Derby County took all three points from London with a 1-0 victory over Queens Park Rangers to earn their first back-to-back wins of the season.
Colin Kazim-Richards bagged his fourth goal of the season early on in the second-half when he tapped in at the back post after Kamil Jozwiak’s initial shot was palmed into his path.
The win is the second of the week for Wayne Rooney’s side who remained unchanged after they defeated Bournemouth at Pride Park Stadium on Tuesday night by the same scoreline.
Derby set the tone in the opening stages of the game, playing the majority in the Hoops’ half. Within nine minutes, their first chance fell.
Nathan Byrne made already his second run in behind the backline and sent in a first-time cross from the right. Kazim-Richards jumped towards the delivery in the six-yard box, with plenty of space, but he couldn’t quite get the connection right with his right foot.
It was Derby who were asking all the questions early on, but just ahead of the 20 minute-mark, the R’s came close. After winning the ball back deep in Derby’s half, Todd Kane crossed in from the right to Charlie Austin at the back post. He diverted his free header wide of the mark.
Austin came even closer just five minutes later. Niko Hamalainen crossed in from the left and Lee Buchanan got enough of his head on it to divert the ball backward.
Kane was there again to send the ball back into the box to Austin right in front of goal, but his sweeping effort was met by a instinctive close-range save by Kelle Roos to bat it off the line. Andre Wisdom was able to out-power Lyndon Dykes to send the rebound out.
Moment’s later, Derby were awarded a free-kick and Graeme Shinnie sent the delivery deep and into the area for Matt Clarke to head just over.
After 30 minutes in dominating possession and looking the better side, the Rams hadn’t been able to capitalise and the R’s then readjusted and ended the first half on the front foot and with Chris Willock in particular finding space down the right flank.
However, the Rams’ defence held strong with Andre Wisdom stepping in to clear numerous crosses and the half ended goalless.
The home side came out for the second-half by maintaining the intensity they finished the first with, but ten minutes into the second-half and Derby took the lead as they hit QPR on the counter-attack.
Shinnie powered forward into the Hoops’ half and sent a perfectly timed pass across to Jozwiak. The forward took a touch and ran on to pull the trigger with his right foot across the goal from just inside the area.
Sony Dieng got his fingertips to the effort but pushed the ball into the path of the on-rush Kazim-Richards for the perfect strikers’ goal.
Soon after, the hosts were looking for a way back into the game and Austin was in the perfect position at the back post to receive a dangerous cross. Lee Buchanan was just ahead of him and brilliant defending saw the full-back head backwards and over the frontman.
The resulting corner delivered by Elias Chair was cleared by the Rams, but was met by huge appeals from QPR who thought Kazim-Richards handled the ball, but referee Tim Robinson waved away the appeals.
With just less than 20 minutes left to play, Chair won the ball back on the edge of the area and opted to take aim himself, but sent his effort high and wide.
Roos was called into action again in the 77th minute and pulled off another superb save from close-range. A free-kick was sent into the area and tipped backwards to Yoann Barbet at the back post for an acrobatic over head kick and the Rams’ stopper palmed away with his left hand.
Derby held on for their second consecutive victory and will return home next Saturday to face Bristol City.
Queens Park Rangers: Dieng, Kane, Dickie, Barbet, Dykes (Bonne, 73), Chair, Ball, Cameron (C), Willock (Bettache, 65), Hämäläinen (Adomah, 82), Austin (Kelman, 82).
Substitutes: Lumley, Thomas, Kakay, Duke-McKenna.
Derby County: Roos, Wisdom, Shinnie, Bielik, Jozwiak (McDonald, 86), Byrne, Kazim-Richards, Clarke, Evans (Bird, 45), Buchanan, Knight (C).
Substitutes: Foster, Forsyth, Waghorn, Sibley, Whittaker, Watson, Mitchell-Lawson.