Frustrated QPR rocked by late Reading winner
Queens Park Rangers 0 Reading 1
Julian Taylor at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium
Birthday boy Michael Olise grabbed a late winner for the Royals of Reading as frustrated QPR had their pockets picked with an exquisite finish. It was a real French fancy from the 19 year old substitute - a curling left foot shot from 25 yards past the despairing dive of QPR keeper Seny Dieng.
It seemed QPR were poised for a point in a tightly-contested game where, until the 88th minute breakthrough, profligacy in front of goal was the order of the day.
The R’s were up against opponents in the promotion zone and found, in the Royals, a composed, well-drilled side who were constantly alive to threats from all areas of the pitch. And they made Mark Warburton’s men pay in dramatic style.
QPR have now dropped a place, to 19th, in the Championship table as a result. If there is any consolation to be gauged from this by Warburton in the cold light of day, the amount of aggression on show against promotion contenders was fairly encouraging. What a shame for QPR that they simply switched off at the climax.
With supporters permitted back into the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium, albeit in limited numbers of 2,000, could this lift a home side who were without a win in their last four games? Sadly not, for the luckless R's.
The manager made just the single change from the line-up which drew at Millwall in midweek, with Chris Willock coming in for Dominic Ball, who had to settle for a place on the bench. QPR fans were excited to see if the burgeoning relationship between Lyndon Dykes and Bright Osayi-Samuel could pay off in an attacking sense. Dangerman Osayi-Samuel was being detailed by Reading full back Omar Richards early on as the Royals were hoping to restrict the service to Dykes, QPR’s bustling Scotland international striker. Osayi-Samuel ended up a frustrated figure, though, substituted in the latter stages, unable to pick the lock.
Despite sitting a lowly 18th in the Championship table going into this clash against their fifth-placed opponents, the west Londoners sparked with initiative and Ilias Chair stung the hands of Reading keeper Rafael Cabral in nine minutes, as the Moroccan hoped to emulate his eye-catching goal against Millwall.
Sone Aluko tried his luck for the visitors shortly after, but his shot from the edge of the penalty area went a fraction wide. However, while Reading appeared threatening on the counter-attack, it was QPR who held the ascendency in terms of possession and instinct. It was to be a short afternoon for Richards, meanwhile, with the Reading player hobbling off injured in 27 minutes, replaced directly by Lewis Gibson.
Unsurprisingly, Osayi-Samuel was the main outlet for host attacks, and although the winger crept into the danger area regularly, too often his final ball was lacking. Moreover, the R’s, for all their industry, were missing obvious conviction in the final third. Such frustration was encapsulated when, five minutes before the interval, Osman Kakay was too slow to turn an Osayi-Samuel shot into the net from only four yards out.
Reading boss Veljko Paunovic sent out his men in positive manner at the start of the second half, and they pressed QPR high up with the hosts living a little dangerously on occasion. Yet neither keeper was seriously troubled for long spells, with Reading captain Liam Moore in particular always alert to the probings of Osayi-Samuel, and Dykes found himself well policed by centre back Michael Morrison.
Warburton threw on local Shepherds Bush hero Albert Adomah for Willock to try and inject extra dynamism for QPR with the deadlock still to be broken.
Chair, as ever, was keen - and went the closest all day for the R's. The wily operator contrived to bend a lovely 22 yard shot which cannoned off the inside of Cabral’s post and away from danger. This was, regrettably for the enthusiastic fans in W12, an afternoon not to be splashed with Chair’s trademark ingenuity.
That honour fell to Olise who, with QPR failing to clear comprehensively, took aim and drifted a precise shot home to add the sharpest of colour. The roar from the Reading players at the final whistle reflected just how much they appreciated the stunning slice of craft from their prodigious French midfielder.
QPR: Dieng, Hamalainen, Barbet, Dickie, Kakay (Kane 71), Carroll, Cameron, Willock (Adomah 56), Chair, Osayi-Samuel (Bonne 79), Dykes