Derby head coach Paul Warne hailed his team’s 3-2 comeback win at League One promotion rivals Oxford as “magical”.

The U’s led 2-0 after 13 minutes when Cameron Brannagan converted a penalty then hammered in a 25-yard free-kick.

But the Rams fought back brilliantly.

Craig Forsyth gave them a lifeline by turning in a flick-on corner at the far post in stoppage time at the end of the first half.

And two goals in the last nine minutes from substitute Liam Thompson then Eiran Cashin sent Derby’s 1,700 fans into raptures as the Rams stretched their unbeaten run to nine games.

Warne said: “To win in the way we did was pretty magical. To win 3-2 like that was quite exciting!

“I thought we actually played very well in the first half too. Obviously we didn’t start the game well, conceding from a penalty and a free-kick in the first 13 minutes.

“But I thought we still had control of the game in the first half. The goal just before half-time proved a big swing. It changed the team talk, I won’t lie.

“I said to the team at half-time that we didn’t need to rush things, we had ages left to get back into it.

“I’m just really proud of the group. The game-changers came on for us and had a massive effect. We tried to press with a real energy and to win at another team in the play-off places is special.

“The fact that Tommo came on and scored with a brilliant header gave me a lot of pleasure too.

“It showed real character from us. If you want to be successful you have to win in different ways and we found another way to win tonight.

“We were thinking, coming here, about not losing because you don’t want a play-off rival to go six points clear of you – but we also came to win with an aggressive team and line-up.

“It was probably the most hard-earned three points we have had all season. But it was also a thoroughly deserved three points – I don’t think anyone in the ground would deny that.

“And I appreciate our fans sticking with us and really getting behind us even when we were two goals down. It was an exciting night and one we won’t forget.”

Oxford head coach Des Buckingham felt the timing of Forsyth’s goal had a big impact on the game.

He said: “I was very excited by how we started the game, and very frustrated by how we finished the game.

“We started extremely well. But it’s about starting and ending well, and putting it together for 90 minutes.

“We can’t switch off, as a collective, just before half-time like that. There were two minutes of added-on time and it was in the 48th minute, which was also frustrating.

“That goal came from a set-piece and the third goal came from a free-kick. That’s five goals against us in three games that have come from set-pieces. We’re not the biggest side, we know that, but we need to be cuter too.

“Derby are a good side – a big, physical side. But them bringing on five fresh experienced players made a difference. We had to make an enforced change with an injury to Tyler Goodrham, which we weren’t expecting to make.

“And we ended up trying not to lose the game rather than trying to win it.”

Kane Wilson came off the bench to inspire Derby to a 3-1 win over Lincoln that lifts them to third in Sky Bet League One.

Lincoln started brightly but the first chance fell to the Rams in the 16th minute when Tom Barkhuizen crossed and Max Bird’s shot deflected behind off a defender.

But there was no stopping Conor Hourihane’s drive from just inside the area in the 26th minute which flew into the top-left corner after Lincoln failed to clear a Joe Ward cross.

Derby almost scored again five minutes before half-time through Craig Forsyth who fired inches past the right-hand post but Ward gave away a penalty in stoppage time when he tripped Paudie O’Connor and Danny Mandroiu converted.

Ward was subbed for Wilson at half-time and he restored Derby’s lead in the 65th minute with a looping header from Nathaniel Mendez-Laing’s cross.

Wilson then turned provider in the 77th minute with a precise pass that sent James Collins through to score with a low cross-shot.

Derby head coach Paul Warne described the 3-0 home win over Barnsley as “a boost for the dressing room.”

Barnsley came into the game unbeaten on the road this season but that run was ended by a James Collins brace and a Craig Forsyth goal.

The game was reasonably even up to the 35th minute when Jordan Williams pushed over Collins in the box and the striker got up to tuck away the penalty.

Derby rammed home that advantage in the second half when they twice caught Barnsley out with long free-kicks from goalkeeper Joe Wildsmith.

On both occasions, Forsyth got in behind Barnsley on the left when the ball was flicked on, firing low past Ben Killip in the 48th minute and then forcing the goalkeeper into an acrobatic save in the 63rd before Collins chested in the rebound.

Barnsley had a chance to get back in it but John McAtee fired wide after Devante Cole’s pass set him up in the 52nd minute.

Warne said: “I thought the first half was really tight, I didn’t think either team was really in the ascendancy and it felt like one of those games that was going to come down to small margins.

“Massive credit to the players, they were excellent today. It’s about the dressing room, the lads feel good about it.

“I’ve been saying all week I thought they were going to win, not from an arrogant point of view but I just felt it, I could see the lads in training taking the information on.

“It’s a boost for the dressing room obviously and the lads back themselves when they are at their best and today they were and we could have competed against anyone.”

Barnsley slipped to sixth in League One, now level on points with Derby.

Head coach Neill Collins said: “Up until the third goal, I didn’t think there was anything in the game.

“We were behind to the penalty at half-time which I thought was more than recoverable but the second and third goals, to lose goals to direct play and you’re 3-0 down.

“I thought there was nothing between the teams, there wasn’t really clear-cut chances for either team, it was a good tight game but then it quickly unfolded because we didn’t deal with direct play.

“We have dealt with that type of play and we’ve kept a lot of clean sheets but you’re coming up against a better calibre of opposition today and we just didn’t deal with it and that was the one aspect which was really frustrating.

“At times, had we shown a little more devilment and intensity it could have been there for us in the first 60 minutes but we didn’t.”

Derby ended Barnsley’s unbeaten away run in League One as James Collins scored twice in a 3-0 win.

Collins fired in a first-half penalty and struck again after Craig Forsyth scored to condemn Barnsley to their first defeat on the road this season.

Derby started strongly with Nathaniel Mendez-Laing causing problems on the left although Joe Wildsmith had to turn behind an Adam Phillips free-kick in the 21st minute.

But Derby went ahead in the 35th minute when Jordan Williams pushed over Collins to concede a penalty which the striker confidently converted.

Derby were worth their lead and they extended it in the 48th minute with Forsyth ghosting in to score with a low finish after a long free-kick was flicked on.

A repeat of that move brought Derby a third in the 63rd minute with Forsyth again getting in on the left to fire in a shot which Ben Killip saved but Collins bundled in the rebound.

Tom Barkhuizen fired over and Louie Sibley rattled the bar as Derby enjoyed a comprehensive victory.

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