QPR recorded their 7th away victory of the season after beating Middlesborough. Jordan Hugill netted for the Rs and a relatively decent defensive display against Boro saw Rangers take three points back to W12 with only their 6th clean sheet of the season.
Not even the managerial experience of Neil Warnock could lift his team and they arguably will need to battle harder than they did throughout the match today if they are to try and avoid relegation.
Mark Warburton made just the one change from the Fulham match, a match where I think we were very unlucky not to take anything away , bringing in Joe Lumley for Liam Kelly in goal. Lumley took his chance well, grabbing the opportunity with both gloves and looked comfortable all game, making a good near post save from Fletcher after 15 minutes.
It took the first half drinks break to spur QPR into life, with Manning, Eze and Osayi-Samuel linking up well down the left and on 30 minutes Friend was dispossessed by Bright Osayi-Samuel who played in Hugill to go through one on one with the Boro Keeper, but a weak left foot shot was saved, wasting a very decent chance.
One minute later, Hugill redeemed himself with a right-footed lob from 30 yards out, running onto an excellent ball played over by Manning, giving Rangers a deserved lead. It was his 15th goal of the season so far, although his last touch of the match, as he appeared to pull his hamstring in scoring and was replaced by Chair, with Osayi-Samuel moving into the striker role.
QPR played with far more confidence after the goal, passing the ball well at times, with only a few loose passes letting them down. In the 38th minute, Manning again linked up with Eze, whose through ball to Kane saw him fouled on the edge of the box. Manning stepped up to strike a left-footed free kick forcing a good late save from Stojanovic in the Boro goal.
QPR went in a goal up at half-time, their 60th goal of the season, only Leeds and West Brom have scored more in the Championship, the concern was could they keep a clean sheet in the second half?
The second saw QPR have plenty of possession and passes, but they gave the ball away too easily at times, letting Middlesborough back into the match instead of putting pressure on a poor Boro side. Osman Kakay, who had a resolute game in defence, made a great defensive header in the 57th minute to a cross that Assombalonga looked favourite to get to, and ex-QPR player Ravel Morrison blazed over the bar a few minutes later. McNair, who replaced Morrison, scooped a shot over the bar in the 65th minute, and only a great block by Barbet in the 72nd minute, again from Assombalonga’s shot, kept the R’s ahead.
Nmecha took his turn to shoot over the bar in the 81st minute, before Assombalonga was booked for a dive in the box with a minute to go. QPR held out for an important win, and now go onto Wigan Athletic on Wednesday, where they will look to improve again on this performance and climb a few places up from 13th in the table.
Man of the Match: Although Ryan Manning had a strong game, he could have defended a bit better. So, I would give it to Geoff Cameron for a strong defensive performance, making several important clearances, often with his head, while playing out of position at centre-back.