Sheffield Wednesday 0 Derby County 1 match report: Patrick Bamford stunner keeps Steve McClaren up to speed

The Rams' on loan striker has now scored five goals in seven Championship matches since joining the club, helping to propel them towards promotion

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Patrick Bamford, the 20-year-old striker Chelsea signed from Nottingham Forest for £1.5m two years ago, continued to propel Derby towards promotion, scoring a goal out of nothing to keep Steve McClaren’s side at the head of the play-off places in the Championship, two points behind second-placed Burnley.

Grantham-born Bamford has yet to make a senior appearance for Chelsea but has been in prolific form away from Stamford Bridge. His goal, curled in off the underside of the bar from a wide angle on the right, brought his tally since joining Derby on loan to five goals in seven Championship matches and taking his total for the season to 22 after earlier success with MK Dons in League One.

Until then it had been a contest of few clear opportunities, with Wednesday looking the likelier winners.

The opening half had been an untidy one, with few clear chances and more in the way of aggressive confrontation as both sides tried to gain a physical edge. Miguel Llera, the Wednesday defender, upset Derby with a heavy challenge on goalkeeper Lee Grant. Referee Darren Bond rightly cautioned the Spaniard, but no sooner had he put his yellow card away than he had it out again as Chris Martin, the Derby striker, sought unsubtle retribution. Given that a stray elbow seemed to be involved he was lucky the punishment was not worse.

Chances were sparse, the best falling to Wednesday as early as the fifth minute, when a Glenn Loovens header from Chris Maguire’s corner was booted away from just in front of the line by Craig Forsyth. Michail Antonio’s runs were a problem for the Derby defence and after the first half ended with Richard Keogh halting another with a firm tackle, the second began with Grant needing to move sharply to save from Antonio at the foot of his right-hand post.

It took another goal-line stop, this time by Craig Bryson, when Maguire’s low cross found a way through a crowded box. Derby did not pose anything close to a sustained threat to Wednesday’s goal until the lively Johnny Russell took over from Jamie Ward on the left. Yet the home side still looked the more likely to provide the moment of quality the match needed to produce a winner, especially when the ball was at the feet of Antonio, who brought a fine save by Grant on the end of another penetrating run.

Yet it was Bamford, with a beautifully struck left-foot shot, who had the last word as Derby, beaten only three times in 22 Championship matches under McClaren, remain contenders for automatic promotion.

Sheffield Wednesday (4-2-3-1): Kirkland; Palmer, Loovens, Llera, Mattock; Lee (Helan, 44), Coke; Maguire, Gardner (Hutchinson, 61), Antonio; Best (Afobe, 70). Substitutes not used Martinez (gk), Maghoma, Lavery, Nuhiu.

Derby County (4-1-2-3): Grant; Wisdom, Keogh, Buxton, Forsyth; Eustace (Sammon, 74); Hughes, Bryson (Hendrick, 55); Bamford, Martin, Ward (Russell, h-t). Substitutes not used Legzdins (gk), Whitbread, Bailey, Thorne

Referee D Bond (Lancashire).

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