Derby 3-1 West Brom: Rams secure Championship play-off spot
Derby will play Leeds in the Sky Bet Championship play-offs
Last Updated: 05/05/19 4:53pm
Derby beat Middlesbrough to the final play-off spot in the Sky Bet Championship with a deserved 3-1 win over West Brom.
Martyn Waghorn eased Derby nerves early on with a fine header from an excellent Jayden Bogle cross, but the Rams let West Brom back into the game when Stefan Johansen produced a sublime equaliser minutes into the second half.
Pride Park was a cauldron of tension as news circulated that Middlesbrough were beating Rotherham, but substitute Mason Bennett put Derby back in the lead with a well-taken finish from close range, before Harry Wilson secured the win from the penalty spot.
Frank Lampard's Derby will now play Leeds United in the play-off semi-final of the Sky Bet Championship play-offs.
The visitors were already assured of a play-off spot, and will face rivals Aston Villa for a place at Wembley. The Baggies will be without Hal Robson-Kanu after he was sent off in stoppage time.
Waghorn calmed the nerves of the home fans after 19 minutes when he headed Jayden Bogle's fine cross from the right into the bottom corner for his 13th goal of the season.
West Brom created plenty of chances to level, with a well-worked free-kick after half an hour seeing Murphy cut the ball back to Dwight Gayle, who inexplicably fired wide from eight yards.
Championship play-off schedule
|Saturday 11 May||12.30pm||1st Leg||Aston Villa vs West Brom|
|Saturday 11 May||5.15pm||1st Leg||Derby vs Leeds|
|Tuesday 14 May||8pm||2nd Leg||West Brom vs Aston Villa|
|Wednesday 15 May||7.45pm||2nd Leg||Leeds vs Derby|
Just two minutes after half-time the visitors did draw level. Rodriguez played the ball in from the left and Johansen powered a left-footed effort into the far corner from 12 yards.
Derby almost hit back instantly, with substitute David Nugent denied by Johnstone inside the six-yard box.
Mason Mount then saw a vicious 30-yard effort palmed away by Johnstone, Malone's drive from the corner of the box had to be clawed away and Duane Holmes fired wide as the hosts enjoyed their best spell of the game.
The Rams restored their advantage 20 minutes from time. Nugent's clever backheel played in Lawrence, and his effort deflected into the path of Bennett to apply the finish.
Wilson added a third from the penalty spot after 72 minutes when Kyle Bartley brought down Lawrence in the area.
Frank Lampard: "A little bit of relief but more elation. In the context of there's work to be done and we haven't won anything.
"Pride is probably the main emotion, to see the team play from 1-1 onwards, with the quality and the work rate and the calm nature to play the football we played.
"We need to try and carry that momentum - we'll be underdogs because we came sixth. There's a reason we've finished points behind Leeds, Villa and West Brom.
"The run-in has been good for us, so let's go into it with no fear and try and upset a few people. I'll plan to play the Leeds side that have been really strong all season.
"The cup atmosphere the play-offs bring can throw recent form out.
"I won't plan that they're in bad form, I'll plan for Leeds who beat us well and looked at Christmas like they were going to win the league."
James Shan: "After they scored the third our level of application and work ethic was not acceptable. However we dress up what's happened today, it's not the business end.
"There were some honest assessments from the players in there. There's no excuse now.
"We're going to have to play a lot better than that if we're going to have some success against Aston Villa."