Derby manager Frank Lampard applauded Harry Wilson’s character after his dramatic stoppage-time penalty set up a 2-0 win over QPR.
Wilson kept his nerve to beat Joe Lumley as Derby went back into the top six with three games to play.
Derby had looked edgy and only really threatened in the second half with Joe Lumley pushing a Mason Mount shot against a post.
But Rangers had chances on the break and Tomer Hemed failed to turn in a Bright Osayi-Samuel cross before substitute Matt Smith headed over from a good position.
It looked like it was going to be frustration for Derby but in the fourth of nine added minutes referee David Webb pointed to the spot when Jayden Bogle went over Luke Freeman’s outstretched leg.
Wilson held his nerve to drive a low kick inside Lumley’s right post and Derby broke in the 11th minute of stoppage time for the on-loan Liverpool winger to seal a dramatic win.
“It’s one thing to have a desire to score goals, and Harry has that, but it’s another thing in the real real moments to step up and take responsibility to score the goal,” Lampard said.
“There is probably more risk than reward in terms of if you miss how much people will remember it, so I’m pleased with that from him. The whole stadium felt the pressure but fair play to Harry, he kept a cool head.”
On the penalty, Lampard admitted: “I wasn’t sure. We’ve had a few lately that I’ve been quite vocal on so if we are slightly fortunate then it might have been coming.
“If it wasn’t, that is the game. I was frustrated after the Birmingham game and some recent ones so if we took a slice of good fortune, then we did.
“There’s a bit of a balance now not to get too excited. We should enjoy tonight and it is in our hands but we have to focus because we have a difficult run-in and it’s going to be very tough for us.”
QPR caretaker manager John Eustace said: “I’ve watched it back and I don’t think it is a penalty but it’s not a problem.
“We had lots of chances, we were the better team I felt, and we didn’t take the chances and got punished at the end by a top team.
“I don’t think I’ve known nine minutes before in a football match but there are no excuses and if we had put the chances away it would have been a little bit different.
“I think we are safe now so that was the aim when I took over and we have done that.”