|Queens Park Rangers 3 v 0 Ipswich Town|
Wednesday, 26th December 2018 Kick-off 15:00
QPR 3-0 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Wednesday, 26th Dec 2018 16:59
Goals from Pawel Wszolek, Joel Lynch and Nahki Wells saw QPR to a comfortable 3-0 victory over the Blues at Loftus Road. Wszolek profited from Town mistakes to open the scoring on the half hour, Lynch headed the second on 34 and Wells added the third on 74 as the bottom-of-the-table Blues slipped back to seven points from safety.
Town boss Paul Lambert made two changes from the team which drew 1-1 with Sheffield United on Saturday with Flynn Downes and Grant Ward coming into the side for Andre Dozzell and Gwion Edwards, who dropped to the bench.
Ward played in the wide right role Edwards occupied against the Blades, while Downes came into the centre of midfield. The home side made one change with Lynch replacing Jordan Cousins, who was among their subs.
QPR struck the game’s first shot, Ebere Eze cutting in from the left and hitting a low effort which Dean Gerken claimed comfortably, while ex-Blues loanee Massimo Luongo was in their midfield.
In the fifth minute Blues skipper Luke Chambers was yellow-carded for colliding with Darnell Furlong just outside the area, the central defender feeling he was the man fouled.
Luke Freeman curled the resultant freekick just under Gerken’s bar and the keeper turned it over with little fanfare.
QPR enjoyed much the greater share of the ball in the opening minutes without threatening further, but on 10 Downes won the ball in midfield and fed Ward, who in turn played it to Jon Nolan to his right. However, the ex-Shrewsbury man’s cross was too long for Downes, who had broken into the box.
Moments later, Ellis Harrison was played on on the left but the Welshman sent the ball in before any of his team-mates had made a run.
But it was still QPR for the most part and they could well have gone in front in the 17th minute. Freeman rode a couple of tackles down the left before cutting back but slightly behind one-time Blues trialist Wells and the ball ricocheted off his heels and away from goal.
The Blues, with owner Marcus Evans watching from the stands, threatened again in the 20th minute when Matthew Pennington flicked a header from a corner on the left towards the far post but no one was able to apply the final touch.
Town’s best passage of play of the half led to a Nolan chance in the 23rd minute. After good work from Sears and Harrison, Downes played a clever ball for Nolan to chase and, with no options in the centre, the midfielder hit a low shot from an angle on the left which QPR keeper Joe Lumley palmed away to safety.
The Blues were beginning to get more into the game and in the 26th minute, shortly after skipper Luke Chambers had been treated for a head injury, Nolan played a delightful ball over the QPR backline for Harrison. The former Bristol Rovers man looped the ball towards goal from a tight angle on the right but just over.
However, right on the half hour the home side took the lead with Town playing a major part in their own downfall.
Nolan tried to play the ball back to his central defenders from wide on the right but only found Wells. The Bermudian brought it forward before hitting a low shot which Gerken could only paw away to his left and Wszolek was the first to react to hammer the rebound home from close range.
Four minutes later, it was 2-0. Freeman sent a freekick over from deep on the left and Lynch got ahead of Pennington to nod to Gerken’s right and into the net of the keeper’s despairing right hand.
The Blues looked to get back into the game after QPR’s quick-fire double. On 37 Pennington headed well over from a corner on the left when he will feel he ought to have done better.
Goalscorer Wszolek was booked for wiping out Nolan in the 43rd minute with neither team going close to adding to the goals before the break.
Having remained resolute in the early part of the half which QPR had dominated, the Blues started to make some headway and created a couple of chances before gifting the home side their opener.
Nolan presumably didn’t see Wells when he made his pass while Gerken will feel he ought to have bundled the ball away from goal if he wasn’t going to keep hold of it.
The second goal two minutes later came from a well-taken freekick but boss Lambert will believe it should have been defended far better.
Match Gallery: 6 photos
Town needed a big second half if they were to take anything from the game but it was the home side who started the period brightest, Freeman hitting an early low effort towards the near post which Gerken claimed at the second attempt. On 49 Jordan Spence was booked for a foul on Lynch.
Following a 52nd minute Blues corner, Nolan stabbed the ball out to Trevoh Chalobah, who hit a 20-yard shot which looked goalbound until Lumley got across to palm it wide.
Ten minutes later, Ward was replaced by Jack Lankester having suffered a knock in a challenge moments earlier and been carried to the tunnel on a stretcher.
Town were seeing a lot of the ball and competently passed it around but rarely in dangerous areas and without creating a chance, while QPR were happy enough with their two-goal lead and didn’t looked particularly concerned about adding to it. On 70 Nolan was replaced by Jordan Roberts as the Blues moved to 4-4-1-1, while Ilias Chair took over from Eze for Rangers.
The home side completed what was a victory won at a canter in the 74th minute when sub Chair was somehow allowed to cut the ball back from the byline on the right to Wells, who had time to hit a shot on the turn across Gerken and into the corner of the net.
Having netted their third, QPR loosened the shackles and went looking for a fourth. Wszolek was thwarted by Gerken, then Chambers blocked Wells from the rebound, before Roberts curled a shot just over at the other end.
Rangers sub Bright Osayi-Samuel saw an effort blocked from close range moments after coming on, just prior to the fourth official indicating three additional minutes.
The final whistle confirmed a thoroughly disappointing afternoon for the Blues who had begun to make some headway when they conceded QPR’s two first-half goals, the first of which was seasonally gift-wrapped for Steve McClaren’s side.
In the second half, although Town saw more of the ball and moved the ball around well at times, they rarely did so in dangerous areas and never laid a glove on the visitors who were given another late Christmas present to cement their lead with 16 minutes remaining.
A bad afternoon all round for the Blues with results elsewhere seeing the sides above them move away and the gap to safety stretch back to seven points plus goal difference ahead of a difficult trip to Middlesbrough on Saturday.
QPR: Lumley, Furlong, Leistner, Lynch, Bidwell, Wszolek, Scowen, Luongo, Freeman (Osayi-Samuel 88), Eze (Chair 70), Wells (Oteh 84). Unused: Ingram, Hall, Cousins, Smith.
Town: Gerken, Spence, Chambers (c), Pennington, Knudsen, Chalobah, Downes, Nolan (Roberts 70), Ward (Lankester 62), Sears, Harrison. Unused: Bialkowski, Edwards, Jackson, Dozzell, Kenlock. Referee: Keith Stroud (Hampshire). Att: 14,584 (Town: 1,288).
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