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21:35 5th April 2016


TJARONN Chery came off the bench to salvage QPR a share of the spoils, netting a late, late penalty in stunning style at Elland Road.

Chery picked his spot with some aplomb – for his tenth goal of the season – after Sebastian Polter chased down a lost cause to win a penalty three minutes from the end of normal time.

Earlier, Chris Wood poked home on 70 minutes from close-range to put Leeds in front, but Rangers – backed by 342 travelling supporters – refused to lie down, and gained a plucky point in West Yorkshire.

R’s gaffer Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink freshened things up for the trip to Elland Road, making three changes to the side that succumbed to a narrow 3-2 defeat to Middlesbrough on Friday night.

Massimo Luongo, Junior Hoilett and Conor Washington all returned to the starting XI, with Karl Henry, Chery and Sebastian Polter making way.

Alex Smithies continued in goal, behind a back four of skipper Nedum Onuoha, Grant Hall, Gabriele Angella and James Perch.

Matty Phillips and Hoilett occupied the wide midfield roles, with Ale Faurlin partnering Luongo in the middle of the park.

In attack, Jamie Mackie played just off R’s number nine, Conor Washington.

Leeds handed a first start to young goalkeeper Bailey Peacock-Farrell in place of the suspended Marco Silvestri. 

Elsewhere, Luke Murphy, the scorer in their 2-1 defeat to Rotherham United on Saturday, returned to the starting line-up along with Liam Cooper, Stuart Dallas and Mustapha Carayol.

The hosts began positively, winning two corners in the opening four minutes, both of which QPR cleared with relative ease.

Indeed, it was the Whites who forged the first shot on target in the ninth minute, when Dallas forced Smithies into a routine save from fully 25-yards.

After a slow start, Rangers grew in stature as the clock ticked towards the 15 minute mark.

Hoilett’s deft through ball found Mackie in the box, but Cooper came across to make a fine last-ditch tackle.

The R’s were dealt a blow in the 21st minute when Mackie went down clutching his right hamstring.

The Scotland international punched the turf in disappointment, a clear sign of his frustration, and was soon replaced by Polter.

Polter’s first involvement was typically robust, as he floored Cooper with a strong challenge from behind.

As play switched to the other end, Carayol’s weak shot was easily held by the well-positioned Smithies.

Moments later, Phillips cut in from the left flank and took aim, only to drag his left-footed shot a yard or so wide of the post.

The big man / little man combination of Polter and Washington was causing the Leeds back four problems as the clock ticked towards the break, with a number of strong, but fair, challenges from the pair certainly keeping their markers on their toes!

On 38 minutes, Hoilett – who was an increasing presence as the half progressed – fired a shot on target, but Peacock-Farrell was equal to it, saving down low to his right.

Luongo hit a carbon copy effort of his own on the stroke of half-time, as the scoreline remained goalless at the break.

The second period – much like the first – took time to catch fire, with Luke Murphy stinging the palms of Smithies on 54 minutes.

Rangers enjoyed a good spell of pressure around the hour mark, but – in truth – clear-cut chances remained few and far between at either end.

Polter headed Faurlin’s out-swinging cross wide in the 64th minute, but it was the hosts who broke the deadlock six minutes later.

Onuoha's clearing header landed at the feet of Murphy and when his teasing cross fell between Angella and Perch, Wood nipped in to poke the ball past Smithies from inside the six-yard box.

The manner of how the R’s defended in the build-up to the goal would’ve no doubt disappointed Hasselbaink, with Onuoha – with a little more communication from his team-mates – probably in a position to take a touch instead of head clear when there was little pressure on.

Hasselbaink introduced Chery to the fray on 73 minutes, and when he fed Luongo, the Aussie in turn played the ball into the path of Washington, only for the Northern Ireland international to shoot straight at Peacock-Farrell.

The R’s final throw of the dice arrived in the shape of Nasser El Khayati on 80 minutes, replacing Washington, but it was the Hoops’ other two subs who played their part in the R’s equaliser three minutes from the end of normal time.

Polter chased down a lost cause and when his fine solo run ended with him being sent tumbling to ground inside the box, Chery stepped up to smash home an unstoppable spot-kick.

A point was probably fair on reflection, as thoughts now turn to Saturday’s home clash against Charlton Athletic at Loftus Road.
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