More Mistakes cost the ‘R’s as Fulham keep their automatic hopes alive.
Both teams came into the game under significant pressure to perform, having lost both games respectively since the restart. Fulham made two changes going into the game whilst QPR set up in 3-4-2-1 formation, operating with Manning and Kane as wing backs. A few eyebrows were raised when Ozzy Kakay was in the line-ups for the first time since August 2018, playing on the right-hand side of a back three.
QPR started the brighter of the two sides taking the lead within the first minute. A ball whipped into the box by Ryan Manning was headed into the net by Jordan Hugill, climbing above Tim Ream to give the R’s the lead. QPR certainly started the liveliest, pressing at a tempo looking relatively compact at the back. However, momentum shifted quickly as Christie made a direct run driving inside but only to be saved by Kelly. Fulham continued to dominate as Harry Arter dispossessed Dom Ball and drilled a strike low into to the bottom right corner of the net to equalise. Kelly only got a hand to it and possibly if not definitely should have done better.
QPR started to look brighter as Amos threaded a lovely pass to Osayi-Samuel, taking on Christie before cutting the ball back to Amos, only for Amos to skie the ball over the crossbar. That looked the most promising chance yet in the game and could have easily been 2-1 at that stage. QPR threatened again down the left-hand side with Manning. Manning crossed the ball to Hugill for Hugill to chest the ball, swivel and fire the shot on target with Rodak having to produce an outstanding save to keep the game level before the break.
Fulham were the given the first chance of the second half. A Barbet mistake let to Knockeart bending the ball towards the bottom corner of the goal for Kelly to produce a save very early after the restart for the second half. Fulham threatened again this time from a corner. It was Michael Hector who rose to head the ball which Liam Kelly saved comfortably.
All was not lost for the R’s as Manning again whipped a ball into the box for it to reach Todd Kane and his volley went over the bar. Just as many thought Fulham’s automatic promotion push was lost after Bobby Decordova Reid’s speculative long-range effort had bounced back off of the post, right back Cyrus Christie drilled in his eight goal of his career from 25 yards out to give Fulham their first win since the restart. Although Kelly was at fault for Arter’s goal, there was simply no stopping that one.
Twice the R’s so nearly snatched a point with late headers from Ryan Manning, one of which hit the bar. However, for QPR, despite leading early and a late rally that so easily could have been an equaliser, they remain 14th, eight points off of the drop with six games to go.
Written by Daniel Lambert