QPR give their relegation battle a boost with a 2-0 win over Millwall at Loftus Road
By Paul Lagan at Loftus Road
QPR 2 v Millwall 0
QPR are not out of the woods yet but the 2-0 home win over Millwall will have given them belief that they can avoid the drop from the Championship.
Goals from Llias Chair and Sinclair Armstrong – both with a degree of good fortune attached leave the west Londoners third from bottom and still in the drop-zone with 24 points
Whereas for the South Londoners this was a missed opportunity to show a development in style while still nabbing points.
Millwall boss Joe Edwards will be frustrated at the way the goals were conceded, but also annoyed at the lack of goal-scoring chances.
But they remain 18th, still with a beady eye on those below them, but secure in the knowledge that they should not get pulled into the regelation battle.
QPR boss Marti Cufentes was given a yellow card on three minutes by referee Lewis Smith as his charges looked out of sorts in the opening exchanges.
Millwall, playing from the back looked the more composed of the two sides, but the QPR rearguard soaked up the pressure.
Chair had the first worthwhile effort on goal for the home side on 17 minutes. But his angled curler from the left, while on target, was not a problem for Matija Sarkic.
The QPR faithful were getting restless and frustrated as the Hoops kept the ball in their own half. Several times, when then ball was passed back to goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, the sound of boos and sighs were evident.
But on 28 minutes, excellent possession play which included much square-passing and keep-ball resulted in the ball finally going forward to Chris Willock on the right. He sent in a deep in-swinger and Chair was on hand to bundle the ball towards the Millwall goal line. Several players jumped in to try and clear the ball but. But it eventually crept over the one to give the home side the lead.
Millwall's best chance of the half came on 43 minutes when a sharp counter-attack on the left saw the ball clipped into the centre of the QPR penalty area, but Kevin Nisbet could only sky his first time left-footer into row Z
There were no changes by either side at half-time.
QPR started the second half on the front foot, creating in the parlance of the modern football terminology a 'high press' basically closing down whichever opposition player was nearest to them at the time.
It worked as Millwall struggled to adopt a Plan B when their passing game was put under pressure.
This resulted in lost possession in key areas, which QPR took advantage of.
Willock tried his arm after gaining the ball 25 yards out. But Sarkic easily snaffled the low drive.
Edwards had seen enough and replaced Nisbet with Ryan Longman on 57 minutes.
As QPR tired from those exertions, Millwall gradually got a foothold back in the game and it became more end-to-end.
Edwards soon brought on new loanee Japhet Tanganga and Murray Wallace – off went Joe Bryan and Brooke Norton-Cuffy.
A brilliant goal-line clearance by Reggie Cannon from a Billy Mitchell shot resulted in Millwall fans behind the goal throwing things onto the pitch. With 15 minutes to go.
QPR's first change came with seven minutes left, Willock left then field with Albert Adomah came on.
QPR wrapped up the points a minute later when a low left-footed drive by Jack Colback was spilled by Sarkic and the ball dribbled along the goal line before Armstrong tucked home to double the score.
And that was that.
QPR: Begovic, Colback, Cook, Clarke-Salter, Field, Dykes, Chair, Willock, Cannon, Paal, Armstrong
Subs: Walsh, Dunne, Fox, Dixon-Bonner, Larkeche, Drewe, Pedder, Adomah
Millwall: Sarkic, McNamara, Cooper, Nisbet, Mitchell, Flemming, Bryan, Norton-Cuffy, Watmore, Honeyman, Harding
Subs: Bialkowski, Wallace, Tanganga, Longman, Campbell, Saville, De Norre, Esse, Grant