half, but the second period sprang into life instantly. Albert Serran got wrong side of his man and Porter took full advantage by finishing well and seemingly ending the visitors hopes of taking anything from the game.
But the goal brought a rather sombre Jack Army to life, and their singing brought about an extra energy in the men in grey on the pitch.
Rangel stabbed in a Gomez free-kick to give the Swans hope and start the nerves going in the healthy home crowd.
Jason Scotland forced a couple of decent saves from Bywater in the aftermath of the goal, before Roberto Martinez made a double change.
The ineffective Nathan Dyer was replaced by Pintado whilst Darren Pratley came on for the quiet Leon Britton.
But it was the hosts who were looking the more dangerous with Davies and Hulse both striking the woodwork as the Swans rode their luck.
On top of that, Alan Tate got away with a clumsy looking challenge in the penalty box which probably should have been a penalty.
But the visitors made the most of their luck, and when Andrea Orlandi replaced Gomez with just over ten minutes remaining, the Swans fans and players found the energy for that final push.
Scotland, Ashley Williams and Tate all had half chances to claim the equaliser, before the Trinidad & Tobago international was found in space in the inside left channel, and his cut back was fired in off the underside of the bar by Pintado from 12 yards.
Paul Green then forced de Vries into a fine late save with a dipping shot, but the Swans had done enough to take a point back to South Wales and keep their play-off aspirations very much alive.
Dorus de Vries-6
A mixed bag from the Dutchman; a couple of decent saves whilst flapping at the odd cross.
Not his best performance and never linked up well with Dyer, although most of this was down to Dyer himself.
Pretty poor showing after a decent enough start. Got caught wrong side of his man on a couple of occassions; one of which led to the second goal.
Solid enough showing from the Welsh international but it was a tough night for the entire Swans defence.
Wasteful with the ball at times but decent enough defensively.
Poor. Does he know how to go outside his man? Never looked like a genuine threat
Did the basics well as always but was replaced after an hour.
Had some mazy runs which caused the Derby defence problems, but his effect was limited by regualrly being put on his backside/
Considering he hasn’t played for a while he was very good. Showed a good range of passing and looked to get beyond Scotland when he could. Tired towards the end.
Really poor. Never in the game. Didn’t look to stretch the Derby defence enough for me and never had a go at his full-back after he had been booked early on.
Held the ball up well and was looking to make things happen which was good to see. Set up the equalising goal for Pintado.
Worked hard when he came on and, of course, scored the equaliser with some aplom.
Looked a yard off the pace which is understandable, but showed glimpses of the quality that made him a key part of the good start to the season.
Only a brief appearance but did more good work in his ten minutes then Dyer did in 60. Would hope Gower and Orlandi start at the weekend.
‘We are very encouraged by the way we performed against a quality team. We have played teams in and around us but Swansea are one of the best teams we have played against.’
Read more of his comments here
‘I think we had a mature performance at the end. It was a difficult environment for us – it is a Premier League environment coming to Derby.’
Read more of his comments here