The Rams had been beaten 3-1 in the league meeting in Rotherham earlier this season and expected a hard game, they were not disappointed, Rotherham being a well drilled and physical large side.
Christchurch meadow Church bell rang for two o'clock as the referee whistled to signal the start of the game and it was Derby who started the better and with the game just six minutes old, Rams winger David Martin raced down the left wing beat his man but was fouled as he looked to cross. Despite being fouled Martin was on his feet quickly and caught the Rotherham defence napping, laying on an inch perfect cross for Conor Doyle to head home from 6 yards out.
Rotherham had been shocked by the Rams early goal and were pressing hard to get back on level term and had several good chances during the next 15 minutes. It was the Rams however who increased their advantage, against the run of play, in the 22nd minute. David Martin was the provider again, this time beating him man down the wing and hitting a hard low shot across the box which Callam Ball turned high into the roof of the net.
Chances for either side continued and Derby County were very unlucky to see a Callam Ball shot cannon off the underside of the bar in the 26th minute, many of the supporters in the Belper Town main stand thought the ball had in fact crossed the line.
At this point of the game the Rams looked to be well in control but Rotherham roared on by their vociferous Coach and Keeper refused to lie down and with four minutes before half time they gained their reward. A somewhat fortuitous ricochet in the area found Paul Warne free in the penalty area and a clinical left foot drive found the back of Ross Atkins net.
Rotherham were not satisfied going into the break 2-1 down and continued to look for the equaliser. They didn't have to wait long as the ball found Marcus Marshall again free in the area and his shot again beat Atkins to his right.
Two-two at the interval and any advantage the Rams had built up had dwindled and it was Rotherham that looked the most likely to go on and win the game. In the first minute of the second period a cross was fiercely sent across the Derby box and a shot from Rotherham's Tom Elliott shot just wide.
The Rams sent on substitutes Chris Jones and Aaron Cole for Gareth Roberts and Russell Anderson in the 60th minute. The change of personnel seemed to freshen up the Rams and a good cross by sub, Aaron Cole in the 69th minute found the head of Callum Ball who took the headed goal well to give the Rams a 3-2 advantage.
Despite the advantage Derby did look vulnerable and Rotherham to their credit didn't give in and a wonderful piece of skill by Tom Elliott again inside the penalty area, saw him turn 180 degrees and fire in an unstoppable shot that beat the Rams keeper to his left hand and nestled in the corner of the net.
Three- three was a fair result and an entertaining afternoon was had by all……………Now if only I had worn my thermals..!