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14:30 23rd January 2016


SEBASTIAN Polter’s fourth goal in five appearances wasn’t enough to earn all three points, as Rangers drew 1-1 against Wolves at Loftus Road.

The in-form German attacker headed home a Matt Phillips free-kick after just two minutes to hand QPR the advantage in front of the live Sky Sports cameras.

But Wolves equalised three minutes after half-time through James Henry, and with the aid of a double deflection, leaving R’s goalkeeper Alex Smithies with little chance.

Tjaronn Chery missed a fine opportunity to win it for Rangers in the dying embers, striking the left-hand post following good work from new recruit Conor Washington, but the spoils were ultimately shared.

Following last weekend’s 3-0 win at Rotherham United, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink named an unchanged team for the visit of Wolves – managed by former QPR assistant boss Kenny Jackett.

Meanwhile, there was a place on the R’s bench for new signing Washington, the striker who joined from League One outfit Peterborough United in midweek.

Fellow recent recruit Matt Ingram, the goalkeeper who moved from Wycombe Wanderers on Friday, was ineligible for selection owing to the timing of his transfer.

Rangers came flying out of the traps in this lunchtime kick-off, taking the lead in only the second minute.

Following a foul on Polter by visiting defender Danny Batth towards the left-hand touchline, QPR threw bodies forward as Phillips prepared to whip a free-kick into the box.

The R’s winger subsequently sent over a lovely, in-swinging delivery and when Polter – who won the original set-piece – beat his marker and rose highest, he powdered a header home past former Hoops loanee Carl Ikeme.

The perfect start for Rangers and, just two minutes later, the home side threatened again.

Fine work from Massimo Luongo eventually ended with the Aussie freeing James Perch down the right, who finished a lung-busting run with a cross into the penalty area that so nearly found the head of Polter. Leroy Fer picked up the loose ball and shot from an acute angle at the back post, but he could only blaze wide.

Visitors Wolves went close on the quarter-hour mark. Former Brighton loanee Rajiv van La Parra – who impressed for the promotion-chasing Seagulls at Loftus Road in December – broke away from Paul Konchesky down the right. 

Thereafter, he fired dangerously across the face of goal, and it took a timely clearance from R’s captain Nedum Onuoha to protect the hosts’ lead.

Rangers went close to extending that advantage in the 27th minute. The home side were awarded a free-kick for handball 20 yards from the target, before Phillips shot just past the right-hand post.

Nine minutes later, Phillips and Polter combined once more. The former’s centre from the right was to a tee for his German team-mate, whose header forced a smart, low stop from Ikeme in the Wolves net.

The visiting goalkeeper also saved comfortably from Junior Hoilett’s curling effort in the 42nd minute, before the first half ended with Rangers a goal to the good.

Wolves levelled matters in rather-fortuitous circumstances just three minutes after the half-time interval.

Wanderers midfielder James Henry’s shot from 25 yards took two deflections, off Grant Hall and Onuoha respectively, before wrong-footing Smithies and trickling in. The ball also hit the legs of the R’s custodian, but he was unable to keep it out. 

Rangers should have retaken the lead four minutes later. Phillips’ corner from the right eventually fell into the path of Polter who, with his back to goal, subsequently spun and shot straight into the ‘keeper’s hands.

In the 58th minute, another Phillips delivery – this time from a right-flank free-kick – set up Fer 10-yards out, but his header looped over.

Following that chance, a period of lull ensued. 

R’s boss Hasselbaink waited until the 73rd minute before deciding it was time to freshen things up. Chery was brought on, in place of Karl Henry.

The fixture seemed to almost instantly come to life after that. For Rangers, Phillips saw an effort blocked after Konchesky crossed from the left, before QPR custodian Smithies pulled off three separate stops to keep Wolves out.

Matt Doherty, Conor Coady and Dave Edwards were all denied, with this contest now finely poised.

Hasselbaink opted to blood new signing Washington with seven minutes of normal time remaining. He came on for Hoilett.

It was that man Washington who carved open a chance that should have led to Rangers regaining the lead in the 88th minute.

He controlled wonderfully well down the left and when Washington carried the ball forward before passing to fellow substitute Chery in the box, the Dutchman’s resultant effort crashed back off the post.

Four minutes of second-half stoppage time were then added on – but it ended all square.
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