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Heartbreak for Leeds and Dallas as Derby have the final say

Leeds 2 Derby 4

Big impact: Derby’s Jack Marriott after scoring his side’s fourth goal
Big impact: Derby’s Jack Marriott after scoring his side’s fourth goal

By Mark Walker

Derby substitute Jack Marriott scored twice to help fire his side into the SkyBet Championship play-off final after a 4-2 victory at Leeds.

Marriott scored moments after stepping off the bench in the first half to make it 1-1 on the night and struck his second in the 85th minute to clinch Derby a 4-3 aggregate win.

The Rams made history by becoming the first side to win a second-tier play-off semi-final after losing the first leg at home and they will face Aston Villa on May 27.

Derby, trailing 1-0 from the first leg, had fallen behind to Stuart Dallas' opener, but after Marriott's equaliser they stunned Marcelo Bielsa's side with second-half goals from Mason Mount and Harry Wilson, from the penalty spot.

Leeds, roared on by their partisan fans, hauled themselves level through a fine second goal from Northern Ireland international Dallas, but Marriott had the last word in a rip-roaring play-off semi-final, which saw both sides finish with 10 men.

United defender Gaetano Berardi was sent off for his second yellow card in the 78th minute and Derby's Scott Malone received his second booking in the final minute.

Marriott was delighted to prove Derby's doubters wrong.

"It's a tough place to come but we did it," he said.

"Everyone wrote us off but we've come here and shown the confidence we've got."

Discussing his goal, assisted by captain Richard Keogh, Marriott added: "I don't know what he was doing that far up the pitch but he played me in!"

Mount commented: "It's tough to come here and win, tough to come here and score a goal.

"But these games are different and anything can happen."

Jubilant Derby boss Frank Lampard said: "I said to the lads that everyone had written us off. We changed the system and made a little tweak.

"But we needed the lads to show bravery on the ball and they did.

"The goal before half-time gave the players belief and I am so delighted for Jack Marriott. I felt it was his night but I didn't know he'd do that.

"We have to enjoy the moment but now prepare for Aston Villa, but we'll be underdogs again."

Derby skipper Keogh said that his side had to come out fighting.

"What a game," he said. "We knew coming into it that we would have to go for it.

"When they get the goal you think it might not be our night. Goals change games and the nature of our first unsettled them. We smelt it at half-time and anything can happen at football.

"In the second half we were brilliant and I thought we were the better team.

"To come here and score four goals speaks for itself. But what a crazy night.

"We have really grown as the season has gone on and to win and give us an opportunity of getting to the Premier League... I am proud."

Derby owner Mel Morris shared his delight at the play-off win.

"What a night," he said.

"If we were going to do it, that is the way to do it.

"I was more nervous when we had a goal lead than I was before the game when I was feeling quite calm.

"But towards the end I was on the edge.

"This is Frank's first season as manager and no one has done this before. What an achievement."

For Leeds, who finished third in the table having led the way earlier in the season, defeat means their spell outside the top flight will stretch to a 16th year.

Belfast Telegraph


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