Derby County welcomed QPR at the Pride Park Stadium in an EFL Championship fixture last night. Derby hoped to continue their mini-revival after draws against Millwall and Fulham and a huge 3-2 win against Bournemouth. But a late Andre Gray stunner broke Derby’s heart and will keep them at the bottom of the table with only one point.
Queens Park Rangers have been enjoying a purple patch of form. They are now six games unbeaten, winning the last three games on the spin. This victory against a wounded but resistant Derby side puts them 3rd on the table. The Hoops are now 7 points behind the direct promotion spot.
Late Andre Grey winner seals victory for QPR
Derby County had a lively start to the game and came close to scoring early on inside the first minute as Graeme Shinnie’s low cross/shot almost fell into the feet of Lawrence who was through on goal.
10 minutes into the game, Derby’s Graeme Shinnie and Lawrence combined again to give Derby an early lead. Shinnie’s wonderful through ball sliced open the QPR defence and put Lawrence one on one against the QPR keeper. Lawrence made no mistake and struck a thunderous strike into the top corner. This was his 5th goal of the season.
Against the run of play, QPR caught Derby on the break in the 50th minute. Charlie Austin runs into space down the left-hand side and picks out Willock who is unmarked on the far post. Willock finished beautifully with a side-foot volley past the Derby keeper Keele Roos, who could do nothing about it.
QRP squandered a decent opportunity to take the lead when Willock put a cross in from the left flank again, only for Chair to put his diving header over the bar.
In the 91st minute of the game, QPR snatched a late winner. QPR were on the break as Derby struggled to get men back in time. Chair headed a cross from the right flank against the post which rebounded towards the substitute Gray. With his back towards the goal, Gray took two touches to control the ball and hit an exquisite volley on the turn which flew past Keele Roos. Sealing a thrilling victory for the Hoops.
Derby were in control in the first half and took the lead into halftime. QPR enjoyed the majority of the possession in the first half but struggled to put together any decent chances to test the Rams goalkeeper.
Any momentum that Derby had in the first half, vanished early on in the second half by Willock’s equalizer. QPR became much more dangerous in the attacking third and Derby failed to contain the Hoops attackers. There was only one team that looked like scoring and it was the away side. And the 76th-minute substitution of Andre Gray in place of Charlie Austin proved to be vital in the outcome of the game. It was an entertaining game that offered three quality goals with some very late drama.
Managers post match reactions
We started very well even before we scored, on the front foot. We scored the goal and we dropped back too quickly, didn’t get the press right like we worked on.I said to the lads at half-time the warning signs are there, we had to wake up, we had to be better. We were giving the ball away too easily. It’s a tough one to take but I think we got what we deserved.Derby Manager Wayne Rooney talking to BBC sports.
We let ourselves down in the first half with a soft goal and what we had to do was step it up in the second half, and we did that. The finishes showed quality. The equaliser was a good quality goal and Andre’s reaction and the quality was outstanding. We had absolute respect for Derby who had a big result against Bournemouth and kept a clean sheet against Fulham. We had to meet a stern challenge tonight and I think we did that. All credit to them.QPR Manager Mark Warburton talking to BBC Sports.
What next for Derby County and QPR?
Derby County are now 19 points behind the safety and it will take a miracle for them to survive relegation to the League 1 of English football next season. Manager Wayne Rooney will take some relief from the fact that they have lost only two of their last ten games. Their next game will be against 18th placed Bristol City.
The victory against Derby County sends QPR 3rd on the table. It puts them closer to cementing their place into the knock-off stages and even possible challenges for direct promotion. They play their next game against 6th place Stoke City.
Follow us on Twitter for regular Football updates.