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Derby draw at Portsmouth as promotion race hots up

Derby celebrate after Joe Ward's opener <i>(Image: PA)</i>
Derby celebrate after Joe Ward's opener (Image: PA)

Derby missed the chance to go six points clear of Wanderers in the League One promotion race following a 2-2 draw against leaders Portsmouth at Fratton Park.

The Rams went in front in the 23rd minute when the unmarked Joe Ward drove the ball beyond Will Norris following a quick counter-attack.

The lead only lasted four minutes as Colby Bishop flicked a delightful ball through for Abu Kamara to confidently slot home.

Paul Warne’s side regained the lead 10 minutes before the break s Ward’s effort from outside the box took a deflection before finding the corner.

Substitute Owen Moxon rescued a point for Pompey in the 77th minute, latching onto a loose ball and lashing home from 25 yards.

Derby are now four points clear of the Whites but have played an extra game. They also have a slightly better goal difference than Ian Evatt’s side.

After the final whistle, Warne said: “I’m not too frustrated at the point. If you had told me before the game we would come away with a point, I would have taken that.

“But it is disappointing to lead twice and not win. We’ve played a motivated, highly fit, confident, and well-organised side - the league table shows you that.

“We scored two goals and thought that it was enough to win the game, but we’ve conceded to a screamer which is disappointing as Joe (Wildsmith) hasn’t had a lot to do tonight.

“I think they’ve run out of ideas, which is why they’ve had to attempt shots from 30 yards. The players have worked so hard and I’m proud of them.”

The result sees Portsmouth maintain their five-point cushion at the top of the table. They are nine points clear of Wanderers with five games to go.

John Mousinho added: “Having gone behind twice, it always feels like a decent enough point.

“I think overall we probably had enough of it but did not dominate the ball enough. I thought on the whole it was pretty good performance against a really good side, so we will take the point and move on.”