Colin Kazim-Richards’ early strike in the second-half was enough to give Derby County a big three points against QPR on Saturday afternoon in the Sky Bet Championship.
Mark Warburton and Wayne Rooney named unchanged teams from their respective midweek wins and perhaps, with that in mind and with both looking over their shoulder in the table, we were served rather cagey fayre.
The first chance in an opening half of few openings came for the away side.
Nathan Byrne had enjoyed some early freedom down the right and managed to loop a cross into the box. Colin Kazim-Richards was free having lost the back-line of Geoff Cameron, Rob Dickie and Yoann Barbet but could not convert.
As the ball came in, he simply missed it allowing it to bounce away from him in what would prove the golden chance of the first-half.
Indeed, the Rams wouldn’t see much else in front of goal, though they had a fair share of the possession, with Kamil Jozwiak blazing over late on in the half.
For QPR, meanwhile, the best two chances they could speak of fell for the man they would have hoped to have been on the end of them; Charlie Austin.
First, just before the 20-minute mark, he’d nod wide at the far post after a deep Todd Kane cross – though it probably didn’t have the power to bother Kelle Roos too much had it been on target.
Five minutes later, though, he did give Roos something to do. Kane, QPR’s best player in the half, again turned the ball into the box and Austin was there at the near post this time, flicking a shot towards goal. Roos would get down to it, however, and Lyndon Dykes could only force the ball over as he bundled in towards it.
The first half at times, then, was enough to send an onlooker to sleep and it was the QPR defence that were caught napping early on in the second half to let Derby bag the opening goal.
Kamil Jozwiak broke free of Niko Hamalainen down the right-hand side and, after a good spot and pass from Graeme Shinnie, was played through on goal.
Seny Dieng did well to get a hand to his low drive but the ‘keeper was left all alone by his QPR defenders, with Colin Kazim-Richards presented with bags of time to tap home into an open net. It was his second big chance of the game and, this time, he made no mistake.
QPR chances were few and far between, meanwhile, with Todd Kane and Ilias Chair having efforts blocked on the edge of the box, whilst huge shouts for a handball just before the 70-minute mark did not yield the penalty the Hoops’ players were calling for.
Later on, Ilias Chair drove just wide from the edge of the box, whilst Yoann Barbet’s fine overhead kick was saved well by Kelle Roos down to the goalkeeper’s left as QPR looked for a leveller.
One would not come, however, as Derby stood firm to earn a big three points at the bottom end of the table and really close things up in the standings.