Liverpool loanee Harry Wilson scored a match-winning brace for Derby on Easter Monday to keep the Rams on track for a playoff spot in the Championship.
The traditionally busy Easter weekend schedule continued on Monday, with a full programme taking place in the Championship.
Wilson’s Derby side hosted struggling QPR, looking for a victory to boost hopes of finishing in the playoffs for a shot at promotion to the Premier League.
With just three games of the 46-game season left to play, there was little margin for error for Frank Lampard’s side and key players were needed to be in top form to make the difference.
Step forward Harry Wilson.
Just as it seemed two crucial points would be dropped after a frustrating 90 minutes, the Welshman stepped up with an injury-time brace to lead his side to a dramatic but priceless 2-0 win.
Jayden Bogle won a penalty in the fourth minute of stoppage time, and Wilson held his nerve to convert under immense pressure, rolling a cool spot-kick into the bottom corner.
Derby weathered a spirited response from QPR in the moments after that opener, before Wilson then wrapped up the victory in the 101st minute.
This time he finished a swift counter-attack launched by Jack Marriott, squeezing a rare right-footed finish into the net after being teed up unselfishly by his team-mate.
Wilson’s heroics earned praise from Lampard post-match, as the Derby boss lauded the youngster for stepping up to the plate when most needed:
“I like that about Harry, that he has got confidence.
“That’s not just about confidence, that is a moment where some people just won’t fancy it and he was calm and he was cool and he finished it.
“We were all nervous in the stadium so the taker, I have been there may a times, it’s not an easy moment so fair play that he kept his head.”
It was a huge three points which took Derby into sixth place in the table—the final playoff spot—with just three games remaining.
More impressively, the brace took Wilson’s tally for the campaign to a superb 16 goals in 43 appearances, along with four assists.
Such excellent numbers are hard to ignore, and surely Jurgen Klopp will give Wilson a chance to prove he can be part of Liverpool’s first-team squad next season.
Elsewhere, there were two more Reds involved in Monday’s action.
Ovie Ejaria also featured in the Championship, though with very different ambitions as relegation-battling Reading continued the fight for survival against playoff challengers West Brom.
The central midfielder operated in an unfamiliar role on the left of Reading’s three-man attacking-midfield unit, and he had a quiet game despite playing all of a 0-0 draw.
The goalless stalemate was a far better result for Ejaria’s side than it first appears though.
Indeed, the valuable point realistically confirmed Reading’s survival in the second tier, providing a freak goal-swing in the last two games is avoided.
The final loanee to play was Loris Karius, who was between the sticks as Besiktas travelled to Sivasspor in the Turkish SuperLig.
The German helped his side to a hard-fought 2-1 success, which was a fifth straight league victory for Besiktas who are in great form and now sit in third place.
This mirrors an improvement in form from Karius, who delivered a solid display to cap off an excellent Easter Monday for the borrowed Reds involved.