Darnell Furlong's the one that got away for QPR as ex-Hoops keeps delivering the goods
Burnley 1-1 West Bromwich Albion
There is a general consensus among many Championship supporters that Darnell Furlong is one of the finest right-backs in this division.
Part of West Bromwich’s dramatic turnaround since Spaniard Carlos Corberan took over, the former QPR player shone once again as the Baggies succumbed to a 2-1 defeat at the Championship’s finest side Burnley.
His breakthrough goal and determined defending prevented the Baggies from a battering as Vincent Kompany’s table toppers relied on a moment of individual brilliance from a set-piece to get the better of the Hawthorns outfit.
And the son of ex-Chelsea striker Paul confirmed what has now been an open secret since 2019, the year he left Loftus Road to boost his chances of playing in the Premier League.
Osman Kakay, Ethan Laird, Todd Kane, Angel Rangel... QPR have alternated a bunch of right-backs in recent years but never really replaced Darnell who can efficiently deal with any wing-back and also offers a lot going forward if the game allows it.
Self-assurance is his default setting and it takes a hell of a performance to outsmart him.
On Friday night he was of the finest Baggies throughout and it took him only seven minutes to put his team ahead with an unlikely and well-taken header following a corner.
It was his second of the campaign after netting in the 5-2 win over Hull City earlier in the season under sacked boss Steve Bruce.
Two is also the total of the number of goals the Luton-born right-back scored in 72 QPR games spread over four seasons.
His defensive-minded performance may have affected him going forward, thus barring one time in the opening exchanges, he was not really adventurous but instead focused on the task at hand, playing an intelligent defensive game against the leading force of the Championship. He demonstrated an ability to remain concentrated for 90 minutes, with his intensity levels never dropping. As a result, Anass Zaroury and Josh Brownhil were unable to stretch him.
Furlong was solid, shielded the ball very well and when needed made some clever tactical fouls. There are no doubtst hat his natural understanding of the game and experience are two vital assets for the Birmingham club if they are to return to the Premier League.
Unfortunately, in the end all of his hard work down the right was undone by a Tella's equaliser down the other flank and Scott Twine’s free-kick.
A key part of West Brom’s shock promotion bid, QPR still wish they had him as they aim to get back into the mix.
One of the major rivals in their mission to sneak into the top-six by May? Furlong’s Baggies.