QPR UNDER-21s continued their recent revival with a 2-1 victory over Cardiff on Monday afternoon.
Goals in either half from Frankie Sutherland and Tom Hitchcock secured back-to-back wins for Marc Bircham’s troops at Harlington.
Sutherland converted at the second time of asking from the penalty spot 12 minutes before half-time before Hitchcock sealed maximum points with a lobbed header on the hour mark.
Cardiff rallied in the closing stages and forced a late consolation but the R’s rearguard stood firm to collect maximum points.
Under-21s boss Bircham opted to use his full quota of over-age players, handing starts to Anton Ferdinand, Fabio da Silva and Ale Faurlin.
And it was the latter who came closest to breaking the deadlock in style after just eight minutes. Faurlin’s audacious flick from Sutherland’s corner was goalbound until the intervention of visiting ‘keeper Joe Lewis, who clawed the ball to safety.
Two minutes later Lewis was called upon again but was down smartly to make a routine save from Michael Doughty’s curled effort on the edge of the area.
The R’s enjoyed long spells of possession throughout the opening period but almost fell victim to Filip Kiss’ long-range strike on 26 minutes. The Cardiff midfielder was allowed room to shoot but dragged his effort wide of Brian Murphy’s near post.
Bircham’s side soon made their superiority count just after the half-hour mark as Kiss hauled down Faurlin inside the area to give Sutherland the chance to open the scoring from 12 yards.
Lewis dived to his left to keep out the frontman’s spot-kick but Sutherland made no mistake from the rebound, firing the R’s into the lead twelve minutes before the break.
The Bluebirds improved as the half progressed and wasted a golden opportunity to level in injury time. Ben Nugent was unmarked from Stephen McPhail’s centre but lifted his header over the crossbar.
Rangers began the second period the brighter of the two sides and Fabio, playing in an advanced position down the left flank, was next to test Lewis at his near post six minutes after the interval.
But it wasn’t long until the hosts doubled their lead as indecision in the Cardiff defence on the hour mark allowed Hitchcock to head the ball over Lewis from close range.
Rangers looked comfortable as the game wore on but found themselves backpedalling after being caught out on the counter-attack.
Luke Coulson raced away down the right flank for City before slotting the ball underneath Murphy to set up a grandstand finish with six minutes remaining.
The visitors poured forward in search of an unlikely equaliser but Rangers’ defence weathered the late storm to secure a narrow but deserved victory.
QPR: Murphy, Harriman, Sendles-White, Champion, Ferdinand (Parmenter 70), Ehmer, Sutherland, Fabio (Gibbons 60), Doughty, Hitchcock, Faurlin (Francis 77)
Unused subs: Simmonds, Trani