Conor Chaplin struck deep into stoppage time to clinch a point for Barnsley and knock the stuffing out of Derby County in a match that saw Tom Lawrence return to the starting line-up after being charged with drink driving.
The midfielder and team-mate Mason Bennett – who came off the bench – were involved in a car crash on September 24 that left team-mate Richard Keogh facing 15 months out injured.
Aapo Halme gave the hosts an early lead but Chris Martin and Tom Huddlestone’s penalty ensured the Rams were ahead at the break, however Chaplin’s shot from a Luke Thomas corner evened things up with 94 minutes on the clock.
Tom Lawrence (L) and Mason Bennett played for Derby after alleged drink-driving incident
Barnsley striker Conor Chaplin grabbed a last-minute equaliser for his side at Oakwell
BARNSLEY: Collins, Jordan Williams (Thomas 68), Halme, Andersen (Styles 74), Ben Williams, Sibbick, Mowatt, Brown (Wilks 74), Bahre, Chaplin, Woodrow.
GOALS: Halme 13, Chaplin 90+4
BOOKED: Thomas, Sibbick
SUBS NOT USED: Walton, Green, Schmidt, Pinillos.
DERBY: Roos, Bogle, Bielik, Davies, Lowe, Huddlestone (Clarke 46), Holmes (Bennett 89), Waghorn, Paterson, Lawrence, Martin (Knight 79).
GOALS: Martin 34, Huddlestone 43 (pen)
SUBS NOT USED: Dowell, Jozefzoon, Hamer, Malone.
After the match, Rams boss Phillip Cocu insisted both Lawrence and Bennett had not been let off easy after the accident.
Cocu said: ‘In the end the players have to have the possibility to give something back to the club and the fans on the pitch.
‘That’s the only podium they have to give a response and it still doesn’t change the fact of what we said as a club. That will definitely happen, so they are not off the hook.
‘But also they are part of our team and the club and we have to give them the possibility to give a good response.
‘They are affected by it very much.
‘I spoke the last few days a lot with the players and they were eager to go and play.’
Pressed on whether the decision to involve Lawrence and Bennett and been his alone or made following conversations with others at the club, Cocu said: ‘Does it change anything?
‘We’ve spoken a lot over the last week, but it was my decision.’
Derby manager Phillip Cocu insisted Lawrence and Bennett deserved the chance to play
Aapo Halme thundered in a header early on in the match to give the hosts the lead
The home side hadn’t won since the opening game of the season, but the return of skipper Mike Bahre gave them a timely boost.
The German winger fashioned the first chance in the ninth minute when he seized on an under-hit pass from Krystian Bielik and teed up Cauley Woodrow, but his shot clipped the outside of the post.
Derby did not heed the warning and the hosts took the lead four minutes later. Alex Mowatt swung in a fine cross from the right and Halme rose highest to power a header past Kelle Roos.
It was the big defender’s first league goal for Barnsley and Mowatt’s magic from set-pieces almost created a second. Woodrow was denied this time by a vital block from Max Lowe as his header looked destined for the net.
Veteran striker Chris Martin was on hand to level the match just after the half-hour mark
Barnsley earned a late point but they remain in the Championship relegation zone
Derby were ragged, but leveled against the run of play in the 34th minute when Chris Martin steered home a Jamie Paterson pass.
Booed by Derby fans when his name was read out, Lawrence made an impact on the field when he was fouled by Mads Andersen for a penalty that Huddlestone scored.
But Barnsley battled back and were rewarded when Chaplin struck to deny the Rams back-to-back wins at Oakwell for the first time since 1992.