Derby 1-1 Blackburn

Johnny Russell

Leon Best's 89th-minute volley earned Blackburn a deserved opening-day point at Derby.

Rams debutant Johnny Russell had fired them into the lead from the penalty spot late in the first half after a handball by Blackburn new boy Alex Marrow.

Best hit the post for the visitors after the break and Jordan Rhodes had a penalty appeal turned down.

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Nigel Clough defends Rams tactics

At the other end Richard Keogh had an effort ruled out for offside.

Derby have never lost an opening-day fixture under manager Nigel Clough, the Championship's longest-serving manager having been at the helm since January 2009.

They were under pressure early on though with Blackburn dominant and Spaniard Ruben Rochina a constant threat just behind lone striker Jordan Rhodes.

Rhodes had a header blocked on the line by Craig Forsythe, debutant Alan Judge curled a shot inches wide of the post and Rochina dragged a strike wide.

But minutes after Rochina had been stretchered off with a dislocated shoulder, Russell fired the hosts into the lead from the penalty spot after Marrow had inexplicably handled a hopeful ball into the area.

Russell signed for the Rams this summer for £750,000 from Dundee United and has been scoring freely in pre-season.

It was the hosts who looked the more composed in the opening stages of the second half, with Keogh having a goal ruled out for offside just past the hour after a Jake Kean error.

Substitute Best should have levelled when he slid in at the far post to shoot against the post from close range, before Rhodes went down under the challenge of Jake Buxton only to have his penalty appeal waved away.

But Best struck his first Blackburn goal in the dying minutes when he brilliantly volleyed home from inside the area before Rhodes had another penalty shout turned down in injury time.

Derby manager Nigel Clough:

"We did not intend to sit back, it is just that Blackburn played very well on the day. We had enough chances in the second half to get the second goal but overall a draw was probably fair.

"Johnny Russell was lively, he had a chance in the second half as well. We are pleased with him. It was nice for us to score a penalty because I think we have missed our last six."

Blackburn manager Gary Bowyer:

"We should have got three points, we were that good. The injury to Ruben Rochina rocked us a bit after a good start but overall you look at what we have done, I don't think we did get our just rewards.

"You saw the character, spirit and desire of these players that has been questioned before. They were a credit to the club."

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