Chelsea survive scare as own goals agony sinks Derby
Chelsea 3 Derby County 2
Frank Lampard will know that many teams with greater resources than Derby come to Stamford Bridge with the firm expectation of being beaten and although that was how it worked out in the end for his Championship side, at least they came to fight rather than lie down and die.
It was, in many respects, a glorious return to Stamford Bridge for the man who is arguably the greatest player in 113 years of football there - a reception as warm as any for those who now represent the club and a fine performance from his team.
Indeed, Derby were a post's breadth away from dragging this game to a penalty shoot-out when David Nugent clipped a shot past Willy Caballero on 89 minutes only to see it bounce out from the upright.
On the touchline, Lampard threw his arms out in disbelief, turning away from the Shed End where so many of his thunderbolts, clips, dinks, penalties and, yes, deflected shots, found their intended target.
Not this time, but if his team continues to play the kind of brave, attacking football that saw them ultimately triumph at Old Trafford in the previous round then it is not inconceivable that he and his assistant Jody Morris could one day be in the home dugout.
Chelsea loanees Fikayo Tomori and Mason Mount both played well for Derby, albeit with the former scoring an own goal within five minutes.
Mount would later contribute an assist to Martyn Waghorn's goal, Derby's second.
There was a fine performance in midfield from Tom Huddlestone, who suits the Derby passing game well, and a well-taken goal by Jack Marriott.
Lampard did a lap of honour at the end to rapturous applause from both sets of fans, an experience that few get in a career.
It was great entertainment from the moment that Tomori deflected the first goal past Scot Carson with the same kind of wild slice with which his team-mate Jayden Bogle had cost Derby victory against Middlesbrough last Saturday.
Lampard cuts an intense figure on the touchline, although he stopped himself celebrating his team's first equaliser on nine minutes.
This time it was Fabregas's error in midfield, robbed by his fellow veteran Huddlestone who sent Marriott clear down the left channel to finish confidently for Derby. Marriott is a Chelsea fan, just to add to the confusion.
There should have been another Derby goal on 17 minutes when Marriott played in Waghorn through a square Chelsea defence only for the striker to mis-hit his shot.
The third own goal in succession for Derby, following Bogle's last Saturday and Tomori's, was flicked in by Richard Keogh from Davide Zappacosta's cross.
Brittleness Again, the visitors hit back and Mount made the equaliser for Waghorn. Derby were going for it and, although he kept his emotions in check, it must have made Lampard's heart soar.
The problem was brittleness in defence and Fabregas scored Chelsea's third just before half-time with Derby protesting for an earlier foul by Zappacosta.
There was more control from the home side after the break but Derby hung in the game.
There was another vintage ball from Huddlestone that opened up the defence and had Marriott in on goal again.
The 24-year-old is quick and he lashed a shot that Caballero got just about enough on to turn onto the roof of his net.
By the last 10 minutes, Derby were back in the game and Lampard sent on Nugent and Craig Forsyth for one last push to get the equaliser that would take the tie to a penalty shoot-out. Nugent thought he he got it only to see his effort hit an upright before Lampard left to a hero's farewell. (© Daily Telegraph, London)