Derby County 2 QPR 4
JIM Magilton has already reintroduced flowing football and goal threat to the QPR side. Now you can add old-fashioned bottle to that list. It s a long time since any Rangers team, trailing 2-0 away from home, displayed the kind of character and confidence
JIM Magilton has already reintroduced flowing football and goal threat to the QPR side. Now you can add old-fashioned bottle to that list.
It's a long time since any Rangers team, trailing 2-0 away from home, displayed the kind of character and confidence that Magilton's men used to dismantle Derby on Saturday.
Once they drew level, within 90 seconds of the start of the second half, there was never any doubt that Rangers would win the game, such is the self-belief that is coursing through their front four at the moment.
It would have been easy for the Rs to lose heart after falling behind to a soft goal against depleted Derby, when Kaspars Gorkss gave away a free-kick and failed to get back into position.
Robbie Savage quickly rolled the ball through to Paul Dickov, who made the most of the space and gratefully drilled it beyond Radek Cerny to give the Rams a ninth-minute lead.
While the likes of Adel Taarabt, Wayne Routledge and Akos Buzsaky did look elegant on the ball, it was Derby who carved out the clearer scoring opportunities.
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Cerny did well to parry a near-post header by Rob Hulse and the Rams' centre-forward then produced another, from Lee Croft's cross, that sailed over the bar.
But Derby doubled their lead on 36 minutes as referee Mark Haywood awarded Dickov an extremely generous free-kick and Savage curled it sweetly over the wall into the top corner of the net.
Perhaps the official felt guilty - for he then gave the benefit of the doubt to an equally questionable tumble by Taarabt, who got up to swerve his free-kick beyond the diving Stephen Bywater.
Derby looked less than comfortable for the remaining five minutes of the first half and they were pegged back after the restart when Routledge tapped back Taarabt's cross for Gavin Mahon to hook in from close range.
Routledge might have put Rangers in front soon afterwards, running on to a Taarabt pass and thudding the finish straight into Bywater's body, but it wasn't long before the third goal arrived.
Buzsaky sent the ball forward and, as Derby defenders virtually fell over themselves, Jay Simpson pounced to slot it past the keeper for his sixth goal in eight games.
The home side pushed forward in pursuit of an equaliser but, although Gorkss cleared off the line from Steve Davies and Damion Stewart did enough to foil Hulse, it never looked likely.
Taarabt should have put the game to bed, failing to beat Bywater in a one-on-one after substitute Mikele Leigertwood had sent the Moroccan clear.
But it was a measure of Rangers' dominance that the result was not in doubt even before Buzsaky smashed in a last-minute penalty, following another dubious decision as Routledge went down under Dean Moxey's challenge.