Paul Peschisolido’s name is etched into Derby County folklore for scoring one of the most unique goals in the club’s history.
The striker scored twice and had a hand in the Rams’ two other goals in a memorable 4-2 victory against Derby’s local rivals Nottingham Forest at Pride Park Stadium on this day in 2004.
Peschisolido was a popular figure during his time with Derby, after arriving at the club in early March 2004 from Sheffield United.
He went on to rack up 103 appearances for the Rams, scoring 24 times, and was part of the side which gained promotion to the Premier League under Billy Davies in 2006/07 prior to leaving on a free transfer in the summer of 2007.
After scoring twice in his first two games for Derby, in a 1-0 win over Rotherham United and a 2-1 loss at Watford, Peschisolido quickly endeared himself to the Rams’ faithful in emphatic style against the Reds.
Midfielder Ian Taylor scored inside four minutes to fire George Burley’s side into an early lead after latching onto a pass from Peschisolido.
Peschisolido then got in on the act just before the half-hour mark in the most bizarre of circumstances.
A clearance from Forest goalkeeper Barry Roche went horribly wrong as the ball took an awkward bounce just as he went to clear his lines.
The bounce itself came from the ball hitting a stray Coffee Cup, which had been blown onto the pitch on a blustery Derbyshire afternoon.
The ball scooped up in the air and fell perfectly to Peschisolido, who had the simple task of tapping the ball into the unguarded net.
Peshisolido made it three before the break as he slotted home with a real element of composure from Marcus Tudgay’s through-ball.
Gareth Taylor and Gareth Williams’ goals did put Forest back in contention, but their hopes were ended by Marcus Tudgay’s goal late on as he lashed home from Peschisolido’s lay-off.
The victory was huge in itself for Derby at that time as they battled against relegation from the second tier under George Burley and, ultimately, they retained their Championship status by a single point.
Looking back on the game, Peschisolido told RamsTV Meets: “I am certainly not one of Forest’s favourite players as I scored quite a few goals against them, not only for Derby but also when I was at Sheffield United.
“The ‘Coffee Cup’ goal was something you couldn’t have ever expected to happen; it was just ridiculous. It was a windy day and there was quite a bit debris on the pitch.
“The build-up was immense for a big game against our local rivals, something like I hadn’t experienced before, and I ended up scoring a goal which was assisted by a coffee cup!”
He added: “Every time I speak to Derby supporters, they talk about that goal. It has gone down in history and I don’t think that sort of thing will happen again.”
Recalling the goal, Peschisolido remembers racing to close Roche down as he prepared to play the ball down field from a pass back by Forest defender Wes Morgan.
As the clearance looped up into the air, he needed no invitation to latch onto the ball and get his name on the scoresheet.
As the Rams supporters went wild, the Canadian’s celebration was somewhat muted as he still found himself in shock at how he was presented with the opportunity to make his mark in the East Midlands derby.
“I remember Marcus Tudgay chased the ball and it was passed back to Barry Roche in the Forest goal,” Peschisolido recalled.
“It was an innocent pass-back so I went after it, like I normally would, and as the goalkeeper leant back and went to kick the ball I noticed it bounced up.
“I think in the end he kicked about 90 per cent of the cup and ten per cent of the ball!
“It looped up in the air and then I had the chance to side-foot the ball into the back of the net.
“If you look back, I didn’t really do much of a celebration; I couldn’t believe what had happened. Normally my shirt would have been off and I would have run into the crowd.”
He added: “I managed to celebrate more with the other goal that day; I enjoyed that goal and it was a nice finish.”
Peschisolido admits that the win over Forest was a huge catalyst in the side remaining in the Championship.
From the following nine games proceeding the victory over their arch-rivals, Derby picked up three wins and two draws.
Those wins all came on home turf against Bradford City, Preston North End and Millwall – but it was the Forest one that stands out for obvious reasons.
Looking back on the season, Peschisolido said: “In a season where we struggled, that was the sort of win that got everyone back on our side again and changed the atmosphere.
“Thankfully we stayed up by the skin of our teeth and looking back, that result was one of the catalysts.
“We were in desperate trouble at the bottom end of the table, so we certainly needed something to push us on. That win did just that.”
Want to know more about Paul Peschisolido’s time at Derby County and his entire playing career? Watch his full RamsTV Meets in the videos above!
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