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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
16:50 11th January 2014
By  @OfficialQPR

IPSWICH 1, QPR 3

RANGERS registered a timely win in their pursuit of promotion, claiming a 3-1 victory over fellow high-fliers Ipswich Town at Portman Road.

Niko Kranjcar sent Rangers on their way with a superb solo effort shortly after half-time, before Gary O’Neil added a second goal in the 66th minute.

Substitute Armand Traore put the result beyond doubt eight minutes later.

Tommy Smith struck a consolation goal for Ipswich in second-half injury time.

Victory keeps QPR in touch with the Championship automatic promotion places, with Harry Redknapp’s men just a point off Burnley in second spot.

R’s boss Redknapp made five changes to his side following last weekend’s third-round FA Cup exit at Everton.

Rob Green, Richard Dunne, Tom Carroll, Yossi Benayoun and Kranjcar all came into the starting XI.

Traore, Matty Phillips, Nedum Onuoha and Karl Henry dropped down to the bench, while Julio Cesar – who made his first Rangers start of the season last Saturday against the Toffees – missed out altogether.

The game experienced a rather untidy start, with both sides unable to take control of possession.

Rangers fashioned the first attempt inside the first 10 minutes. Carroll’s cross was met by Benayoun, however, with his back to goal, the Israeli missed the target.

O’Neil also sent an effort over the bar in the 12th minute.

For the home side, top scorer David McGoldrick went closest yet when he fizzed a shot just past the upright six minutes later.

Ipswich grew into the fixture as the first half progressed and QPR somehow survived a goalmouth scramble in the 25th minute, with Green pulling off an excellent reaction stop in the midst of the action.

Tractor Boys skipper Luke Chambers then blasted over just moments later.

At the other end, Rangers responded with a free-flowing move that ended with O’Neil crossing low from the left, but his centre was turned away at the back post.

The R’s went even closer in the 33rd minute. O’Neil was again involved, hanging up a cross for Charlie Austin from the right before the striker’s subsequent header forced a fantastic one-handed save from Dean Gerken.

QPR were now enjoying their best spell of the half but saw their flow interrupted when Joey Barton was forced off through injury in the 39th minute. Henry took his place.

Green endured a heart-stopping moment just before half-time when he failed to hold a Cole Skuse effort from range – though fortunately the goalkeeper reacted in time to grasp the ball away from the onrushing McGoldrick.

Green was called into action again just a minute after the break, saving comfortably from Paul Taylor.

Rangers took the lead in the 52nd minute with their first effort of the second period.

Kranjcar got the goal, displaying fine individual skill after controlling a Benoit Assou-Ekotto throw-in before holding off three challenges and scoring low past Gerken.

The R’s all-but guaranteed victory with a second goal 14 minutes later.

Austin’s 25-yard effort was spilled by Gerken – and O’Neil was on hand to tap home the loose ball.

Redknapp made a second change to his side soon after, with Armand Traore replacing Benayoun.

And it was Traore who added gloss to the scoreline in the 74th minute.

Smith failed to deal with Clint Hill’s hopeful long ball forward and when Traore raced through on goal, he slotted coolly past Gerken.

Ipswich replied when Smith sent home a wonderfully-taken volley from a corner in second-half stoppage time - but it was scant consolation for the hosts.
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