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  • By Alessandro Schiavone

Austin ends barren run of 90 days without goal as QPR see off Luton Town 2-0 in impressive style



QPR piled more misery on free-falling Luton Town as Mark Warburton’s solid Hoops cruised to a 2-0 home victory over the Hatters to move up to fifth in the Championship table.


Chris Willock latched onto a long pass into space from Ilias Chair to get QPR off the mark after ten minutes before Charlie Austin scored his first goal in almost three months to give the Londoners a bit of breathing space after Luton had twice gone close to an equaliser after the break.


Numerous opportunities to score went begging for Luton in the early stages of either half. If Luton manager Nathan Jones had a poacher leading the line, QPR may have found themselves back to square one in the first seven minutes of the second half.


But the Hoops put their bodies on the line and, after riding their luck in some crucial moments of the game, they came out on top to deservedly claim the bragging rights.


QPR raced into a 10th minute lead after the unplayable Chair quickly turned defence into attack, releasing fellow prodigy Chris Willock into space with a delicious long pass forward following a poor Luton corner.


Willock’s goal then did the damage when he ran in behind two Luton defenders before dinking the ball over the onrushing Simon Sluga from the edge of box to give QPR a well-deserved lead. Ilias’ speed of thought and Willock’s execution alone were worth the price of the ticket for the 15,062 spectators in attendance.


Chair was the man of the first half as he pulled the strings with his low centre of gravity and ability to pick out teammates. It was the Moroccan who dictated the tempo and pace of the game.


The goal alleviated a bit of pressure as Luton looked menacing each time they rampaged forward and Seny Dieng bailed his side out on two occasions. He first rushed off his line to neutralize a poor backwards throw-in from Yoann Barbett and then blocked Harry Cornick’s effort from close range.


On their return from the dressing room, it was Luton who started on the front foot but their inability to finish things off cost them.


Kal Naismith connected in classic striker mode with a cross from the right flank and almost levelled things up but his header at the near post hit the side-netting before Fred Onyedinma’s effort failed to hit the target.


Charlie Austin, who had looked every inch a past-his-sell-by-date player in the past three months, silenced the critics by ending a barren run of 11 games without a league goal thanks to his headed finish ten minutes after the restart.


Tonight’s victory was a clear statement of intent which underlined QPR's promotion credentials. The West Londoners are becoming better and better and harder to break down as the season goes on.


After suffering a 4-1 trashing at Fulham in mid-October, Warburton’s once-leaky defence has only shipped four goals in six games. One of many reasons for optimism. But the most significant news of the night was Austin’s return to goalscoring ways.


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