Manager Frank Lampard said he had never before been involved in a match like Derby County’s astonishing 4-3 win over Norwich City.
Jack Marriott grabbed a dramatic late winner as the Rams recovered from 2-0 and then 3-2 down – with five minutes remaining – to edge a gripping game delayed for 20 minutes because of floodlight failure.
“It had everything,” Lampard said. “I have certainly never gone back to the dressing room and then come back like that before and as a manager I have never been involved in a game with two late goals like that.”
Norwich dominated the first 35 minutes and deservedly led through Ben Godfrey’s back-post shot and a fine breakaway second that was well finished by Teemu Pukki.
Goals by Fikayo Tomori and Mason Mount drew the Rams level by the interval.
And although Pukki restored the Norwich lead just before the lights went out in one section of the ground, the Rams took the points through Florian Jozefzoon, after a goalmouth scramble, and Marriott’s stylish dinked finish.
The Canaries, who would have gone level on points with leaders Leeds with a victory, piled forward in injury time and almost snatched a point when Todd Cantwell forced a brilliant save from Scott Carson and Jordan Rhodes smashed an effort against the bar.
“I think the delay worked in our favour because Norwich had just scored their goal and the momentum was with them,” said Lampard, who occupy the final play-off place, four points clear of seventh-placed Birmingham City.
“It was bad timing for them and good timing for us because it gave us the chance to reorganise things and I thought David Nugent did a superb job when he came on, playing a part in both our goals.
“The players deserve so much credit for coming away from a tough place like this with three points.”
“For the first 30 minutes we didn’t show that desire against a very good Norwich side and the score could have been anything. But goals change games and once we got it back to 2-1 we started to play at a much better level.”
Norwich boss Daniel Farke was amazed that his side were not able to extend their unbeaten run to 13 matches and force a second consecutive high-scoring draw at Carrow Road.
City had trailed Nottingham Forest 3-0 on Boxing Day but somehow recovered, scoring twice in injury time to salvage a draw.
But this time the Canaries were on the receiving end of the late drama on a crazy afternoon that produced 39 attempts on goal.
“We are unbelievably disappointed,” Farke added. “The football we played in the first 30 minutes was some of the best I’ve seen here. But we didn’t protect our goal too well in the first half.
“I don’t want to use the floodlight problem as an excuse but if it hadn’t been for that I am sure we would have gone on and won the game. We had just scored, we had the momentum with us, and the delay gave Derby a chance to take a break and make changes.
“It is difficult to accept that we have lost this game. For most of the first half Derby just couldn’t handle our quality.”
At 2-0 up after a dominant start, their confidence was flowing and the lead could have been greater.
But the Rams were a different side after Tomori blasted the ball in following a corner and and another Chelsea loanee Mount rounded off a frantic 20-minute spell by firing in the equaliser in first-half injury-time.
Neither side could force a breakthrough until Pukki’s 19th goal of the season seemed to have settled an already thrilling encounter.
But a ridiculous match still had more drama as the Rams ruined the afternoon for home supporters when the players returned following the 20-minute floodlight failure.
Jozefzoon bundled in the leveller and Marriott’s cool chipped effort ended a four-game winless runs for the visitors,