Goals in either half from D’Margio Wright-Phillips and Taylor Richards had looked like earning Gareth Taylor’s young charges what would have been a deserved victory at Moor Park.
However, in a dramatic finale, Connor Dixon first narrowed the deficit on 91 minutes before the Rams were then awarded a late, late penalty which was successfully converted by Morgan Whittaker.
With Derby manager and former City midfielder Frank Lampard amongst those in a healthy crowd looking on in the East Midlands, the Rams enjoyed the better of the early stages.
Yeboah Amankwah made a timely intervention to head clear a goal-bound effort from Louie Sibley before Morgan Whittaker then had the ball in our net only for the effort to be disallowed with the ball having gone out of play in the build-up.
There was another scare for City on 13 minutes when Jordan Brown’s header smacked against the bar from Sibley’s corner.
But City gradually grew into the game with full-back Alpha Diounkou firing wide before Taylor Richards then forced Derby keeper Sam French to make a scrambled save from a 26th minute low drive.
The pressure was building and, a minute from the break, Gareth Taylor’s youngsters broke the deadlock in fine style.
Winger Keke Simmonds was the architect and after opening up space on the left flank, he fired in a pin-point cross which was headed home from close-range by the unmarked D’Margio Wright-Phillips to send the visitors in at the break with the ascendancy.
City maintained the upper hand at the start of the second half and Richards set the alrm bells ringing for the hosts again with a 50th minute effort that was just wide of the right hand post.
And the young Blues’ pressure and dominance was then rewarded on 65 minutes as Taylor’s charges struck once more.
Wright-Phillips turned provider this time, reaching a probing ball from Simmonds before drilling in a low cross-shot which was converted by the waiting Taylor Richards.
With time running out it appeared as though City were destined for a worthy three points, only for Derby to stage a dramatic injury-time comeback.
First Connor Dixon rounded off a quick counter-attack a minute into injury time to give the young Rams a glimmer of hope.
Then, with time almost up, City keeper Gavin Bazuna was adjudged to have brought down Derby’s Morgan Whittaker and the County midfielder made no mistake from the spot to ensure the spoils were shared.
How we lined up
Gavin Bazunu was in goal, shielded by a back four of Alpha Diounkou, Yeboah Amankwah, Nathanael Ogbeta, and Henri Ogunby. Joe Hodge was the deep-lying midfield anchor, with Taylor Richards and Ben Knight also in the engine room. Keke Simmonds and D’Margio Wright-Phillips provided the width on either flank with Nabil Touaizi deployed up-front.
What it means
City stay in seventh place in the table with 26 points from 19 games.
City are next in action in the U18 Premier League this Saturday when we play host to Sunderland. Kick-off at the CFA is at 12.30pm.