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Derby County 1-2 QPR: Andre Gray scores stunning winner as in-form R's beat Rams


Andre Gray scores for QPR
Andre Gray (left) gave Derby keeper Kelle Roos no chance with his fine volley on the turn

A stunning 90th-minute finish from substitute Andre Gray propelled Queens Park Rangers up to third in the Championship with victory over a spirited Derby County.

With his back to goal, Gray turned and smashed home the winner with Rams goalkeeper Kelle Roos rooted to the spot.

On a night of brilliant goals, Tom Lawrence lashed Derby in front on 10 minutes before Chris Willock’s volley brought the R’s level five minutes into the second half.

Ilias Chair and Yoann Barbet wasted excellent chances to put QPR in front before Gray’s wonderful volley, after Chair’s header had rebounded to him off the post.

The victory – R’s boss Mark Warburton’s 50th in charge – lifts them up to third, seven points behind second-placed Bournemouth.

Wayne Rooney’s Rams stay bottom – after the end of their mini-revival of three matches unbeaten – with one point, 19 from safety following their combined 21-point deduction for breaches of English Football League accounting rules and going into administration.

Watched on again at a chilly Pride Park by prospective new owner Chris Kirchner, the Rams started brightly and came close to testing R’s goalkeeper Seny Dieng inside the opening 30 seconds when Graeme Shinnie’s cross-shot agonisingly evaded the outstretched boot of Lawrence.

It wasn’t long though before top-scorer Lawrence, whose two goals helped seal Derby’s thrilling comeback-win against Bournemouth in their last home game, again showed his prowess in front of goal with a brilliant finish to give the Rams the lead on 10 minutes.

Sent clear of QPR’s high defensive line by Shinnie’s gorgeous pass from inside the centre circle, Lawrence motored clear of Rob Dickie and Jimmy Dunne to rifle the ball into the top right-hand corner of the net from just inside the box for his fifth goal of the season and 50th of his career.

The R’s rise into the play-off picture has been fuelled by an excellent run in November, winning 10 points from a possible 12 coming into the match, but despite lots of possession, especially down the flanks, they struggled to create any clear-cut chances in the first half an hour.

But with eight minutes remaining in the first half they should’ve levelled when Charlie Austin rose unchallenged to meet Chair’s pinpoint free-kick from the right but planted his header high over the bar.

The home side’s hopes of maintaining their first-half momentum after the break were dashed on 50 minutes by a ruthless QPR counter-attack from a cheap Derby turnover, as Chair released Austin down left and his perfect cross was superbly side-footed into the top corner on the volley by a back-peddling Willock.

Scoring for the 31st game in a row buoyed the visitors and they came forward with much more threat. Chair should have put the R’s in front inside the last 20 minutes but put his diving header from Willock’s cross over from 12 yards.

Barbet was then denied at the near post by Roos as the ball fell to the French defender on the corner of the six-yard box following a Willock corner.

QPR’s confidence always suggested they would get another chance and Gray, on as a 76th-minute substitute after a three-week absence through injury, delivered a finish of the highest quality.

As Chair’s header cannoned back off the post and looped over his shoulder Gray, with his back to goal 10 yards out, controlled the ball on his right thigh, flicked it up with his right boot and, in one turn, lashed the ball high into the top corner past a helpless Roos.

Line-ups

Derby

Formation 4-3-3

  • 21Roos
  • 2Byrne
  • 6Jagielka
  • 33Davies
  • 3Forsyth
  • 42Thompson
  • 8Bird
  • 4ShinnieSubstituted forEboseleat 79′minutes
  • 38KnightSubstituted forKazim-Richardsat 79′minutes
  • 11MorrisonSubstituted forJózwiakat 69′minutes
  • 10Lawrence

Substitutes

  • 7Józwiak
  • 13Kazim-Richards
  • 16Stearman
  • 17Sibley
  • 31Allsop
  • 35Watson
  • 36Ebosele

QPR

Formation 3-4-1-2

  • 1Dieng
  • 4Dickie
  • 20Dunne
  • 6Barbet
  • 37Adomah
  • 7Johansen
  • 17Dozzell
  • 3WallaceSubstituted forOdubajoat 53′minutes
  • 10Chair
  • 11AustinSubstituted forGrayat 76′minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 21WillockSubstituted forFieldat 90+3′minutes

Substitutes

  • 8Amos
  • 12Ball
  • 13Archer
  • 14Thomas
  • 15Field
  • 19Gray
  • 22Odubajo

Referee:
Jeremy Simpson

Attendance:
20,003

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