DERBY County completed their visit of East Anglia with a 2-2 draw at League One side Colchester United, courtesy of Theo Robinson’s 90th-minute equaliser.
Colchester defender Magnus Okuonghae gifted the Rams the lead with an unfortunate own-goal on 12 minutes, before hit-man Freddie Sears fired the home side back on level terms on the stroke of half-time.
The former West Ham striker looked to have completed the turnaround on 56 minutes, as he bent a 20-yard effort past Frank Fielding, above, but fortunately for the Rams, substitute Robinson was on hand to coolly convert from 12 yards out and seal a draw.
James O’Connor, who only linked up with the rest of the Rams’ squad late Wednesday evening after signing from Doncaster Rovers the same day, made his first start, deputising for Gareth Roberts (hamstring).
Nathan Tyson played the central role up front, and the 29-year-old sparked into life inside the opening 30 seconds.
The former Reading forward picked the ball up 30-yards from goal and let fly with a stinging left-footed effort; however his strike was deflected as it skidded off the wet turf and wide for a corner.
On eight minutes, the Rams took the lead in comical fashion as Fielding sent a long ball upfield that was flicked on by Craig Bryson.
The Scot chased the loose ball, but Okuonghe got ahead of the 24-year-old and passed it towards goalkeeper Mark Cousins, only for the back-pass to roll into the back of the net.
However, it was not all one way traffic, and former Crystal Palace striker Clinton Morrison’s clever flick from eight yards out was well held by goalkeeper Fielding.
Hendrick went close with a curling effort from the edge of the penalty area following Jamie Ward’s clever pull-back, but two minutes before the interval, the home side found a breakthrough against the run of play.
Midfielder Andrew Bond sent a through ball to former West Ham United striker Sears, who took one touch before driving the ball home.
Sears then doubled both his and the home side’s goal tally in the 56th minute as Morrison laid the ball off to the 22-year-old, who got the ball out of his feet before curling in a terrific 20-yard strike.
Jake Buxton nodded Michael Jacobs’ cross straight at the keeper from close range, before Ward’s clever one-two with John Brayford ended in the former seeing his 20-yard drive expertly tipped over by the U’s shot-stopper.
In the final 15 minutes, Buxton’s towering header once again brought the best out of Cousins, as he acrobatically palmed the ball away, but only as far as substitute Robinson, who saw his close-range header cleared off the line.
However, the Rams continued to foray, and their pressure was eventually rewarded as Will Hughes released Robinson clean through on goal.
The former Milwall striker kept his cool and slid the ball past the onrushing Cousins, to secure a well-deserved draw.
Derby:Fielding (Legzdins 79); Brayford, Keogh, Buxton, O’Connor (Roberts 68); Coutts (B. Davies 79) , Hendrick (Doyle 79), Bryson, Jacobs (Bennett 73); Ward (Hughes 73), Tyson (Robinson 73); subs not used: Deeney, Bailey, Naylor.
Colchester: Cousins; Wilson, Okuonghae
(Eastman 76), Heath, Rose; Bond, Izzet (Bean 68), Wordsworth (O’Toole 68); Sears, Morrison (Ladapo 79), Henderson; subs not used: Pentney, Duguid, Coker, White, Gilbey.