Marriott fires Derby into play-off final
Leeds United 2 Derby County 4 (Derby win 4-3 on aggregate)
There is a moment before a vital goal in the biggest of games is scored where there is silence, as thousands of lungs are filled with air in expectation of the celebration that will follow. A split second of calm before the explosion of euphoria. Just ask Jack Marriott. Just ask Derby County.
Derby's substitute had scored with his first touch after replacing Duane Holmes in the first half to drag his side back into this Championship play-off semi-final and it was his lofted finish, as the game appeared to be heading into extra time, that won it for them.
Whatever happens when they meet Aston Villa in the final at Wembley, Derby will remember this evening for years to come.
The night they went to Leeds United and won, the night they made Leeds capitulate. The night they travelled to Yorkshire and gained the sweetest revenge for the insults and jibes aimed at them over the Spygate scandal.
When the pressure was on, it would be Leeds who folded. They missed out on automatic promotion because they could not hold it together.
Derby trailed by a goal from the first leg, with three play-off defeats in five years, but knew they had a chance.
Leeds began like a cobra striking at its prey but Derby ducked and avoided getting bitten, Luke Ayling lifting a shot over the bar before scissor-kicking another into the stand.
Derby, though, also looked dangerous. They were certainly not wilting, Harry Wilson's free-kick defected over, sparking a succession of corners.
Minutes later and Leeds were in front, Stuart Dallas sweeping the ball into the net after Mateusz Klich's free-kick had come back off the post.
They almost made it two, Klich's shot deflecting on to the upright with goalkeeper Kelle Roos clawing at thin air.
Derby, though, were not done. They also hit the post, Mason Bennett's looping header coming back off it, but still managed to equalise in farcical circumstances before the interval.
Leeds goalkeeper Kiko Casilla came sprinting off his line, captain Liam Cooper did not believe he would get there, missed his own clearance and Marriott scored. Suddenly, it was Leeds who looked rattled.
Derby sensed it and moved in for the kill, scoring their second goal 38 seconds after the restart. Richard Keogh played the ball into the feet of Wilson, who moved it on to Mason Mount, the youngster on loan from Chelsea, somehow losing his balance and still managing to scoop a shot over the head of Casillas.
Leeds were in disarray, Bennett denied a third goal by the legs of the goalkeeper. The energy inside the stadium began to become a negative force, but Leeds came back, Jack Harrison's shot blocked on the line.
The hope began to filter back into Yorkshire's voices and then more self-harm, Cooper tugging the shirt of Bennett inside the area and Wilson converted the penalty.
Somehow Leeds came again, Dallas dropping a shoulder and curling a shot into the far corner.
But after Gaetano Berardi's sending off, Leeds could not cling on for penalties, Wilson hitting the post before Marriott condemned them to another season in the Championship.
© Daily Telegraph, London