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17:42 16th January 2016


JIMMY Floyd Hasselbaink celebrated his first win as QPR boss, thanks to second half goals from Junior Hoilett, Matty Phillips and Sebastian Polter at The New York Stadium. 

Hoilett opened the scoring on 52 minutes with a well-taken solo goal, before Phillips made it two just three minutes later.

The win, Rangers’ first in eight league games under Hasselbaink, was clinched in the final minute of normal time, when Polter tapped home from close-range, much to the delight of the 1,200-plus travelling Hoops faithful.

Hasselbaink made two changes following Tuesday’s 1-1 draw at Blackburn Rovers.

Following a recent elbow injury, Alex Smithies returned in goal, with Joe Lumley dropping to the bench.

The back four remained the same, with skipper Nedum Onuoha partnering Grant Hall at centre-back, and James Perch and Paul Konchesky occupying the full-back berths.

With Ale Faurlin ruled out owing to illness, Hasselbaink recalled Massimo Luongo into the starting XI, alongside Karl Henry in central midfield.

Phillips and Leroy Fer started on the flanks, with Hoilett playing in behind in-form striker Sebastian Polter.

On a freezing afternoon in South Yorkshire, it was the hosts who started the game on the front foot.

A defensive slip from Phillips in the third minute allowed Matt Derbyshire an early sighter on goal, but his curled effort from an acute angle was palmed away by the returning Smithies.

Smithies has to be at his agile best again to thwart another Millers attack two minutes later when Henry’s miscued clearance appeared to be heading into his own goal, only for the R’s keeper to tip the ball to safety.

Rangers were second best as the half reached its midway point, with a Hoilett shot – which finished well wide – all the R’s could muster.

A lick of paint denied the hosts the goal their first half performance probably just about deserved on 29 minutes, when Paul Green’s curler from 18-yards cannoned back off the upright – possibly via the gloves of Smithies – before Derbyshire’s follow up hit the side netting via the aid of Onuoha’s deflection. 

At the other end, Hall’s downward header was saved at point-blank range by former R’s keeper Lee Camp, as the R’s looked to get a foothold in the game for the first time.

The Millers continued to orchestrate proceedings as the half neared its conclusion, with Danny Ward heading just wide of Smithies’ left hand post six minutes before the break.

Despite a lacklustre first half showing, Rangers made the perfect start to the second period.

Seven minutes into the half, Hoilett evaded a couple of challenges, was sent stumbling to ground, but somehow picked his spot to hand the R’s the advantage with a well-placed left-footed strike into the bottom corner. 

Three minutes later the travelling supporters – 1, 286 of them in the Mears Stand which the R’s were attacking in the second half – were on their feet once again, as Phillips made it two!

Having evaded the last line of the Millers defence thanks to Kirk Broadfoot’s slip, the winger – played in by Luongo – was gifted the time and space to double the visitors’ advantage with a fine finish, for his fifth goal of the season.

Buoyed by their purple patch at the start of the second half, Hasselbaink’s men were in the groove now – with Fer’s audacious flicked effort from a corner flying wide on the hour.

Smithies continued to impress on his first outing in the R’s goal since mid-September, ably collecting a series of routine crosses, as the hosts looked for an avenue back into the match.

But it was Rangers and Fer – who was instrumental in the visitors’ improved second half display - who continued to pose the greater attacking threat, with the Dutchman curling a yard or so wide on 74 minutes.

The R’s boss made a double change four minutes from the end of normal time, as Jamie Mackie and Tjarron Chery replaced goalscorers Hoilett and Phillips respectively. 

Both players received standing ovations – and the game was made safe in the final minute.

Another blistering counter-attack ended with Fer picking out Polter at the back post and the big German slotted home with aplomb to cap a quite brilliant second half performance.

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