Despite two heavy defeats to their opponents during this campaign, Hull City came through when it mattered most.
An opener from Abel Hernandez, an own-goal off the head of Jason Shackell, and a last-second cherry on top by Andrew Robinson have put the Tigers in firm control of the Championship playoff semifinal with a 3-0 win at Pride Park Stadium, and likely on to Wembley.
Hull City made something out of nothing to get things started when Abel Hernandez found a way through and sliced a low shot from outside the box past Derby goalkeeper Scott Carson for the opener just past the half-hour mark.
The goal is the first Hull has managed against Derby this season, having lost 4-0 and 2-0 in both their regular season meetings.
The visitors would find another before halftime, as Derby was very unlucky to go 2-0 down. A cross from Moses Odubajo clipped the leg of his defender Marcus Olsson, then deflected off the head of Jason Shackell and into the back of the net.
As the game moved through the second half, Derby seemed to have little to offer in front of net, and Hull City pushed for a third. Robert Snodgrass came close on a free-kick past the hour mark, but it was headed behind for a corner by Shackell. Hull goalkeeper Eldin Jakupovic was called into action in the 71st minute as he punched away a cross by Cyrus Christie, and the follow-up from Craig Bryson swerved acres wide of the net.
Having been second-best the full 90 minutes, Derby conceded once more just ticks before the final whistle. A Derby corner kick devolved into a counter-attack for the visitors, where Odubajo fed Robertson, and finding no other options, he had a go at the bottom corner and found it eight minutes into added time.