COLIN KAZIM-RICHARDS snatched Derby a point with six minutes left as Wayne Rooney took charge of his first East Midlands derby.
Forest were looking comfortable after James Garner scored his first senior goal by firing them into a 33rd-minute lead.
And a solid disciplined Forest performance looked to be rewarded before Kazim-Richard belted home a leveller.
The striker had only just signed a new contract extension earlier in the day.
But Forest retain the Brian Clough Trophy – which the two clubs play for each time they play – after stretching their unbeaten run over Derby to eight games.
That is the longest stretch without winning over their foes.
Both clubs have been in good form and hoisted themselves away from the relegation zone.
The Rams went into the game on the back of six wins out of their previous eight – while Forest had won four out of six.
Derby set the tone early with Martyn Waghorn getting a cross in which was easily mopped up by Joe Worrall.
Rams striker Kazim-Richards was kicking himself after straying offside after getting into a great position to meet a Nathan Byrne cross.
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Matt Clarke surged forward for the Rams from central defence but as he approached the Forest area his slide-rule pass was awful and it went behind for a goalkick.
Forest were looking to get Freeman and Anthony Knockaert into the game as much as possible to create something magical.
Yuri Ribeiro went down screaming after a tackle from Jason Knight – but replays showed the very slightest of contact.
Derby should have moved in front when Graeme Shinnie saw his drive parried by Brice Samba.
The ball eventually found its way to Martyn Waghorn, whose follow-up effort was blocked by Ribeiro.
Rams appealed for a penalty and replays clearly showed that Waghorn’s effort had been blocked by Ribeiro’s arm.
VAR would have awarded the penalty.
And from the resulting corner, Knight had a golden chance to net but blazed over from close range.
But it was Forest who took a 34th-minute lead against the run of play.
After a cleared visiting corner, Filip Krovinovic punted a diagonal ball forward, Worrall was able to headed the ball unchallenged across for Manchester United loanee James Garner to hit the ball home from 15 yards.
Marshall really should have done better though.
Moments after Cafu was somewhat fortunate that referee Oliver Langford did not see him subtly kick Waghorn off the ball – after being clattered by the Derby ace.
Forest were causing a lot of panic in the Rams box with their direct football using Worrall as a target man.
Derby were dealt a blow when keeper David Marshall – holding his back – had to come off and was replaced by Kelle Roos. That may have explained by he was sluggish in his effort to save the goal.
And the Rams back-up keeper was called into action when Garner’s snap-shot saw him save at the second attempt with Murray ready to pounce.
After the break when Forest won a free-kick just inside the Derby’s half, Garner spotted Roos off his line so went for goal – but he got it horribly wrong sending it very high and wide.
The Rams had a great chance to level when Knight passed the ball into the path of Kasim-Richards – but his shot flashed wide.
Forest broke forward and Krovinovic released Luke Freeman on the left but his shot was deflected wide.
Richards was denied what was looking a certain leveller by a superb goal-saving tackle Ribeiro just as he was about to pull the trigger following a Louie Sibley pass.
Murray – who put in yet another great shift up top – was replaced with Lyle Taylor with 20 minutes left.
Sibley was brilliant for the Rams and he did well doubling up with Lee Buchanan to dispossess Knockaert.
But the clearance only fell as far as Luke Freeman, whose shot sailed over the bar.
But Derby levelled when Lee Gregory’s punt forward hit Kazim-Richards on the back before Tobias Figueiredo made a hash of his clearance.
The ball fell back to Kazim-Richards who thumped home a brilliant goal to earn a share of the spoils – although Gregory could have won it but fired wide from Patrick Roberts’ cutback late on.
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