Derby County 1 Cardiff City 1
The win manager Phillip Cocu craved to lift the clouds over Derby eluded him but the point at least lifted his side out of the bottom three in the Championship, on goal difference.
Martyn Waghorn’s first-half free kick gave Derby a half-time lead but Cardiff always looked to have a goal in them and Kieffer Moore provided it 13 minutes from time.
Derby had not scored a home Championship goal in 306 minutes going into this match but were able to put that right after 24 more when Cardiff’s Joe Ralls brought down Tom Lawrence three or four yards outside the box.
It would have been in Wayne Rooney’s range had the former England captain not still been self-isolating. Instead, it gave Waghorn the chance to duplicate his set-piece goal against Nottingham Forest last weekend, which he duly took, lifting the ball over the Cardiff wall and into the left-hand corner, out of the reach of Alex Smithies.
Derby’s attacking play was sharp enough to threaten another goal but they looked vulnerable at the other end towards half-time as Cardiff began to create openings for the first time.
Moore clipped the outside of a post with a header, although the potential for the visiting side to do some damage to their opponents had been lessened to a degree by the absence of their Liverpool loanee, Harry Wilson, who scored 18 goals for Derby two seasons ago and delivered his first for Cardiff last week.
They posed a threat nonetheless and the Derby woodwork was rattled for a second time soon after the restart, Junior Hoilett’s looping header from beyond the far post rebounding off the other one. Kelle Roos, deputising for an injured David Marshall, was beaten. Derby were fortunate again when substitute Robert Glatzel just failed to convert a Sheyi Ojo cross.
The equaliser arrived after 77 minutes, some static defending by the home side allowing Ojo to run at them before slipping Moore through on goal, the striker sliding the ball past Roos. Cardiff’s momentum had been growing.
Derby went close when Waghorn forced a good save from Smithies on the end of a neat flick by substitute Colin Kazim-Richards but a point each was an outcome with which neither side could particularly grumble.
Derby County (3-4-3): Roos; Wisdom, Davies, Clarke; Byrne (Forsyth 62), Knight, Shinnie, Buchanan (Te Wierik 78); Jozwiack, Waghorn, Lawrence (Kazim-Richards 83). Substitutes not used: Idem (gk), Bird, Sibley, Holmes.
Cardiff City (4-2-3-1): Smithies; Bacuna, Morrison, Nelson, Bennett; Pack, Vaulks (Glatzel 62); Ojo, Ralls, Hoilett; Moore. Substitutes not used: Phillips (gk), Bamba, Bagan, Murphy, Whyte, Harris.
Referee: Oliver Langford (West Midlands)
Bookings: Derby: Jozwiack, Shinnie, Te Wierik. Cardiff: Morrison, Ojo.