Match ends, Derby County 3, West Bromwich Albion 1.
Derby County 3-1 West Bromwich Albion: Frank Lampard's Rams seal play-off spot
Derby County boss Frank Lampard described himself as "proud" after the Rams secured a Championship play-off place with victory over West Bromwich Albion.
Two goals in three second-half minutes from Mason Bennett and Harry Wilson saw the Rams finish sixth, to set up a play-off semi-final against Leeds United.
"Pride is probably the main emotion, to see the team play from 1-1 onwards, with the quality and the work rate and the calm nature to play the football we played," he said.
"When we got our noses in front we kept moving the ball, it was brilliant.
"We need to try to carry that momentum - we'll be underdogs because we came sixth. There's a reason we've finished points behind Leeds, Villa and West Brom.
"The run-in has been good for us, so let's go into it with no fear and try to upset a few people.
"I'll plan to play the Leeds side that have been really strong all season."
The Rams needed a win to be certain of a sixth-place finish against a side who were already assured of ending their campaign in the top four.
Middlesbrough did beat Rotherham to ensure Lampard's side had to take all three points, and they did so in fine style at a packed-out Pride Park.
Martyn Waghorn's perfectly placed near-post header from Jayden Bogle's exquisite cross earned the hosts a half-time lead in an open game.
The Baggies deservedly levelled two minutes after the break through Stefan Johansen's superb curled strike, but Derby dominated from then on.
Substitute Bennett's close-range finish two minutes after coming on made it 2-1 after 70 minutes and Wilson's penalty sealed the victory.
Albion, who would have finished third with victory as a result of Leeds' unexpected defeat against Ipswich, had substitute Hal Robson-Kanu sent off in stoppage time for kicking out at Bradley Johnson.
Derby will face Leeds, who beat them in both league games this season, in the two-legged semi-final, while the Baggies will meet fierce local rivals Aston Villa.
Lampard leads the way
The Rams have become accustomed to play-off heartache in some form or another over the past few seasons.
They suffered an agonising last-minute Wembley defeat in the 2014 final against QPR, missed out on the top six on the final day of the following season and have been beaten in two of the past three play-off semi-finals since.
But their performance against the Baggies was both stylish and brave, and their place in the top six in Lampard's first season was fully merited after a fine season and this impressive display.
Jacob Murphy and Dwight Gayle missed glorious chances for the visitors either side of Waghorn's stunning opener, but after Johansen's classy finish made it 1-1, Derby seized control.
With home pressure building and Mason Mount, Tom Lawrence and Wilson particularly impressive, Bennett followed up to poke the Rams back in front on the rebound.
And Wilson's penalty after Lawrence was deemed to have been fouled by Kyle Bartley after a mazy run, brought a 3-1 lead which was comfortably kept.
Baggies demonstrate attacking quality
Despite their defeat, the Baggies created the better chances until soon after Johansen's strike and looked sharp for their mouthwatering semi-final date with Villa.
A peculiar season saw Darren Moore sacked as manager in March with the Baggies fourth, but nine points off the top two following a 1-1 draw at home against bottom-of-the-table Ipswich.
However, a run of six wins in 10 matches under caretaker boss Jimmy Shan confirmed their top-six finish and they face Villa in encouraging form, led by a front pairing of Gayle and Jay Rodriguez who have 45 goals between them this season.
Shan was unhappy with his side's showing in the final stages of the game.
"After they scored the third, our level of application and work ethic was not acceptable," he said.
"However we dress up what's happened today, it's not the business end.
"There were some honest assessments from the players in there. There's no excuse now.
"We're going to have to play a lot better than that if we're going to have some success against Aston Villa."
- 23HolmesSubstituted forBennettat 65'minutesBooked at 71mins
- 7WilsonSubstituted forEvansat 90+1'minutes
- 9WaghornSubstituted forNugentat 41'minutes
- 1JohnstoneBooked at 58mins
- 5BartleyBooked at 16minsSubstituted forRobson-Kanuat 78'minutesBooked at 90mins
- 26HegaziBooked at 83mins
- 6JohansenBooked at 59minsSubstituted forFieldat 75'minutes
- 70MurphySubstituted forPhillipsat 60'minutes
- 19RodriguezBooked at 23mins
- Tim Robinson
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Derby County 3, West Bromwich Albion 1.
Hal Robson-Kanu (West Bromwich Albion) is shown the red card for violent conduct.
Bradley Johnson (Derby County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Hal Robson-Kanu (West Bromwich Albion).
Substitution, Derby County. George Evans replaces Harry Wilson.
Foul by Harry Wilson (Derby County).
Hal Robson-Kanu (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Mason Mount (Derby County).
Mason Holgate (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt saved. Tom Lawrence (Derby County) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
Bradley Johnson (Derby County) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Rekeem Harper (West Bromwich Albion).
Attempt saved. Scott Malone (Derby County) left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Mason Bennett.
Foul by Harry Wilson (Derby County).
Kieran Gibbs (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Mason Mount (Derby County) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.
Ahmed Hegazi (West Bromwich Albion) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Attempt saved. David Nugent (Derby County) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Harry Wilson.
Corner, Derby County. Conceded by Rekeem Harper.
Mason Mount (Derby County) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Ahmed Hegazi (West Bromwich Albion).
Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Hal Robson-Kanu replaces Kyle Bartley.
Foul by David Nugent (Derby County).
Sam Field (West Bromwich Albion) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Substitution, West Bromwich Albion. Sam Field replaces Stefan Johansen.
Goal! Derby County 3, West Bromwich Albion 1. Harry Wilson (Derby County) converts the penalty with a left footed shot to the bottom left corner.
Penalty Derby County. Tom Lawrence draws a foul in the penalty area.
Penalty conceded by Kyle Bartley (West Bromwich Albion) after a foul in the penalty area.
Mason Bennett (Derby County) is shown the yellow card for excessive celebration.
Goal! Derby County 2, West Bromwich Albion 1. Mason Bennett (Derby County) right footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal.
Attempt saved. Tom Lawrence (Derby County) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Mason Bennett.
Richard Keogh (Derby County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Dwight Gayle (West Bromwich Albion).
Attempt missed. Mason Holgate (West Bromwich Albion) right footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Stefan Johansen.
Substitution, Derby County. Mason Bennett replaces Duane Holmes.
Scott Malone (Derby County) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Mason Holgate (West Bromwich Albion).
Corner, Derby County. Conceded by Ahmed Hegazi.
Attempt blocked. Harry Wilson (Derby County) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked.