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22:00 15th December 2014


RANGERS’ wait for a Premier League away win this season will continue into Christmas following a 3-1 reverse against Everton at Goodison Park.

In a fixture that never really got going as a spectacle, goals from Ross Barkley, Kevin Mirallas and Steven Naismith won it for Roberto Martinez’s men, who moved up to 10th in the table with victory.

Bobby Zamora added a consolation strike for QPR in the 80th minute, now in 18th spot following the defeat.

Harry Redknapp made four changes to his R's side – two enforced – after last weekend's 2-0 home success over Burnley.

Both top scorer Charlie Austin (suspended) and Steven Caulker (head) missed the trip to Merseyside. Zamora was rested, while Karl Henry also sat out.

So Junior Hoilett, Jordon Mutch, Nedum Onuoha and Matt Phillips all deputised.

Rangers settled well at a relatively muted Goodison Park, against an Everton side experiencing indifferent form so far this term.

Eduardo Vargas saw a shot blocked early on, while Phillips blasted just over the crossbar following a corner soon after.

Groans were descending around Goodison after a slow Everton start, though the home side did almost strike on the counter attack come the 13th minute.

Naismith broke down the left before sending over a low cross for Romelu Lukaku in the penalty area, who was just unable to meet the dangerous centre. Onuoha did well to put the striker off.

But the natives were still somewhat restless. Naismith drove low at Rob Green in the 22nd minute.

However, the home support almost saw their side lead in the 26th minute.

Seamus Coleman’s low centre was met by Naismith just inside the box – but team-mate Lukaku was in the way of the Scot’s subsequent effort.

Mirallas then also threatened when firing only inches over the target moments later.

Everton’s goal eventually arrived in the 33rd minute. Rangers surrendered possession in midfield and when Barkley sped deeper into the visiting half, his subsequent 20-yard thunderbolt – with the help of a deflection off Mauricio Isla – flew past Green.

A second deflection saw the Hoops fall further behind just before half-time.

The home side won a free-kick just outside the area and, when Mirallas stepped up, his effort took a wicked nick off Vargas before finding the bottom left-hand corner.

Aiden McGeady nearly added a third goal shortly after, his curling shot almost finding the same corner.

That was pretty much it in terms of first-half action. This had been a half with no real cutting edge and plenty of misplaced passes.

However, crucially, Rangers were two goals behind – and were now left facing the toughest of uphill struggles to get back into the contest.

QPR had the first chance of the second period from a corner, Richard Dunne swiping over in the 52nd minute.

But Everton put the result beyond doubt just a minute later. Redknapp’s team were unable to clear their lines and when McGeady eventually crossed for Naismith, he headed beyond Green and in.

Rangers made a change on the hour mark, Zamora brought on for Phillips. Leroy Fer, meanwhile, blazed over after the R’s broke forward on 63 minutes.

Two minutes later, Mutch pushed over the bar from an Isla centre.

The R’s did string some tidy passing moves together although lacked conviction in the final third. Hoilett shot well over as the final quarter hour approached. Fer was replaced by Niko Kranjcar with 13 minutes left on the clock.

Zamora pulled a goal back for QPR in the 80th minute. Hoilett and Mutch combined and when the latter shot for Tim Howard to parry, the R’s forward tapped in from close range.

Soon after, Everton broke as Rangers attempted to add a second, Coleman’s stinger beaten away by Green.

The play opened up following Zamora’s late strike. Substitute Kranjcar shot low at Howard towards the death.

But the R’s were unable to make any further inroads – the score remaining 3-1 come the full-time whistle, despite Samuel Eto’o striking the foot of the post late on.
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