Rangers relive 2014 play-off final triumph as sub Zamora sinks Derby right at death
PUBLISHED: 10:34 28 May 2020 | UPDATED: 10:34 28 May 2020
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The late May Bank Holiday will always be fondly remembered by QPR fans thanks to a last-gasp 2014 play-off final success at Wembley Stadium.
Harry Redknapp’s side had finished fourth during the regular Championship season, then beat Wigan after extra-time in their play-off semi-final at Loftus Road.
That set up a meeting with Derby, who had finished third and beaten Brighton in the other semi-final, after both clubs had won on home soil in their league encounters that term.
And QPR saw Charlie Austin fire over in the first half in wet conditions at Wembley, before Derby had penalty claims turned down by referee Lee Mason when Will Hughes went down in the box.
Redknapp was forced into a change on 33 minutes as Croatian playmaker Niko Kranjcar went off with a hamstring injury to be replaced by Armand Traore and Robert Green made his first save of note when pushing Jamie Ward’s curling free kick wide.
Austin shot wide from 12 yards just before the hour mark, before Kevin Doyle was replaced by Bobby Zamora, but Rangers were reduced to 10 men when Gary O’Neil was sent off for a foul from behind on Johnny Russell on the edge of the box.
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Karl Henry came on for captain Clint Hill to bolster the R’s midfield, but Green had to make a low save to deny Craig Bryson and then kept out Chris Martin with a reflex save at close range.
Green thwarted Jeff Hendrick with a quarter of an hour remaining, with Martin blocking Ward’s follow-up attempt as the scoreline remained blank.
And Green was called into action again three minutes from time to save a Hendrick shot as extra time loomed.
But Rangers were left in dreamland in the last minute of normal time when Zamora – the play-off final hero for London rivals West Ham in 2005 – curled a shot past Lee Grant to break the deadlock in dramatic style.
Ward had an overhead kick deflected behind by Joey Barton during stoppage time as QPR held on to claim their place in the Premier League.
Skipper Hill relived the moment on Twitter on Sunday, as the club reflected on the day, posting: “Lads got the job done and what a day it turned out to be. Lived the dream.”
Life in the top flight proved tough for Rangers, though, and they were relegated straight back down after finishing bottom of the table, eight points from safety.
QPR: Green, Simpson, Onuoha, Dunne, Hill (Henry 67), Kranjcar (Traore 33), Barton, O’Neil, Hoilett, Austin, Doyle (Zamora 57). Unused subs: Murphy, Yun Suk-young, Hughes, Morrison.
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