Derby 1-0 QPR: Matej Vydra hits second-half winner
By Simeon Gholam
Last Updated: 03/04/17 12:25am
Matej Vydra struck a second-half winner as Derby kept their slim play-off hopes alive with a 1-0 win over QPR in the Sky Bet Championship on Friday night.
The Czech Republic forward converted from close range with 20 minutes to go at Pride Park to take the Rams to within six points of Sheffield Wednesday in sixth, although they've played a game more.
It was a first home match for new Derby boss Garry Rowett and, while it was far from a classic performance from his side, he would have been delighted to add a victory to the draw he got in his first game against Nottingham Forest before the international break.
QPR were the form team in the Championship ahead of their trip to the Midlands, but Ian Holloway's side provided very little attacking threat throughout the 90 minutes.
Derby dominated the first half but there were very few chances to speak of, with Alex Smithies only being tested once in the QPR goal to keep out a David Nugent strike from a tight angle after 29 minutes. Although the former England striker really should have crossed for a team-mate instead.
The Rams continued to pressure QPR in the second half, but struggled to break a backline that had been impressively set up by Holloway, while the home side often lacked quality when they reached the final third.
Finally, though, in the 70th minute, the deadlock was broken. But it took an error by Smithies for it to come about, as the QPR goalkeeper spilled Tom Ince's shot into the path of Vydra, who didn't need a second invitation to slam the ball into the net from close range.
It took until the 88th minute for QPR to test Scott Carson in the Derby goal as he tipped Matt Smith's shot from the edge of the area round the post. And the away side could have nicked a point from the resulting corner, as substitute Idrissa Sylla rose unmarked in the area but saw his header hit the post.
Derby boss Garry Rowett:
"I thought we started a little bit tentatively, which you can understand. But after about 15 minutes we started to have more belief, I liked the way we controlled the game even when things didn't work well.
"When we moved the ball quickly we looked good, and for them to score so late would have been a travesty. We really dominated the evening."
QPR boss Ian Holloway:
"I'm just really disappointed. That didn't look anything like us of late. I thought we started okay, but then for some reason decided to hit it towards Matt Smith far too many times. Then we didn't actually push in to win the knockdowns in the first place.
"We had a great run, but we've been beaten by the better team. We gave it away far too many times, their pressing second half was very good and I thought they looked a very good side, which they are. But we'll have to take it on the chin ahead of Aston Villa on Tuesday."