QPR’s improved winter form was put to a stop as their away form continued to disappoint. Middlesbrough scored twice thanks to Britt Assombalonga as they earned themselves a well-earned victory at Loftus Road.
Championship top scorer Chuba Akpom added two goals in the second half for Michael Carrick’s visitors as they continued their promotion push. Akpom’s double ended QPR resistance following an inert first half performance.
QPR struggled after their relegation from the Premier League, finishing several seasons finishing midtable. Under former manager Ian Holloway they enjoyed greater stability – winning the second division title and reaching the 1986 League Cup final respectively.
Early chances fell to Isaiah Jones, Sammy Silvera, and Morgan Rogers of the hosts; however their efforts were denied by Asmir Begovic’s series of saves in the first-half – including one when Emmanuel Lath headed straight at him from a corner kick.
QPR took an early lead with an excellent move just after half-time, led by Assombalonga’s excellent pass over Ryan Manning and into Assombalonga’s path, before heading home from close range. Soon afterwards Dozzell’s powerful strike and Jack Colback’s second goal put QPR 3-0 ahead – marking their third goal in two games so far!
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Boro had difficulty breaking free of their own half, as Isaiah Jones launched an excellent first-time volley wide from a long ball forward, while Conor Washington’s attempted clearance deflected over the bar in an attempted clearance from Conor Washington was deflected over. Within 10 minutes though, QPR took control with Louza emerging out of nowhere to unleash a stunning shot past Begovic into the far corner for QPR.
At halftime, the hosts made two changes – Matt Smith and Bright Samuel replacing Aramide Oteh and Jake Bidwell – which seemed to give them added impetus, with Byron Moore becoming more dangerous on the counter attack, as well as Albert Adomah’s tempting cross being narrowly missed by Massimo Luongo’s head.
Darren Randolph made an excellent save from Grant Hall’s close range header, and an offside flag denied Paddy McNair a second finish at the back post, but QPR sealed their victory through Andre Dozzell, who last scored for Ipswich Town back in November 2018 via Riley McGree. Andre scored another close range header that Riley McGree set up.
Boro’s season was perfectly represented in this game; they had an early lead but soon found themselves falling back, until by halftime they looked out of it altogether.
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Ian Holloway’s side had been lacking the same guile that enabled them to cause opponents trouble this season, while when they did get forward their final passes often went astray – something which contributed to them failing to take advantage of Black Cats mistakes and scoring only once from open play this season.
Dieng made headlines earlier in the season for his incredible late equaliser against Sunderland. While strong, Dieng lacks the speed other QPR keepers have shown when making saves.
QPR had an inept first half, as they appeared to take an outdated approach to their game plan by trying to hit long balls up to Smith – something which simply wasn’t going to work against an opposition that could defend deep and attack in numbers.
Blackwell made two changes at halftime to try to shake QPR out of their shell; Aramide Oteh and Jake Bidwell were replaced by Matt Smith and Bright Osayi-Samuel, which caused QPR’s attack to fall away, with Massimo Luongo shooting wide from long range and Connor Lynch miscuing an attempt on Randolph. This strategy seemed counterproductive but ultimately took the wind out of QPR’s sails when their dominance faded quickly after changing horses midstream.
Even though warning signs had appeared, the Rs were able to regain the lead when Ryan Manning played Ilias Chair into Ilias Chair’s passing lane, who then played Ilias Chair into Ilias Chair who passed it backwards allowing Wells to head past Lumley and into goal with just time left before Lumley flagged for offside but the goal stood.