Coventry City 6 Derby County 2
Derby did their best to silence the crowd early on, and created two good chances through Inigo Idiakez, first on four minutes when his free-kick forced a desperate save from Luke Steele.
Then from the resultant corner Michael Johnson headed Idiakez's corner just wide.
Gary McSheffrey started to come into the game and the Coventry kid - born a stone's throw from Highfield Road - cut inside into the box and hammered a shot that took a brave intervention from Johnson to divert away from the goal.
McSheffrey was clearly up for the occasion, though, and on 20 minutes he picked himself up from a crude Ian Taylor challenge to latch on to the ball 25 yards out.
He burst forward through three defenders and knocked the ball past Lee Camp from eight yards.
The momentum was all in Coventry's favour now and on 27 minutes Stern John knocked the ball in behind the Derby defence for Claus Jorgensen to run on to.
Former Coventry favourite Mo Konjic bundled the Dane over and Gary McSheffrey stepped up to slot home the penalty.
Coventry were far from finished, though. Hapless Konjic was involved again as he attempted to shield the ball from Dele Adebola, only to be robbed by Coventry's giant frontman.
Adebola skipped past Camp and put the ball in the net from a single yard out.
Still the goals came, though, and again poor Konjic was involved as he headed the ball behind needlessly for a corner on 39 minutes.
Stephen Hughes' set-piece was nodded unchallenged past Camp by John to give Coventry a lead few at Highfield Road could have dreamed of.
After the break, on 50 minutes, Adam Bolder snapped a powerful 25-yard drive into the top corner to give Derby brief hope of an unlikely comeback.
But their hopes were shattered minutes later when John restored the home side's four goal advantage with a tight-angle drive from close range.
Substitute Paul Peschisolido grabbed a 62nd minute goal to reduce the deficit once more, but then Sky Blues sub Andrew Whing scored a sublime volley with his first touch on 69 minutes.