Dykes strikes but Hoops held 1-1 at Reading as winless run against Royals continues
By Alessandro Schiavone at Madejski Stadium
QPR were held to a 1-1 draw by Reading at the Madejski Stadium as their five-game winless run against The Royals continues.
Lyndon Dykes put the Hoops 1-0 up on the stroke of half-time when he tapped home Lee Wallace’s cross from the left.
Twelve minutes into the second-half Yakou Meite levelled things up for the home side but QPR spurned three clear-cut chances through Stefan Johansen, Dominic Ball and Lee Wallace in the dying stages of the encounter to wrap up all three points for the first time since former skipper Toni Leistner’s strike gifted them a win here two-and-a-half years ago.
Berkshire-born and bred Charlie Austin failed to score in his seventh meeting against the side that released him as a teenager, missing two sitters in the first-half.
Things could have got off to a dismal start for QPR as just one minute after kick-off the west Londoners survived an early scare when Andy Rinomhota saw his effort tipped over by Swiss goalkeeper Deny Sieng after Yoann Barbet had cleared into his path.
But the Hoops were not remotely intimidated by Reading’s initial full-throttle approach and they bravely blocked off every attempt.
And just 10 minutes later their bravery nearly paid off when Charlie Austin could have given his side the lead against the run of play. But the former West Brom man flashed his miscued effort wide after 30-year old Stefan Johansen, who won the promotion to the Premier League with Fulham last year, picked him out. This enterprising attack by QPR was no flash in the pan.
And on the half-hour mark Austin, again, came close to scoring his seventh goal of a prolific campaign since rejoining the club in January. But the 31- year old drove his effort wide from point-blank range after Dykes had set him up in the area.
Mark Warburton’s men grew in confidence and in control of the game and they had another chance to punish Reading’s static rearguard when former Bee Barbet drilled his effort wide following a corner.
In the 37th minute , Michael Olise missed a gilt-edged chance to restore parity when he skied his effort following an incisive attack and cutback by Omar Richards on the left.
On the stroke of half-time QPR finally broke the deadlock when Lee Wallace, after a one-two with Ilias Chair, teed up Dikes for a close-range tap-in. The Australian centre-forward, who had been invisible up to that point, netted his sixth goal of the season as QPR’s dominance finally paid dividends.
Four minutes into the second half, Jordy De Wijs, who scored the winner against Millwall in midweek, was replaced by Geoff Cameron after limping off with an injury.
The Hoops now looked vulnerable without the presence of their charismatic Dutchman and Reading were ready to exploit QPR’s shaky backline. Yakou Meite drew a smart save from Seny Dieng before he made amends for his miss two minutes later when he slammed home the equaliser.
Unable to weather the storm and lay a glove on their opponents, QPR saw their slender lead evaporate in the 57thminute when PSG academy graduate Meite outmuscled Robert Dickie in the area before his thumping effort squeezed through the hapless Dieng’s legs for what was his ninth strike of the campaign.
On the hour-mark, Veljko Paunovic’s side could have completely turned the game on its head in the space of three minutes but Lucas Joao, who brilliantly ran into the channel, skipped past the keeper, but after doing the hard work he missed an open goal from three-yards out. By his own high standards this was an unforgivable schoolboy error by the Portuguese centre-forward, who already has 21 goals to his name this campaign.
But despite the fact that they were largely outplayed and second best since the restart, QPR’s heads did not dip.
After a fair share of let-offs, Warburton’s Hoops took the game to a tiring Reading side again, with substitute Chris Willock rattling Reading’s backline in the last 10 minutes.
In the 80th minute, the 23-year old Londoner saw his deflected shot go out for a corner before Johansen drew a fine save from Rafael after Wallace, who was given licence to gallop forward, had whipped in a dangerous cross from the left.
It was the first time QPR carved out a clear-cut chance since Dykes’ opener at the end of the first half.
Dominic Ball, who replaced an uninspired Chair, rose highest from Dickie’s cross but could not steer his glancing header goalwards five minutes from time.
QPR were now pushing for a winner but another last-gasp opportunity went begging when Wallace, who gave an impressive account of himself today, headed straight at the keeper from a few yards out after Willock’s delivery.
Osman Kakay’s attempted back heel in injury-time did not come off after the ball had dropped invitingly into his path as in-form QPR were left ruing a number of missed opportunities to claim bragging rights against a promotion-chasing side.
Teams: Reading FC
Rafael- Ovie Ejaria-Thomas Holmes-Yakou Meite-Michael Olise-Lucas Joao-Josh Laurent-Andy Rinomhota-Liam Moore-Lewis Gibson-Omar Richards
Queens Park Rangers
Seny Dieng-Osman Kakay-Rob Dickie-Jordy De Wijs-Yoann Barbet-Lee Wallace-Sam Field-Stefan Johansen-Ilias Chair-Charlie Austin-Lyon Dykes