Ball's late cracker lifts Rangers to 3-2 win over Cardiff City
By Charlie Stong at Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium Queens Park Rangers 3
Cardiff City 2
A 25-yard injury time screamer from Dominic Ball gave Queens Park Rangers a 3-2 win over Cardiff City during a frenetic finish at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium this afternoon.
Rangers looked to have thrown away a two-goal lead when Joe Ralls equalised in the 85th-minute.
But Ball’s strike gave the R’s their first win in seven games – to go with their first goals in four.
Rangers would have been confident of the win after strikes from Ilias Chair and Todd Kane put them in a commanding position at the break.
But a penalty from Ralls three minutes into the second half - and the second Rolls strike, this time following up a penalty saved by Rangers ‘keeper Seny Dieng, looked to have earned a point for the Bluebirds – until the late drama.
R’s boss Mark Warburton would have wanted a reaction after the 3-0 midweek loss at Barnsley – and that’s exactly what he got, particularly in a dominant first period.
Bright Osayi-Samuel made the starting 11 again after being left out of the defeat in Yorkshire following reports of stalled contract negotiations and a possible move to Celtic.
And Rangers should have been ahead as early as the third minute. Lyndon Dykes’ cute ball found Albert Adomah free in the inside right position, but his shot, with the outside of his right foot, was tipped over by former QPR goalkeeper Alex Smithies.
Five minutes after that a cross from the left by Yoann Barbet was headed behind by Sean Morrison, and Barbet volleyed over from the resulting corner.
The home side deservedly took the lead on 15 minutes, when Tom Carroll’s ball played in the bright Adomah down the right. His cross to the back post was acrobatically volleyed into the ground by Ilias Chair, then bounced up over Smithies and into the goal.
Rangers wore a commemorative kit of red and white halved shirts, black shorts and black socks – harking back to the 1975-76 season when they missed out on the First Division title by just one point – and the following year when they drew 3-3 at Slovan Bratislava in a game considered to be one of the best away performances ever by a QPR team.
And R’s fans on social media were calling for the kit to be worn every week, when on 27 minutes it was 2-0.
Chair beat his man down the left and Todd Kane, standing on the edge of the penalty area, slammed the ball into the top right-hand corner.
Chair could – and should - have made the game safe on the stroke of half-time, but he put his shot wide when under little pressure.
Rangers’ hearts would have been in their mouths three minutes after the restart.
Barbet brought down Keiffer Moore in the box. Referee Andy Woolmer had the simplest of decisions in awarding Cardiff a spot-kick, but Barbet avoided the red card handed out to fellow centre-half Rob Dickie at Oakwell on Tuesday which changed that game for the worse for the Rs.
Joe Ralls calmly slotted in for 2-1 and Cardiff were back in the game.
The Welsh side were much better in the second half. Junior Hoilett seeing two chances escape him – one a header from a long throw, on to which he could not generate sufficient power, the other a shot wide from range.
At the other end Adomah’s flick goalwards was easily saved by Smithies.
But when a long ball into the Rangers box was handled by Conor Masterson – and Rolls followed-up his saved penalty, the points looked to have been shared.
Until, that was, Ball’s rasping drive gave Smithies no chance and sent Rangers into dreamland.
QPR: Seny Dieng, Todd Kane, Yoann Barbet, Lyndon Dykes, Ilias Chair, Bright Osayi-Samuel, Geoff Cameron, Tom Carroll, Conor Masterson, Niko Hamalainen, Albert Adomah
Subs: Liam Kelly, Macauley Bonne, Dominic Ball, Chris Willock, Osman Kakay, Faysal Bettache, Charlie Kelman
Referee: Andy Woolmer