Derby manager Steve McClaren was left purring by Patrick Bamford’s moment of “sheer class” which earned a vital Sky Bet Championship win at Sheffield Wednesday.
The Rams were up against it for large parts at Hillsborough but when Wednesday were unable to break the deadlock, Bamford showed them how to do it in style.
With 12 minutes remaining, the Chelsea loanee curled in a wicked effort from 20 yards to register his fifth goal in six games and earn a 1-0 success.
The victory keeps Derby’s hopes of automatic promotion firmly intact as they moved to within two points of second-placed Burnley.
And McClaren knows the chances of earning a top-two spot will only be enhanced with players such as Bamford at his disposal.
“We have got players who can produce quality, there wasn’t enough on the night but as the game went on it opened up and you can’t calculate for a goal like that,” the former England manager said.
“It was sheer quality and class to win what was a scrappy game.
“We nearly took him off, but you watch him training and he struggles to hit the big net and hits a lot of cars!
“I thought ‘Here were go again’ but this time he kept it down and it was a thunderbolt.
“He can frustrate you and sometimes flits in and out of games, but he is a match-winner and that’s what he was tonight.
“He scores important goals, they’re not just any goals. We’re just delighted we have got him and we are very surprised how well he has done.”
Had it not been for a resolute defensive showing the Rams would have left South Yorkshire pointless and McClaren concedes his side were fortunate.
“On another night we might have drawn that or lost it but this time it went our way,” he added. “The players are making it work.
“Sheffield Wednesday did a very good job on us and frustrated us and stopped us playing.
“We had to defend a lot of balls into the box and two the centre-backs will have a headache, they’ve had to head that many balls. We had to defend well and we did.”