The hosts began well but found themselves behind on the half-hour mark when Chris Cohen slotted home at the second attempt.
Below, Sports Mole goes over an enjoyable match at Pride Park.
On target 9
On target 2
Was the result fair?
Both sets of players and fans will feel that their team should have walked away with three points and therefore it was a fair result. There was plenty of openings at either end and both sides enjoyed spells of dominance.
The Rams got off to a flying start and looked like the only team possible of scoring until Simon Cox rattled the crossbar. Forest took the lead minutes later and then looked the better side. Derby came out resurgently after half time and didn't take long to level.
Encouraging for new boss McLeish in his first East Midlands derby. His side were on the back foot early but came back into it and could easily have won the match in the dying stages.
Sports Mole's man of the match
Billy Sharp: The award could have gone to either Sharp or strike partner Cox. The pair were lively all game and caused Mark O'Brien and Richard Keogh plenty of problems.
When Simon Gillett dilly-dallied on the ball for a second too long, Conor Sammon stole the ball and fed Ward to equalise.
No tough decisions for Mark Clattenburg and he handled a couple of handbag moments calmly in the first half.
Derby: The Rams welcome fellow Championship side Blackburn to Pride Park in the FA Cup a week today.
Forest: Forest, meanwhile, return to the City Ground for a league game against Watford.