Derby County fall to a 2-1 defeat to Queens Park Rangers in their mid-week trip to the capitol in the Sky Bet Championship.
Phillip Cocu made two changes to the side that drew against Fulham under the lights on Friday night, with Max Lowe replacing Craig Forsyth and Jack Marriott coming in for Jason Knight. Forsyth and Knight were both named as substitutes.
Rangers opened the scoring midway through the first half when their captain Grant Hall swept in from close range.
The Rams equalised minutes before the break when Max Bird’s corner was headed in by Martyn Waghorn for the striker’s 12th goal of the season.
QPR claimed all the points with 15 minutes to go through Ilias Chair who came off the bench and struck low into the back of the net.
Both sides had good chances to open the scoring in the opening ten minutes of the game with the Rams coming close after just three minutes from the first of Bird’s dangerous corners. Max Lowe made a un down the left before the ball was put out of play. The young midfielder whipped the corner into the area to find a free Matt Clarke, but the defender’s half-volley flew inches over the cross bar.
The home side’s pressure in the Derby half almost lead to the Hoops’ first goal as Bright Osayi-Samuel won the ball back by the half-way line and Jordan Hugill drove forward down the right side before crossing over to Ebere Eze to strike from the edge of the box directly into the hands of Ben Hamer.
Two more chances fell for the Rams midway through the half, both times just the wrong side of the crossbar. First, Wayne Rooney sent a strong ball through into the area towards Tom Lawrence and Rangers’ defender Ryan Manning slide in before the winger could meet it to send the ball just over.
Ten minutes after, Lowe rushed in to help out Lawrence on the left flank, who was tightly defended by two markers, and the full-back won the ball back and strode forward. He fired across goal towards Waghorn at the back post who sent the ball too high.
Despite Derby’s better chances, it was the Hoops who found the lead in the 34th minute. Geoff Cameron crossed in form the left and Hall initially ducked at the near side of the six-yard box for the ball to hit Clarke. The rebound fell back to Hall who had turned to face the goal to sweep in the opener.
Derby levelled the score two minutes before half-time from a set-piece. Bird sent his corner into the box and Waghorn flicked his headed effort off the inside of the far post and into the net.
The home side’s lead was extended on the 75-minute mark when Eze intercepted Rooney’s pass along the half-way line and burst down the middle of the pitch. He fed out to Chair who stuck a powerful, low shot past Hamer just two minutes after coming off the bench.
With ten minutes left to play. Derby were awarded a free-kick just outside the area when Lawrence was pulled back after losing his first man. Rooney stepped up and his effort glanced just above the crossbar.
The Rams had one final chance in added time when Kelly punched away the ball, but it only reached Andre Wisdom in the box. He sent it back in front of the goal and Lawrence’s shot was deflected inches wide. A goalmouth scramble ensured from the resulting corner but the Derby players couldn’t get it over the line.
Queens Park Rangers: Kelly; Kane, Hall, Barbet, Manning; Ball, Cameron; Osayi-Samuel, Eze, Pugh (Chair, 73); Hugill (Clarke, 62)
Unused Subs: Lumley, Wallace, Amos, Oteh, Masterson
Derby County: Hamer; Wisdom, Davies (Bogle, 71) Clarke, Lowe; Bird, Shinnie (Whittaker, 79); Waghorn, Rooney, Lawrence; Marriott (Martin, 71)
Unused Subs: Roos, Forsyth, Knight, Malone