Ravel Morrison replaced Jason Knight with 67 minutes on the clock at the Select Car Leasing Stadium as Derby County trailed Reading 2-0.
As it stood, the Royals would have increased the gap between Derby and safety to 14 points with 21 games left to play in the season.
But courageous late headers from Colin Kazim-Richards, his third goal from off the bench in as many games, and Curtis Davies rescued a point that will keep supporters believing that the greatest of all escapes is still possible.
Derby had been in the ascendency when Junior Hoilett added his and Reading’s second on 56 minutes, the goal forced Wayne Rooney into action with a double change first before introducing Morrison ten minutes later.
The 28-year-old took to Instagram to express his emotions after the Rams’ late show.
He wrote: “Another point on the road, unbelievable character shown from everyone going 2-0 down then coming back 2-2 with complete domination in the 2nd half! Never give up fans played a massive part and gave us the extra boost we appreciate yous.
Believe & achieve. @thecurtisdavies unbelievable header @manlikecolinkazimrichards keep doing you my bro.”
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Derby are not in league action until 15th January but can continue their positive momentum when they travel to Coventry City in the FA Cup third round on Saturday.
Quiz: Can you name which club Derby County signed these 20 strikers from?
As a player who has struggled to settle at a club in his career, it is refreshing to see Ravel Morrison find a cause at Derby that he can really throw himself into. It speaks volumes to Wayne Rooney’s man management skills and even as an impact substitute, Morrison at full throttle is a very good player to have at Championship level.
The Rams seem to have stumbled upon a more dynamic attacking formula in recent weeks. There is no doubt that Luke Plange and Tom Lawrence are the first choice attacking duo, but with the likes of Morrison, Kazim-Richards and Festy Ebosele to bring on and test tiring defences with their pace and physicality, Derby have been much more threatening going forward particularly late on in games.