Derby County 1-2 QPR: Andre Gray scores goal of the season contender as QPR go third
Andre Gray of Queens Park Rangers celebrates after he scores during the Sky Bet Championship match between Derby County and Queens Park Rangers at Pride Park Stadium on November 29, 2021 in Derby, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Chris Willock and Andre Gray helped Queens Park Rangers’ promotion hopes as they came from behind against Derby County to move into the top three in the Sky Bet Championship.

Mark Warburton named an unchanged team from the QPR team that picked up a 1-0 win over Huddersfield Town in their previous Championship fixture. Stefan Johansen captained the away side 

The hosts fielded a side that only featured one change. Ravel Morrison replaced Festy Ebosele from their 0-0 draw with top-of-the-table Fulham last week. Festy Ebosele dropped to the bench after struggling with cramp in previous games. Tom Lawrence captained the Rams for this Monday night clash under the lights.

  • Story of the match

The new Derby owner Chris Kirchner was in attendance for this one and would have been pleased with the Rams’ start to the game. In the first minute Nathan Byrne found space on the right hand side - which led to an acute ball to the edge of the area - leading to Graeme Shinnie misfiring Derby’s first shot of the game wide.

QPR might have felt they should have been awarded a penalty in the first 10 minutes - after Albert Adomah's cross was scrambled out with a potential foul in the box - yet no decision was given.

However, it was Derby who made their fast start count as Shinnie once again found a defence splitting ball that skipper Tom Lawrence powered home to opposition ‘keeper Seny Dieng's top right corner.

The visitors' first chance came on the 16th minute courtesy of the ever ready Adomah who tested Kelle Roos, the follow-up chance being petered out through a foul.

Controversy struck before the whistle for half-time went as Kelle Roos managed to keep the ball in his box after a run from Ilias Chair. The Derby County man got the benefit of the doubt.

QPR were the team that had the most possession during the first half but it was the link-up of Shinnie and Lawrence that grabbed the first half headlines.

The second half started with a reverse of roles as the Rams dominated possession while QPR decided to play a counter attacking style. It seemed the way to score a goal in the first 50 minutes of the game was to play counter attack.

QPR were rewarded inside the first nine minutes of the half as a swift counter attack - followed by a delicate cross to the back post - led to Chris Willock slotting home inside the penalty area to level the game.

Ilias Chair came close to putting the away side infront as Roos came rushing out in desperation to clear. Fortunately for the Derby glovesman his blushes were saved as the ball was able to be cleared, as he retreated back in panic.

As both sides looked for a winner as the clock struck 70 minutes, Ilias Chair got ahead of Forsyth, but the former Stevenage man failed to finish from close range as he saw his chance go over the bar.

Substitute Andre Gray replaced pantomime villain for the night, Charlie Austin. The former Watford striker put the ball in the back of the net minutes after coming on, however, the referee had blown up for offside seconds before.

Mark Warburton's side looked for a penalty shout as Jimmy Dunne seemed to be brought down, the referee yet again thinking nothing of the decision and waving the game on.

The winner came with only two minutes left of normal time and it sunk the hearts of the Derby faithful who would have hoped to hold onto a vital point.

Andre Gray was the man who found himself in the right place at the right time - after Ilias Chair's header ricocheted off the post to him from a previous Chris Willock cross - the Jamaican international hit a beautiful volley on the spin , a shot unstoppable for the Derby ‘keeper.

Heartbreak for Derby leaves them at the foot of the table, while the late winner sees QPR move up into third in the Championship table.

  • Takeaways 

       Ilias Chair is destined for the Premier League stage 

Andre Gray and Chris Willock will both steal the headlines but, Ilias Chair continued to live up to the hype surrounding him. The movement he provided for his side even at the times that they were struggling was second to none, the way he moves is resemblement of Eden Hazard. The way that QPR are going at this stage in the season, it might not be long till we see Chair on the big stage.

  • Man of the match

Chris Willock - QPR

Willock was excellent throughout the game. He helped the fightback in the game, grabbing an equaliser as he continues his red hot form. He found himself involved in the winner as his cross found its way eventually to Gray who found the back of the net with a superb strike.