Full-time: Jamie Ward makes short-lived scoring return to earn Derby County point at Charlton Athletic
A JAMIE Ward penalty earned Derby County a 1-1 with with Charlton Athletic in their final game of 2012.
Ward equalised from the post in the 71st minute shortly after coming on following three months out with a hamstring injury.
Michael Morrison, who gave away the penalty, was sent off for a second bookable offence for Charlton, who had taken a first-half lead through Danny Haynes' stunning strike.
Ward's return to action was sadly short-lived, though, as he hobbled off soon after scoring.
Derby boss Nigel Clough made four changes to his starting line-up.
Strikers Theo Robinson and Nathan Tyson were recalled, while midfielder Ben Davies was handed his first start of the season as player of the year Craig Bryson (knee) missed out through injury, with Conor Sammon and Michael Jacobs dropping to the bench.
Elsewhere, James O'Connor came back in at centre-half in place of Mark O'Brien, who has been struggling with back and groin problems.
Former Derby defender Chris Powell made five changes to his Charlton side following the 2-1 home defeat to Ipswich Town.
Ex-Rams striker Rob Hulse had to settle for a place on the bench.
The match went ahead following an early morning pitch inspection and the heavy rain forecast largely stayed away ahead of kick-off.
Derby started well and controlled possession and territory in the opening stages.
Davies' 10th-minute free kick was tipped over by home keeper Ben Hamer.
O'Connor and Tyson then headed wide from Davies' set piece deliveries into the box.
Charlton had offered nothing going forward until the 20th minute, when they took the lead in spectacular style.
Haynes combined well with Yann Kermorgant before picking the ball up again on the left.
He cut inside and unleashed an unstoppable shot from 25 yards, which flew into the top corner, leaving Adam Legzdins virtually rooted to the spot.
Derby went close three minutes later when Paul Coutts robbed Cedric Evina and his low cross was met in the middle by Robinson but Hamer was able to push the ball away to safety.
Goal-scorer Haynes pulled up injured with 10 minutes of the first half remaining and had to be replaced by Bradley Wright-Phillips.
While the hosts were momentarily down to 10 men, Tyson burst through from Robinson's pass but Hamer was out quickly to block his low shot.
Davies curled a free kick straight at Hamer and Will Hughes sent a dipping effort narrowly over the bar.
At the other end, Morrison glanced a header wide from a good position.
And, in the 45th minute, Johnnie Jackson released Wright-Phillips who, under pressure from Richard Keogh, saw his shot blocked by Legzdins.
For the second half, Clough moved John Brayford to central defence, with O'Connor switching to right-back.
This time, it was Charlton who were quick out of the blocks.
Evina's shot was tipped over by Legzdins before Dale Stephens volleyed over.
Then, Stephens rolled a free kick from the left to Jackson, whose deflected first-time effort was beaten away by the keeper.
The Rams were forcing plenty of corners but Charlton were defended stoutly and almost doubled their lead on the counter attack after 67 minutes.
Kermorgant's centre found Bradley Pritchard unmarked 10 yards out but his shot came back off the underside of the crossbar and landed in the grateful arms of Legzdins.
Derby made the most of this let-off as they were awarded a penalty with 20 minutes remaining.
Morrison was adjudged to have hauled down Brayford in the box following a corner - the defender also dismissed for a second booking.
Ward, who had just replaced the injured Hughes, stepped up and sent Hamer the wrong way with virtually his first touch.
Now with the numerical advantage, Derby pushed for a winner.
Hamer produced a fine double save to deny Robinson and substitute Sammon in the 73rd minute.
Ward had to be replaced by Jacobs in the closing stages.
There was still time for the Rams to almost win it, in the 84th minute, but Brayford's header from a Coutts corner struck the foot of the post.
GOALS: Haynes (20) 1-0; Ward pen (71) 1-1.
CHARLTON ATHLETIC: Hamer, Solly, Cort, Morrison, Evina, Wilson, Pritchard, Stephens (Dervite, 73), Jackson, Haynes (Wright-Phillips, 36), Kermorgant (Fuller, 86). Other subs: Sullivan (gk), Kerkar, Hulse, Wagstaff.
DERBY COUNTY: Legzdins, Brayford, O'Connor, Keogh, Roberts, Coutts, Hughes (Ward, 69 (Jacobs, 84)), Hendrick, Davies, Tyson (Sammon, 65), Robinson. Other subs: Fielding (gk), O'Brien, Freeman, Doyle.
REFEREE: C Boyeson (East Yorkshire).
BOOKINGS: Rams - Hughes (6) foul on Pritchard; Keogh (42) foul on Kermorgant; O'Connor (54) foul on Pritchard. Charlton - Morrison (9) foul on Hughes; Morrison (70) foul on Brayford; Hamer (78) dissent.
SENT OFF: Charlton - Morrison (70) second bookable offence.