Reading: Al Habsi, Gunter, Moore Van den Berg, Obita, Williams, Kelly, Swift, McCleary, Beerens, Kermorgant
QPR: Smithies, Furlong, Onuoha, Lynch, Bidwell, Hall, Luongo, Manning (Doughty 85′), Wszolek, Mackie (Comley 92′), Sylla (Lualua 70′)
Within 5 minutes of the game you could see how Queens Park Rangers were going to try and stall Reading. Hall was key to their plan, moving between centre-back and central midfield. For the first 15 minutes QPR stalled reading and their plan was working to perfection.
After 27 minutes QPR took the lead through Jamie Mackie after Sylla had put through Wszolek who then laid it back to Manning whose secret pass across the Reading box fell at Mackies feet to smash in.
Two chances followed up for QPR with Reading being caught in possession in their own half. QPR were unlucky to not be going into the break 2-0 up with Mackie and Sylla both missing good opportunities.
The second half started very open with Rangers formation having a couple of gaps but Reading were also vulnerable at the back.
You would have expected Reading to come out stronger but the majority of the chances were going Queens Park Rangers’ way. QPR were unlucky to score when Lynch’s effort was cleared off the line after a Manning corner. Sylla also came close to doubling QPR’s lead after his shot was deflected wide.
Reading gave their west London rivals a warning when Kermogant’s header hit the woodwork and went over.
In the 70th minute QPR new boy Lualua came on in replacement of Sylla. The disappointment on Guinean’s face was evident as he appeared surprised to be taken off. Lualua however nearly scored with his first touch for his new club but scuffed the ball for Al Habsi to save.
Into the last 10 minutes it was one way traffic and Reading were piling on the pressure. Rangers however stood strong and held out for the 1-0 win.
The effort of the QPR players was very noticeable, all 11 players ran their socks off and well deserved the 3 points.
Smithies had little to do all game but apart from one poor kick in the first half, made little-to-no mistakes in the rest of the game. The back four of Bidwell, Onuoha, Lynch and Furlong battled together very well and held their shape well which allowed very little penetration from Reading. Furlong had a good return to the QPR side and was very solid. Hall who was a key part of the QPR defence managed the game perfectly, filling in in defence when needed and allowing Luongo and Manning the freedom to go forward when in attack. Ryan Manning started his third game in a row and this was by far his best. He put his body on the line every time the ball came near him. Even putting his head on the line against Swift’s boot on the edge of the area. Luongo provided attacking threat and threaded lots balls through to Sylla and Wszolek. Mackie got the only goal in the game with a delightful finish and was unlucky not to get a second with his shot 2 minutes later just going wide. Sylla held the ball terrifically when in attack and it speaks a lot his passion for the club when his expression at being told to come off. The man of the match however has to go Pawel Wszolek who didn’t stop running. Alongside with his effort was lots of skill, he took on players and beat them.
The passion was clear from the QPR players and Holloway described how he was “bursting with pride” with the performance in his post match interview. It’s now three on the bounce for QPR and they are moving up the league into fifteenth.
Article by @GusSkinner