Derby boss Nigel Clough was surprised his reduced team came from behind to win 2-1 at Nottingham Forest after having keeper Frank Fielding dismissed in the second minute. The host's scored from the resulting penalty but Derby rallied to level before the break then score the winner in the second half to heap more pressure on Forest boss Steve McClaren.
"In the context of the moment, coming off the back of consecutive defeats and wanting to stay in the top six and against the adversity of the opening two minutes, I thought it was an absolutely remarkable performance - staggering," said Clough.
"It was beyond what we could have expected. I would have taken a draw at any point during the game.
"Honesty, hard work, spirit and a lot of character - we are a close group and we have all that in abundance all the way through the team.
"For 10-15 minutes after the red card we got some composure and settled and looked relatively comfortable up to half-time. But to a man, including the substitutes we used, and even Russell Anderson coming on for the final few minutes was vital, we were superb, incredible."
On the penalty decision, Clough added: "I haven't seen it. It just seemed to be more of a collision than anything else.
"He's not going round the goalkeeper or anything like that so it's difficult to say without seeing it."
The manner of Derby's equaliser in the 29th minute was just as dramatic as the opening goal with a Forest playing down injured the visitor's played-on and equalised.
Clough said: "It's not our job to stop play. You are told from five years old to play to the whistle and that is what we did.
"If the referee wants to stop it or feels like he should then he will do that. But let's not take anything away from Jamie Ward because it was an absolutely brilliant individual goal."
Forest boss Steve McClaren, who is still looking for his first npower Championship victory at the City Ground, agreed with Clough but was critical of his players' defending.
"I wouldn't have stopped, I would have played on," said McClaren.
"That decision is up to the referee. I don't expect any favours.
"But I also didn't expect us to switch off. To allow Ward to travel nearly 50 yards and skip by two challenges and slide the ball in from where he did was unacceptable.
"When you look at our record we are conceding too many goals and that is a major problem we need to sort very quickly.
"Our weakness is our defending and it has been exposed and we need to address that both on and off the field. We need clean sheets and we need to become hard to beat because at the moment we are not."