Paul Warne was glad Tyrese Fornah ignored him and set up Derby’s winning goal in a 2-1 League One victory over Bristol Rovers.

The midfielder delivered the pass that Nathaniel Mendez-Laing put away in the last minute to take Derby into the top six.

It ended Rovers’ six-game unbeaten run in all competitions but for long periods the visitors looked like frustrating Derby.

In a scrappy first half, the away side came closest to scoring when a Grant Ward shot was touched onto the post by Joe Wildsmith.

Mendez-Laing produced a moment of quality Derby needed in the 66th minute when he went past Josh Grant on the right and whipped in a low cross which Jack Hunt could only turn into his own net.

Derby missed chances to score a second and Rovers looked to have earned a point in the 87th minute when former Rams striker Chris Martin headed in an Antony Evans free-kick.

But Fornah had other ideas and three minutes later, picked out Mendez-Laing who fired a low shot from the centre of the box past Matthew Cox.

Warne said: “He’s (Fornah) been on international duty. It was good to have him back and he looked as if he had a bit of a spring in his step.

“He came on today and was a real force. The first goal, if you watch it back you’ll see him running into the box like an absolute whippet and if Jack Hunt hadn’t connected, he probably would have scored.

“For the second goal – in fairness to him – I’m glad he didn’t listen to me because I wanted him to give it to Nat (Mendez-Laing) straight away and he didn’t.

“I’m thinking ‘what’s he doing’ and then he gives it back to Nat and I’m thinking ‘that’s what he’s doing, I get it’! He was excellent and played a big part in our win.

“We changed the shape at half-time. Created enough chances to win but if you’ve only got one goal, you’re always susceptible to an equaliser so then to get a late winner is great.”

Rovers interim manager Andy Mangan said: “It’s tough. First half, I thought everything went to plan, we frustrated them, hit them on the counter and had chances.

“I’m gutted for the lads because I think they deserved more, I thought everything we planned came to fruition. Mistakes happen in games but we’ve got to cut that out.

“But I thought we had some really good moments and I think that’s probably up there with the best performance since I’ve been in charge.

“Unfortunately, we’ve made a couple of mistakes but there were loads of moments we can take great confidence from.”

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