Live Commentary: Derby County 0-1 Queens Park Rangers - as it happened

Steve McClaren of Derby County gives out instructions during the Sky Bet Championship match between Derby County and Queens Park Rangers on February 10, 2014
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Sports Mole's minute-by-minute report of QPR's dramatic 1-0 win over Derby in the Championship playoff final.

Queens Park Rangers sealed their return to the Premier League on Saturday with a dramatic 1-0 win over Derby County in the Championship playoff final at Wembley Stadium.

With the game goalless after a cagey first half, QPR were reduced to 10 men on the hour when Gary O'Neil was shown a straight red card for a foul on Johnny Russell.

QPR's numerical disadvantage saw them struggle for much of what was left of the match, but they managed to snatch the win in the 89th minute as substitute Bobby Zamora pounced inside the area.

Read Sports Mole's minute-by-minute report below to find out how all of the action unfolded.


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2pmHello there and welcome to Sports Mole's live text coverage of this afternoon's Championship playoff final between Derby County and Queens Park Rangers at Wembley Stadium. This is being billed as the richest game in football with a place in the Premier League at stake, but let's forget that for a moment. The prestige of playing in the top flight should be enough to motivate these two teams.

2.03pmDERBY: Grant; Wisdom, Buxton, Keogh, Forsyth; Thorne, Hughes, Hendrick, Russell; Ward, Martin

2.04pmDERBY SUBS: Legzdins, Bryson, Sammon, Bamford, Whitbread, Dawkins, Eustace

2.06pmDerby boss Steve McClaren has opted to name the same team that defeated Brighton 4-1 in the second leg of their playoff semi-final two weeks ago. Lee Grant remains in goal, while Will Hughes, Richard Keogh and Chris Martin all feature in the starting XI. Craig Bryson returns from a back injury to sit among the substitutes.

2.09pmQPR: Green; Simpson, Dunne, Onuoha, Hill; O'Neil, Barton, Kranjcar, Hoilett; Austin, Doyle

2.10pmQPR SUBS: Traore, Morrison, Suk-Young, Hughes, Henry, Zamora, Murphy

2.13pmQPR boss Harry Redknapp has also kept the same starting lineup following his side's 2-1 win over Wigan in the second leg of their playoff semi-final. Joey Barton, Niko Kranjcar, Charlie Austin and Kevin Doyle are all given the nod by Redknapp, but Ravel Morrison has to settle for a place on the bench.

2.15pm

2.18pmQPR boss Harry Redknapp: "At the start of the year, people were talking about wage bills all the time, but we had 18 players leave last summer, a lot of them we didn't want to keep, but there were a few we didn't want to lose.

"I think we've done quite well – we let those 18 players go and we were almost throwing a team together at the start of the season.

"How many more changes we make this summer will be up to the chairman, but the nucleus is there for a good team next year, whatever division we are in. It's a big game, but I don't want to go piling pressure on people, on players, on anybody really."


2.21pmDerby manager Steve McClaren: "I'm looking forward to it - we all are. We're a bit like the swan on the river - cool and calm on the surface but underneath paddling like hell.

"We've prepared as much as possible as normal. It's a big game and a different game but we've got to try and do things as normal. And this team do that. They're young and exuberant and enjoy training. They do the work, they work so hard, like they have all season.

"It's all in the preparation. You win games with what you do Monday to Friday, not necessarily on the Saturday. It's what you do to prepare."


2.24pmThere are usually one or two sub-plots when it comes to these Championship finals, and today is no exception. Steve McClaren started the season at QPR where he was an assistant coach to Harry Redknapp. However, following the sacking of Nigel Clough at Derby, McClaren returned to Pride Park before guiding the Rams to Wembley today. It's also the first time that he's been back to this stadium since England failed to qualify for Euro 2008 with a defeat against Croatia.

2.27pmDerby's last appearance in a Championship playoff final was a successful one as they beat West Bromwich Albion 1-0 to seal their place in the Premier League. However, a disastrous campaign in 2007-08 saw them drop back down to the second tier at the first time of asking. Incidentally, this is the first time that QPR have been in the Championship playoff final.

2.29pm

2.32pmHEAD TO HEAD: The spoils were shared between these two teams when they met during the regular season, with Derby and QPR both picking up wins against each other. QPR earned a 2-1 victory at Loftus Road back in November before Derby exacted revenge with a 1-0 triumph at Pride Park three months later.

2.35pmThe players are currently going through their warm-ups as we head ever closer to kickoff. The conditions are looking a bit temperamental at the moment as some grey clouds gather overhead. It'll be interesting to see if the skies open later and make the pitch a little slicker. Both of these sides enjoy getting the ball down to feet, especially Derby and their possession-based game.

2.37pm

2.40pmPREDICTION TIME: It's very hard to separate these teams this afternoon due to the wealth of talent that each contains, but we here at Sports Mole reckon that QPR's experience will make the difference and see them past the line. That said, Derby are sure to run them close.

2.43pmJust over 15 minutes to go and there are there are plenty of fans flooding into Wembley Stadium now. Both sets of supporters are making lots of noise, creating quite the racket inside the ground.

2.47pmKEY MEN:

There can be no doubting that Charlie Austin is going to be vital for QPR today. The striker has already bagged 20 goals so far this season, and he will be hoping that he can add to his tally this afternoon. Austin is the kind of forward who can score all sorts of goals: headers, long range, close range, tap-ins.

As for Derby, 19-year-old midfielder Will Hughes is going to be a big influence on proceedings. The youngster is a huge prosect for the future, but he's already proving himself with the Rams thanks to a string of fine performances this season.


2.50pmWe said that QPR's experience could count for something today...



2.54pmThe players are starting to emerge in the tunnel, ready to step out onto the pitch at Wembley Stadium. Needless to say, there are plenty of stern, intense faces among the lineups. For the record, the rain has started to come down in North London, providing what could be tricky conditions...

2.56pmHere come the teams! It is absolutely hammering it down now.

1 minKICKOFF! The pre-match pageantry has been done, the fans are in superb voice, and it will be Derby to get us underway. Here we go!

3 minIt's been a really good start from Derby as they look to attack QPR early on. The Rams are showing great attacking intent whenever they're on the ball. Meanwhile, Harry Redknapp's side haven't found their rhythm.

5 minSomething of a half-chance for Derby as they win a free kick right on the edge of the box following a foul on Hughes. Russell steps up to have a crack at goal, but his weak effort is blocked by the QPR wall. Steve McClaren is sure to be pleased with what he's seen from his players so far because they're dominating.

8 minCHANCE! QPR create their first decent opening of the game as Austin fores over from long range. The striker did brilliantly to bring the ball down, but his speculative effort from about 30 yards flew narrowly over the bar. QPR have shown a few signs of life in the last couple of minutes.

11 minIt's end-to-end stuff at the moment, with both teams showing little fear going forward. However, it's Derby who are continuing to look that bit more confident when on the ball.

14 minIt must be said that Derby's passing game has been impressive so far. They're all working hard for each other as a team. Their latest attack sees Forsyth pick the ball up out wide, but his cross evades Martin in the middle and goes out of play.

17 minWhile Derby's possession-based game has seen them dominate the opening quarter of this contest, they haven't done a great deal to threaten QPR. Harry Redknapp's side are showing great organisation in midfield and defence to keep their opponents at bay. QPR forge a rare attack through Barton, but the midfielder can only whack his effort high and wide over the bar from 25 yards. Cue sarcastic cheers.

20 minThe match has seen a bit of a lull in the last few minutes following what was a fairly entertaining start. QPR try to create something through Barton, who attempts an angled ball to Simpson on the right. However, the midfielder puts too much on his pass and the ball goes out of play.

23 minHughes and Wisdom link well down the right wing before the latter swings a deep cross out of play. Derby are starting to look a bit more energetic now in terms of getting at the QPR defence.

26 minPENALTY APPEAL! Derby are screaming for a penalty as Hughes goes down under a challenge from Dunne, but referee Lee Mason is having none of it! It looked as if Derby had been short-changed there, but replays show that it was a good decision from Mason. Hughes took a tumble a bit too easily there.

29 minDerby force a couple of corner in quick succession, only for the QPR defence to stand firm and clear the danger both times. Harry Redknapp's side are being pushed back a fair bit now as Derby go in search of the first goal. If this match needs anything, it's a goal.

32 min

33 minSUBSTITUTION: Bad news for QPR now as Niko Kranjcar is forced off with what looks to be a hamstring strain. The midfielder is replaced by Armand Traore.

36 minJust under 10 minutes left to play in this first half and Derby are still on top. The Rams look like they've got more ideas than QPR, who are often shooting from long range. Their latest effort comes from Hoilett, who sees his shot blocked by Keogh.

39 minWhile it was an end-to-end start to the match, you get the feeling that nerves are starting to play a bigger part for both teams. That will only continue being the case the longer that the game remains goalless. Even the fans are beginning to sound a little bit tense as we approach half time.

40 minSAVE! What a great stop from Green to keep Derby at bay! Ward's in-swinging free kick from the left missed everyone and looked as if it was going to creep into the bottom corner, but Green was there to push the ball away. A fine save.

43 minJust a couple of minutes remaining until the break at Wembley Stadium. Derby are in control of the ball at the moment, but they seem happy to run the clock down until half time.

45 minThere will be one minute of added time...

45+1 minHALF TIME: DERBY 0-0 QPR

3.49pmReferee Lee Mason blows the half-time whistle, bringing an end to what could be described as an intriguing opening 45 minutes to this playoff final. Derby controlled much of that first half, but the game remains goalless.

3.51pm

3.54pmThe best chance of that half was undoubtedly Ward's free kick that QPR goalkeeper Green had to push away. It looked as if the ball was going to find its way into the bottom corner before the shotstopper got down low to thwart the danger. Other than that, opportunities have been few and far between on a tense afternoon.

3.57pmWhile Derby have seen the majority of the ball, QPR striker Doyle and Austin have had to feed on scraps up front. Harry Redknapp's side has shown one or two flashes of intent in the final third, though they will need to improve more after the break if they want to stay in this match.

4pmDerby might well feel as if they should have had a penalty during that first half when Hughes was brought down by Dunne, but replays showed that the youngster went down way too easily under the challenge from the veteran. Lee Mason made the right decision there, and it has to be said that the official has had a decent match so far.

46 minSECOND HALF UNDERWAY! The teams are back out, and it will be QPR to kick us off for the second half. No changes for either side at the break.

49 minDerby have started the half with plenty of enthusiasm, much like how they started the first. The Rams are looking to make a breakthrough quickly, while QPR are struggling to get out of their own half during these early stages.

52 minDerby are really cranking up the pressure now. They win two corners, the second after some bright play from Hughes, but the QPR defence does well to clear both chances. The R's are having to defend with real determination at the moment becuase Derby are throwing everything at them.

54 min

56 minCHANCE! Big opening for QPR as Traore pulls the ball back to Austin inside the box, but the striker can only guide his shot wide of the post from about 12 yards. You would have put money on Austin hitting the target there.

57 minSUBSTITUTION: QPR make their second change of the match as Bobby Zamora enters the action in place of Kevin Doyle. Can the veteran forward make his mark on this playoff final?

59 minRED CARD! GARY O'NEIL (QPR)

59 minHuge controversy here as Gary O'Neil is shown a red card for a foul on Derby's Johnny Russell. There were some questions over whether O'Neil was the last man because it looked like there were other players covering on the edge of the box, but Lee Mason pulls out his red card and QPR are down to 10 men.

62 minIf Derby were on top before that red card, they're positively dominant now. Steve McClaren's side have the wind in their sails, while QPR are just looking to remain solid and keep their opponents at bay.

64 min

67 minSUBSTITUTIONS: QPR make a final change now as Karl Henry is brought on for Clint Hill. Joey Barton is handed the captain's armband. Meanwhile, Derby make two changes as Simon Dawkins and Craig Bryson come on for Johnny Russell and Will Hughes.

69 minIt looks like Derby are just going to be bombarding the QPR goal for these final 20 minutes. The Rams come close to a breakthrough when Bryson works some space inside the penalty area, but Green is alert to the danger and pushes his shot away. Another Derby attack sees Keogh get his head on a cross, but he can only head over.

72 minCredit to QPR - they're defending doggedly at the moment as Derby continue to knock on the door. A whopping 52% of the ball has been in and around the Rangers box during the last 10 minutes. O'Neil's sending off has made a big difference to the dynamic of this match, though Derby are still struggling to breach the QPR goal.

75 minSAVE! Another fine stop from Green! Bryson finds Dawkins inside a crowded QPR penalty area, but Green is there to push the ball away from close range. Derby might just be starting to think that it's not going to be their day.

78 minIt feels like a long time since QPR were last inside the Derby half. Harry Redknapp's side are still needing to be alert in and around their own box because Derby are throwing almost everything at them in search of what could be the winning goal at this stage of the match. Remember, we'll have an additional 30 minutes if the gam is goalless after 90 minutes.

81 minThere is no respite for the QPR defence right now. Derby are surging forward time and time again. Bryson sees his shot blocked by the big frame of Dunne before Dawkins's scuffed effort is hoofed away.

84 minQPR are just booting the ball away whenever they can now. You have to wonder whether they are playing for extra time, and maybe even penalties. It could well be their only chance of winning this because Derby can sense blood and are going in for the kill.

86 min

89 minGOAL! DERBY 0-1 QPR (ZAMORA)

89 minWould you believe it?! The 10 men of QPR lead in the final minute thanks to Bobby Zamora! Hoilett did brilliantly down the right to win the ball back before crossing into the box. Keogh tried to clear the ball away, but he could only scuff it to Zamora who confidently fired in from 12 yards. Incredible.

90 minThere will be three minutes of added time.

90+3 minFULL TIME: DERBY 0-1 QPR

4.54pmThe full-time whistle goes and it's QPR who are promoted to the Premier League with the most dramatic of 1-0 wins. Harry Redknapp's side, who were reduced to 10 men early in the second half, were battered and bruised for much of the match against Derby, but they held on to seal their spot in the top flight for next season.

4.57pmThe Derby players look devastated. They dominated that match, but they just couldn't make the breakthrough against a dogged QPR defence. Meanwhile, the QPR players are going berserk. Football, eh?

5pmThat's all from our live text coverage of this afternoon's game, but don't forget that you can keep up to date with all of the post-match reaction right here on Sports Mole. Thanks for your company, and we hope to see you again soon. Goodbye!

Yossi Benayoun of Queens Park Rangers celebrates his goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Queens Park Rangers and Wigan Athletic at Loftus Road on March 25, 2014
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