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16:56 19th March 2016


QPR conceded an injury-time goal at Preston this afternoon to deny them all three points.

Seb Polter headed the R’s into a fifth minute lead at Deepdale but just when it looked like Rangers would pick up their third consecutive win, substitute Eoin Doyle headed an equaliser in the 92nd minute.

Hasselbaink made one change from the side that beat Brentford and Derby at Loftus Road, with Jamie Mackie coming in for Matt Phillips, who had picked up a knock.

It meant Alex Smithies lined up in goal, with James Perch, Clint Hill, Gabriele Angella and Nedum Onuoha making up the back four.

Mackie began on the right of midfield with Junior Hoilett on the left, and Ale Faurlin partnering Karl Henry in the centre of the park.

The in-form Tjaronn Chery lined up in the hole behind Polter.

And the R’s wasted no time stamping their mark on this game, taking the lead with their first attack of the match.

Faurlin’s initial deep free-kick was flicked behind for a corner, from which the Argentinian picked out Polter, who was completed unmarked at the far post and powered his header beyond Anders Lindegaard from six yards.

In the tenth minute Jordan Hugill headed over for the Lilywhites with their first effort on goal, following a good delivery from the left by Callum Robinson.

On 16 minutes Hill had to be alert to thwart Adam Reach who was bearing down on goal at the near post, with the R’s defender forcing the ball wide.

The hosts were certainly putting Rangers under pressure, and moments later Greg Cunningham saw his 25-yard effort deflected wide.

But gradually QPR wrestled control back in this game and in the 23rd minute Polter did brilliantly to get on the end of Henry’s far post centre, heading back across the face of goal, but there was no team-mate to prod the ball into the back of the net.

The German striker then warmed the palms of Lindegaard moments later with a low drive from 25 yards.

Onuoha then went on a lung-busting 70-yard run with the ball, before squaring for Chery in the Preston box, but the home defence were able to smother the danger.

As the Lilywhites looked to break, with Onuoha out of position, it was Polter who raced 40 yards to provide cover and slow the home team’s attack.

It was a passage of play which really summed up how QPR have been playing under Hasselbaink, being adventurous while working hard for each other.

Reach saw his edge-of-the-box effort go wide on 35 minutes as Rangers continued to frustrate their hosts. Preston were enjoying plenty of possession, but in areas QPR were comfortable for them to have it in.

However, Hill was forced into an excellent defensive header moments later to clear the danger from Cunningham’s centre, while Smithies’ handling had to be good to thwart another ball into the R’s box.

As the opening half drew to a close, Hasselbaink will no doubt have been delighted with the disciplined approach from his side, who were happy to sit in and look to catch Preston on the break.

In the second half, QPR’s counter-attacking style almost worked to great effect in the 52nd minute when Hoilett brilliantly won possession in the centre of the pitch, allowing Chery to free Polter down the left, but the striker’s low shot was well blocked by the retreating Preston defence.

Three minutes later the impressive Hoilett combined brilliantly with Faurlin, enabling the central midfielder to burst into the Preston box, but he was charged down as he looked to shoot.

On 62 minutes, Rangers came so close to doubling their advantage. Hoilett was again the architect, freeing Polter on the left byline, and the R’s front man slid the ball right across the face of goal but no-one was in a position to tap the ball into the back of the net, while Faurlin’s follow-up shot from the edge of the area was blocked.

At the other end of the pitch, Faurlin pulled off a brilliantly-timed last-ditch tackle to deny Reach as he shaped to shoot in the R’s penalty box, while Hill moments later produced another fine defensive header to frustrate the Lilywhites.

After some excellent play by Henry to win the ball, he freed Chery who in turn released Hoilett on the left. The Canadian international attempted a repeat of hs goal against Brentford but was unable to find the back of the net on this occasion, with Lindegaard comfortably gathering.

With a little over ten minutes remaining, Hasselbaink brought Mass Luongo on for Mackie.

Chery almost broke clear of the Preston defence on 80 minutes before being held back by Tom Clarke. Clarke was evidently the last man, and yet was only booked for his indiscretion, to the surprise of the R’s players.

From the resultant free-kick, Chery’s effort from 35 yards flew inches wide, with the Preston stopper rooted to the spot.

Seconds later, the Dutchman got beyond the home defence again and only had the keeper to beat, but his low shot was well saved by the out-rushing Lindegaard.

In the closing stages, Chery was replaced by the returning Grant Hall, as Hasselbaink looked to secure maximum points.

But deep in injury time, sub Doyle headed home at the near post to break Rangers hearts on an afternoon when they had worked tirelessly all over the park.

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