Rowett dis­plays touch of Pride

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Wil­liam As­ton

GARY Rowett clearly feels right at home at Derby County as he won his first match at Pride Park.

In his Derby man­age­rial de­but, Rowett could only watch on as ri­vals Not­ting­ham For­est snatched a 2-2 draw with a 94thminute equaliser be­fore the in­ter­na­tional break.

But on Fri­day night there was no late heartache, as Matej Vy­dra struck with 20 min­utes left to lift the Rams to vic­tory in the for­mer Birm­ing­ham boss’ first home game in charge since tak­ing over from Steve McClaren.

“I am re­ally pleased,” said Rowett. “I think af­ter the For­est game when we had the points snatched away from us so cru­elly late on, for us to build on some of the good bits from that was re­ally im­por­tant.

“That is why I picked the same team. I de­lib­er­ated in the week, I won­dered whether we might need an ex­tra mid­fielder in for a lit­tle bit more con­trol but I felt from a learn­ing prospec­tive I’d give them the chance to go again.

“First ten min­utes we were a bit ten­ta­tive and not go­ing with enough in­ten­sity.

“We had worked a lot on switch­ing play and get­ting the ball out the other side, and that is when you can step into lit­tle pock­ets of space

“I thought we started to do that re­ally well. We cre­ated lots of chances first half – Johnny Rus­sell got into some great po­si­tions and he was frus­trated with him­self at half-time and said he should have scored a hat-trick.

“But the lads stuck at it, the men­tal­ity was fan­tas­tic and we got the goal we thor­oughly de­served.”

QPR ar­rived at Pride Park in fine fet­tle, hav­ing lost just one of their pre­vi­ous seven games, but the home side dom­i­nated the first half, with Rus­sell fizzing a shot wide and fail­ing to head home a Chris Baird cross from the right.

Rus­sell then turned provider and his cross found David Nu­gent, but the striker’s shot was beaten away by QPR goal­keeper Alex Smithies.

Rus­sell glanced an­other header wide and he threat­ened again in the sec­ond half, as his low shot was blocked be­fore a flick-on was headed be­hind per­ilously close to the goal-line by James Perch.

But just as it looked like Derby would be frus­trated, a Tom Ince de­flected ef­fort was pushed into the path of Vy­dra by Smithies and the Czech made no mis­take from six yards out for his third goal in four games.

Light­ning al­most struck twice for Derby and Rowett as QPR nearly equalised in the 88th minute, but Scott Car­son su­perbly tipped Matt Smith’s low shot around the post af­ter the big striker had turned on the edge of the box.

From the cor­ner, sub­sti­tute Idrissa Sylla was pre­sented with a free header six yards out but his ef­fort came back off a post.

There was one more scare for Derby in added time, as Smith glanced a header wide from Ryan Man­ning’s cross, but QPR boss Ian Hol­loway ad­mit­ted the hosts de­served the three points.

“I thought the best team won on the night, to be hon­est,” said Hol­loway.

“I was dis­ap­pointed with our ef­fort. We started OK but the longer the game went on the bet­ter Derby got and the worse we got.

“We didn’t give as good an ac­count as we have been do­ing and that was largely down to the or­gan­i­sa­tion, the press­ing and the clos­ing of Gary’s team.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

WIN­NER: Derby County’s Matej Vy­dra scores and cel­e­brates, in­set

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