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Veteran striker Bent rescues point in thriller

11 February 2015, 11:30

London - Promotion hopefuls Bournemouth and Derby played out a pulsating 2-2 draw in the Championship on Tuesday with former England striker Darren Bent's fourth goal in five games salvaging a point for County.

Bournemouth fall to second, above the Rams on goal difference, despite twice taking the lead at Dean Court.

Attacker Matt Ritchie opened the scoring, sweeping Yann Kermorgant's chest down past Lee Grant in the Derby goal, but on-loan forward Tom Ince equalised with a solid strike from the edge of the area.

The home team went into half-time ahead as Callum Wilson smashed into the top corner from an angle but Bent ensured honours were even, slicing the ball into the roof of the goal from close range.

Derby boss Steve McClaren called the game "a credit to both clubs."

"I thought we were magnificent," added the former England coach. "I would have taken it on the chin if we had lost in the last minute."

Opposing manager Eddie Howe said his team were below their best, but backed his players to "come back stronger for it."

"If we could have played anywhere near how we can the result would have been different," he added.

Middlesbrough capitalised on the result to move top of the league, but needed a last-gasp winner to defeat struggling Blackpool 2-1.

Former Real Madrid defender Jonathan Woodgate -- in his first start since August -- looked like he had won the game with a close-range header in the 81st minute, but substitute Ben Gibson put through his own net to level the scores five minutes later.

With two minutes left on the clock, Enrique Garcia Martinez snatched victory with another header to send the visitors a point clear at the top and dreaming of a return to the Premier League.

 Millwall boost

But Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka urged his players not to get carried away by their lofty position.

"This league is very difficult...if we think everything is done now we are making a very big mistake," said the former assistant to Jose Mourinho.

Blackpool remain rooted to the bottom of the table, 10 points from safety.

Ipswich closed the gap on Derby to four points after coming from behind to beat Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 at Portman Road.

Kieran Lee gave Wednesday the lead but two second-half headers from Daryl Murphy and Luke Chambers kept Town firmly in the promotion picture.

Also read: Wenger frets over Sanchez, Ramsey injuries

Two other promotion hopefuls battled it out in an eventful encounter at Griffin Park, where Watford too came from behind against 10-man Brentford to claim an injury time 2-1 win.

The home team put the first-half dismissal of Jake Bidwell behind them to take the lead through striker Andre Gray's powerful strike.

Watford's Troy Deeney missed a penalty before striker Odion Ighalo equalised with a header and then won the game with a right-footed strike in the 91st minute.

At the other end of the table, Millwall boosted their chances of survival with a 1-0 win at Birmingham -- their first victory at St Andrew's since 1968 -- thanks to defender Alan Dunne's header.

They are now in the relegation zone only on goal difference after Brighton drew 0-0 at Cardiff.

Elsewhere, Wolves thumped Huddersfield 4-1, Blackburn beat Rotherham 2-1, Leeds ran out 2-0 winners over Reading, Norwich beat Charlton 3-2 and Bolton dispatched Fulham 3-1.



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