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17:05 6th February 2016


MATT Phillips’ late, late goal handed QPR boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink a first home win in charge.

Deadline-day recruit Nasser El Khayati provided the assist for the 88th-minute strike, as Rangers were eventually rewarded for a hard-working display at a windswept Loftus Road.

Earlier, the R’s had the better of first-half proceedings but just couldn’t put the finishing touch to a flurry of opportunities before the interval.

The second period was a much-tighter affair, and it looked like a stalemate was on the cards before El Khayati and Phillips combined to fire Rangers to victory.

Manager Hasselbaink made one change to his side for this fixture, following our 0-0 draw at Nottingham Forest 10 days ago.

Leroy Fer’s deadline-day loan switch to Swansea City paved the way for Conor Washington to be given a first start since moving from Peterborough United.

QPR started on the front foot – and only a fine double stop from Ipswich goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski denied the home team from taking the lead in the opening minute.

Rangers broke forward with real pace and when the ball was eventually worked to Phillips in the box, his resultant shot saw Bialkowski dive at full stretch to save.

The visiting goalkeeper’s stop fell to a waiting Massimo Luongo on the penalty spot, but Bialkowski recovered in time to keep out the Aussie midfielder, too, reacting well following a low drive.

The R’s were the better side for much of the first half, with further Bialkowski heroics denying the hosts in the 19th minute.

Phillips and Luongo combined excellently down the right, and when the former’s outswinging cross eventually bounced into the path of Junior Hoilett on six yards, the Ipswich custodian sprawled to save at point-blank range.

In fact, Hoilett would enjoy a quintet of first-half opportunities in all. In the 23rd minute, his effort from range was fisted away by Bialkowski, before the Canadian also forced Blues’ custodian into a smart low stop six minutes later.

Five minutes before half-time, meanwhile, Hoilett produced a curling shot from the edge of the box that had Bialkowski scrambling across his line, before the ball flashed just past the upright.

Ipswich’s first effort on target didn’t arrive until three minutes before the break. Alex Smithies saved comfortably, though, from Brett Pitman.

Play soon switched back to the other end. James Perch went close for Rangers, driving at the side-netting from close range following a Phillips cross.

Hoilett’s final effort of the half came shortly before half-time. His rising effort flew just inches past the left-hand post.

There wasn’t much to separate the teams at the beginning of the second period, with the blustery conditions making it difficult to gain control.

Hasselbaink opted for a first change just short of the hour mark, as Daniel Tozser replaced Ale Faurlin.

Chances were less forthcoming after the interval. In the 63rd minute, Phillips’ low blast from 30 yards didn’t really trouble Bialkowski, as the ball trickled just wide of the left-hand post.

In the 69th minute, meanwhile, recent capture Washington worked a chance for himself – that after turning well in the box – but shot over from 12 yards.

Moments after that effort, Hasselbaink threw on crowd favourite Jamie Mackie, in place of Hoilett, as Rangers went in search of an elusive opener.

Decent football from the R’s ended with Luongo shooting from 25 yards in the 78th minute, but that effort wasn’t strong enough to trouble Bialkowski. 

A minute later, Rangers ‘keeper Smithies fashioned a stunning reaction stop to deny Freddie Sears, who shot from all of three yards when the ball eventually darted into his path in the penalty area.

QPR’s third and final substitution arrived in the 80th minute. Washington came off, with El Khayati brought on for his Hoops debut.

It proved to be an inspired switch from Hasselbaink, with the deadline-day signing laying on what would be a match-winning goal two minutes from time.

El Khayati took possession on the right-hand edge of the box and his subsequent centre was to perfection, as Phillips stole in at the back post to head home.

Loftus Road erupted – and the R’s would go on to survive late pressure from the visitors during five nail-biting minutes of stoppage time.

One-nil to the Super Hoops.
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