Nottingham Forest academy graduate Ben Osborn scored an injury-time winner against Derby County in this afternoon’s East Midlands derby - his first senior goal.The midfielder, who was a menace to The Rams all game, fired an unstoppable effort past Lee Grant on 92 minutes, completing the most dramatic of turnarounds.
Derby had taken a first-half lead through a Henri Lansbury own goal before Britt Assombalonga scored a 75th-minute equaliser.
There had been doubts over Assombalonga’s fitness after he sustained a hip injury in last weekend’s match against Sheffield Wednesday.
But he played the full 90 minutes, helping Forest to a memorable win over their arch-rivals.
Stuart Pearce made three changes to the side that faced Wednesday. Loanee midfielder Gary Gardner was handed his first start in the garibaldi, replacing Chris Burke, while Lansbury and Kelvin Wilson came in for David Vaughan and Jamaal Lascelles.
Burke, Vaughan and Lascelles were on the bench alongside Karl Darlow, Lars Veldwijk, Jamie Paterson and Stephen McLaughlin.
The two sides exchanged half-chances in the early minutes, Derby’s Omar Mascarell sending the ball high and wide with an eighth-minute left-footed effort before Michail Antonio forced a comfortable save from Lee Grant with a shot from the edge of The Rams’ area.
Antonio had another opportunity three minutes later, controlling Eric Lichaj’s throw on his knee in the area and spinning his man. He could only send the ball high over the bar with his shot.
Wilson had to be alert at the other end shortly afterwards, doing well to block Craig Bryson’s shot after the midfielder benefited from nice build-up in Forest’s area.
But The Rams had the ball in the net on 16 minutes. Jack Hobbs managed to divert it out for a corner after Jamie Ward’s shot but, from Johnny Russell’s delivery, Lansbury got his defensive header all wrong, turning the ball into his own net at the near post.
Buoyed by their opener, Derby kept up their pressure with a succession of corners. The ball fell to Ward who shifted the ball on to his left foot and produced an excellent strike from 22 yards. De Vries made an acrobatic save and expertly claimed the ball from the resultant corner. Ward obstructed the Dutchman as he tried to spark a Forest counter, earning himself the first spot in referee Andrew Madley’s notebook.
Forest were called into defensive action again on 28 minutes, Lichaj doing well to slide in and knock the ball away from Russell after the winger had chested a long ball down and taken it into the area. The consequential corner was cleared but Derby kept up their pressure, releasing Bryson into the left-hand channel. His cross from the byline was met by the head of Wilson, who could only nod the ball against Lansbury in the area. Derby couldn’t capitalise on the ricochet. Wilson was the next man in the book after a tussle with Chris Martin.
And it was Wilson’s defensive partner, Jack Hobbs, who had Forest’s next effort at goal. The defender went upfield for a corner, which was cleared for a throw. Antonio’s delivery was cleared to Lansbury, who laid it off to Lichaj. The American crossed the ball from deep and Assombalonga nodded it down for Hobbs, who sent the ball bobbling wide with a half-volley from the edge of the box.
Gardner was then booked for a foul on Bryson before both sides upped their efforts to score before the break.
Derby’s Will Hughes led the charge, bending the ball just wide of the far post from 20 yards, before Hobbs produced an excellent block to prevent Ward from converting Russell’s low cross.
But Forest ended the half in the ascendancy. Lansbury produced a superb ball over the top for Antonio, whose first-time cross was blocked by Jake Buxton. Antonio took charge of the resultant throw in as two minutes of added time were indicated.
The Rams managed to quell the danger temporarily, but they were nearly sent into the break level by Assombalonga. The striker turned his marker and sent the ball dipping just over the bar with the outside of his right foot.
Derby boss Steve McClaren opted for switch at half-time, replacing Hughes with Jeff Hendrick, while Forest reemerged unchanged.
The Rams claimed the first chance of the second half on 53 minutes, full back Cyrus Christie receiving a lay-off and firing the ball a yard wide of De Vries’ near post from 20 yards.
But Forest were quick to show their next hand, Osborn displaying excellent footwork down the right to bring the ball infield. He gave it to Tesche, who struck a fierce shot towards goal. Buxton managed to get his face in the way of the ball to turn it behind for a corner. Grant came to meet Osborn’s cross but missed the ball completely. Antonio volleyed it at goal but a wall of Derby defenders managed to block its path.
The Reds were displaying encouraging signs and, apart from a Ward shot which saw the ball curl harmlessly wide on 67 minutes, they were restricting their hosts.
Osborn, who was praised by his manager for his performance against Wednesday last weekend, had been pivotal to most of Forest’s good work. He saw a 69th-minute shot blocked by Craig Forsyth, before his corner four minutes later caused chaos in the middle. The ball fell for Wilson, but the defender couldn’t connect cleanly enough with his shot and Grant held on to it.
But, with 15 minutes to go, more Osborn-inspired panic brought about Forest’s equaliser. This time it was from a free-kick, which saw the ball forge a path towards Assombalonga six yards out. The striker made no mistake in stroking it past Grant.
The goal sparked wild celebrations in the away end, during which Darren Bent replaced Ward for The Rams.
Now the game was anyone’s, and Tesche had a tricky chance to put Forest into the lead on 81 minutes. Goalkeeper Grant’s defensive header fell to the German near the centre circle but, on the volley, he could only send the ball wide with the goal gaping.
Pearce then made his first change of the afternoon, sending on McLaughlin in place of Antonio.
Hobbs and Wilson had kept Derby striker Martin quiet all afternoon, but the forward had a rare sight at goal in the final minute of normal time. The ball was launched into Forest’s area from a free-kick and it was flicked on for Martin. Stretching, he could only lob it over the bar.
And, in the second of four minutes of added time, Forest had the lead in the most dramatic of circumstances.
Ben Osborn picked the ball up in space, ran down the left, reached the edge of the area and blasted it beyond Grant to make it 2-1.
Derby had no response, leaving Forest’s fans to revel in the jubilation of the most dramatic of derby-day victories.
Forest: De Vries, Lichaj, Wilson, Hobbs (c), Kane, Antonio (McLaughlin 81'), Gardner, Tesche (Lascelles 90'), Osborn, Lansbury, Assombalonga
Subs not used: Darlow, Paterson, Vaughan, Burke, Veldwijk
Goals: Assombalonga 75', Osborn 90'
Bookings: Wilson 30', Gardner 36'
Derby:Grant, Christie, Keogh, Buxton, Forsyth, Mascarell, Hughes (Hendrick 46'), Bryson, Ward (Bent 76'), Russell, Martin
Subs not used: Roos, L Naylor, Shotton, Calero, Bennett
Goal: Lansbury (o.g. 16')
Bookings: Ward 21', Mascarell 74'
Referee: Andrew Madley
Attendance: 32,705 (2,645 away)