Matej Vydra capped off his ‘special season’ by lifting the golden boot and helping Derby County extend their season to the Sky Bet Championship play-offs.
It has been a campaign to remember for the Czech Republic international, so it is fitting that he claimed his 21st league goal of the season, the most in his career, in the final clash at Pride Park Stadium.
Before the match, Vydra was level with Aston Villa’s Lewis Grabban to have one hand on the golden boot, but with the addition on today’s goal he lifted the trophy as the outright winner.
Cameron Jerome handed Vydra a superb ball for an easy tap-in. His goal tally is the most for a Derby player since Bobby Davison scored 24 in the 1984/85 season.
Despite his latest accolade, Derby’s No.23 insists it was a whole team effort to achieve their play-off aim.
Speaking after the game, Vydra told RamsTV: “It has been a special season for me, I broke my record from my time at Watford and it is a special moment for me.
“We are in the play-offs and I won the golden boot, but it’s not only my performance, it was the performance of the team all season and now we have to be focused on the semi-finals.”
The scoring seemed to cause a knock-on effect as the team pulled together to shut Barnsley down and condemn them to relegation.
Jerome scored his fourth goal in three games before setting up Vydra, who then went on to provide David Nugent with the ball to head in.
Nugent then had the cross that lead to Lawrence getting the fourth and final Derby goal.
After gifting Vydra so many assists throughout the season to bump up his total, the 26-year-old was pleased he could finally return the favour.
“I passed to him so many times in a great position but finally he scored in the final game,” he said.
“This game was special for me, Cammy and Nugent because we all scored and we all got assists. It was a great afternoon for us and it will be a tough time for the gaffer picking the team for the next game because of that!”
With the 4-1 victory in the final clash in the Sky Bet Championship, the Rams’ now moves on to the play-offs.
Derby’s sixth place finish in the league means they will face third-placed Fulham over two legs, starting on Friday night at Pride Park Stadium before heading to Craven Cottage on Monday.
Fulham were pushing for automatic promotion but crumbled, falling 3-1 to Birmingham City on the last day.
With Derby’s confidence brimming, following two wins and a draw to end the season, Vydra hopes that can give them an edge over the disheartened Cottagers.
“It will be tough but I hope that our confidence will help us to beat Fulham,” Vydra said.
“Maybe they will be disappointed because they lost the last game and were so close to promotion. I hope this one will be for us and we do it.”