DERBY COUNTY 1
CHARLTON ATHLETIC 0
IVAN Calero topped his special night with a memorable winning goal to send Derby County into round three of the Capital One Cup.
The 19-year-old Spaniard, signed on a free this summer for the under-21 squad, came off the bench for his senior debut and fired the Rams to a 1-0 victory over Charlton Athletic at the iPro Stadium.
He struck three minutes from the end of normal time, smashing a right-foot shot into the top corner.
Calero was one of three youngsters named on the bench, where he was joined by winger Alefe Santos and defender Farrend Rawson.
Santos was also lively when he came on, and head coach Steve McClaren's positive triple substitution with 20 minutes left paid dividends.
New loan signing from Stoke City, Ryan Shotton, made his debut at right-back and Zak Whitbread partnered Richard Keogh at centre -back.
Spaniard Omar Mascarell was in for his first start, in the holding role in midfield. Will Hughes and Simon Dawkins also came in, as did Leon Best for his first start.
Out went Cyrus Christie, Jake Buxton, John Eustace, Craig Bryson, Chris Martin and Jamie Ward.
The visitors, like Derby, made half a dozen changes following Saturday's draw at Huddersfield.
Striker George Tucudean started. He scored and won a penalty when Charlton defeated the Rams in the League a week ago.
Derby moved the ball around neatly in the opening minutes. Shotton made two or three impressive contributions early on but Charlton threatened first when Tucudean's strike from distance forced Lee Grant to scramble and save.
Sixteen minutes in and we were treated to a first look at Shotton's long throw-in, often seen when he played for Stoke.
Goalkeepers need to be positive and strong in such situations, and Nick Pope was as he came and collected.
Queen's Park Rangers boss Harry Redknapp was an interested spectator in the stand. His Rangers side face Burton Albion at the Pirelli Stadium tonight.
Charlton played with plenty of belief themselves in the first half. The lively Franck Moussa and Callum Harriott asked questions of Derby by finding pockets of space between the Rams' back four and midfield.
Mascarell was keen to catch the eye, understandably, but this saw him force a few passes rather than keep it simple although he settled as the contest unfolded.
Best was in and out of the game in the opening half and hour.
He was playing in the "Chris Martin" role as the focal point of the attack, a pivotal position in Derby's style of play, and Martin's are big boots to fill.
Best did have the fans on their feet when he cleverly side-stepped a defender and his drive was arrowing towards the bottom corner of the net before Pope made an excellent one-handed save.
Charlton half cleared the resulting corner. The ball was played into the area and Jeff Hendrick snatched at the chance and volleyed wide when he should have hit the target.
Derby built a head of steam, and Shotton continued to play a big part, showing Premier League confidence as well as athleticism and strength at both ends of the pitch.
All very encouraging, and plenty of food for thought for McClaren because Christie has barely put a foot wrong at right-back in his appearances.
Does McClaren see Shotton as a right-back or centre-back? Time will tell, and we might know more when Ipswich Town visit on Saturday.
Derby slipped into more passages of neat play at the start of the second half and Best almost turned in a knock-down from Craig Forsyth, but the Rams needed more width to fully stretch Charlton.
Johnny Russell and Dawkins tried to offer this, both looking good one minute and then frustrating the next.
When Russell delivered a delicious low centre, Dawkins could not reach it and the opportunity had gone.
Whitbread, another who impressed, and Keogh made important defensive headers to keep Charlton at bay, and Derby continued to look the most likely to find the breakthrough. The visitors just about managed to clear a free kick from Mascarell before the midfielder fired a shot straight at Pope.
McClaren made a triply substitution 20 minutes from time. He sent on Martin, and Calero and Santos for their debuts. Off came Mascarell, Dawkins and Russell.
Martin joined Best up front, Calero went to the left and Santos the right in more of a 4-4-2.
Martin curled a shot wide and then saw his flick from a Santos centre gathered by Pope. Derby's changes, and the roars of the crowd suggested nobody was keen for the game to go to extra time.
Charlton's attacking threat had waned considerably although Grant had to adjust quickly to tip over a free kick from substitute Johann Gudmundsson before Calero's big moment.
He had missed an easier chance a couple of minutes earlier but this time made no mistake to book Derby a place in the third-round draw.
Martin made a huge difference and last season's top scorer went close twice to doubling the lead in the closing minutes.
DERBY COUNTY: Grant; Shotton, Keogh, Whitbread, Forsyth; Hendrick, Mascarell (Martin, 69), Hughes; Russell (Santos, 70), Best, Dawkins (Calero, 70). Other subs: Roos (gk), Christie, Bryson, Rawson.
CHARLTON ATHLETIC: Pope; Gomez, Fox, Bikey-Amougou, Morrison; Wilson, Cousins, Jackson (Buyens, 65), Harriott; Moussa (Gudmundsson, 79), Tucudean (Vetokele, 64). Other subs: Mitov (gk), Wiggins, Church, Ben-Haim.
REFEREE: G Salisbury (Lancashire).
ATTENDANCE: 16,367 (297 away fans).