Championship outfit Derby County needed a penalty shootout to nudge past Barrow in the Carabao Cup as David Dunn’s men got the 2020/21 campaign off to a heartening start.
The Bluebirds were more than a match for a Rams side who could not find a way through a resilient Barrow defence – indeed, it was the visitors who had two of the better chances in the opening period.
County pressed hard towards the end of normal time but were denied by some determined defending and the tie was then settled on spot-kicks with The Rams going through despite Joel Dixon saving two penalties in the shootout.
It was Derby who enjoyed the lion’s share of the early possession, looking comfortable on the ball and trying to probe for a way through what looked a resolute Barrow backline.
The Bluebirds kept their shape with real discipline to make it tricky for the hosts to find a way through and began growing in to the game as it developed.
With a little under quarter of an hour on the clock, Barrow’s growing composure was underlined with a flowing move from right to left which got Josh Kay on the ball but, after cutting inside dangerously on his right foot, the powerful drive was sent just too high.
Dunn’s men created the best chance on 21 minutes when Dior Angus stormed through down the right side and got in to the box but was well denied by Kelle Roos under pressure from a recovering defender.
There was an even better opening a couple of minutes later as Jack Hindle seized on some hesitant Derby defending to get clear on the edge of the box but his clever attempted chip drifted just the wrong side of the far post.
County hit back with an opportunity of their own when the ball was shovelled across to the far post from the right and, as Craig Forsyth nodded it back across goal, Jack Marriott arrived to have a shot which was deflected over the bar.
A move from right to left caused problems again for Barrow as a low cross from Forsyth was just about diverted behind and then Matt Clarke nodded the resultant corner just off-target.
It was Barrow who created the first chance of note at the start of the second half when the ball was slipped forward by Kay in to the feet of Hindle, who turned swiftly and then sent a curling effort agonisingly wide of the right-hand post.
Derby began to apply a little more pressure as time wore on and Barrow were thankful to a great block from James Jones to prevent Marriott’s volley from twelve yards from finding the net.
In the end it was a penalty shootout which was left to decide the action and it was The Rams who held their nerve to go through 3-2 on spot-kicks.
Dior Angus – Scored (1-0)
George Evans – Scored (1-1)
Tom Beadling – Saved (1-1)
Jack Marriott – Saved (1-1)
Lewis Hardcastle – Saved (1-1)
Max Bird – Saved (1-1)
Harrison Biggins – Scored (2-1)
Graeme Shinnie – Scored (2-2)
Jack Hindle – Saved (2-2)
Morgan Whittaker – Scored (3-2)
Full Time: Derby County 0 Barrow 0 (Derby win 3-2 on penalties)
Derby County: Roos, Forsyth, Te Wierik, Bird, Marriott, Clarke (Whittaker 61), Sibley (Wisdom 84), Evans, Holmes (Shinnie 55), Buchanan, Knight.
Subs not used: Ravas, Davies, Shonibare, Solomon.
Barrow: Dixon, Brown, Platt (Hird 79), M Jones (Biggins 77), Hardcastle, Kay, J Jones, Beadling, Angus, Hindle, Ntlhe.
Subs not used: Taylor, Gribbin, Penfold, James.
Booked: Brown (43, foul)
Referee: Ollie Yates