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Derby beat QPR in Rowett’s first home game

Matej Vydra (right) has scored in both of Gary Rowett’s first two matches as Derby manager

Gary Rowett’s first home game as Derby manager ended in victory as the Rams’ slim Championship play-off hopes were boosted by beating QPR at Pride Park.

The Rams are six points off sixth position with seven games to play.

Matej Vydra scored the only goal with 20 minutes remaining, firing high into the net after QPR goalkeeper Alex Smithies kept out Tom Ince’s low shot.

Idrissa Sylla headed against the post late on for QPR, who suffered only their second defeat in eight games.

Ian Holloway’s in-form Rangers had offered little in attack before that, and they remain 10 points clear of the relegation zone, having taken 16 points from their previous seven Championship matches.

Derby had drawn their first game under Rowett at local rivals Nottingham Forest prior to the international break, coming from behind to lead and then conceding a stoppage-time equaliser.

But they built on an impressive second-half display at the City Ground to give their new boss Rowett, a former Derby defender, his first win in charge.

Winger Johnny Russell missed several opportunities for the hosts during a goalless first half, while Smithies kept out David Nugent’s powerful angled drive.

It appeared as if Derby would be punished for their wastefulness, but Czech striker Vydra netted for the second game in succession to secure three points and deny Rangers what would have been only their third league clean sheet of 2017.

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