17:00 9th August 2014
Clint Hill’s own goal sees QPR sign off pre-season with slim 1-0 defeat to PAOK at Loftus Road …
QPR warmed up for life back in the Barclays Premier League with a slender 1-0 defeat to Greek outfit PAOK on Saturday.
In the R’s final pre-season fixture, Clint Hill’s own goal midway through the second half was all that could separate the sides at Loftus Road.
Karl Henry and Charlie Austin came close to levelling late on but to no avail as Rangers’ quest for an equaliser ultimately proved elusive.
Harry Redknapp handed Rio Ferdinand and Steven Caulker their Loftus Road bows, while fellow summer signing Jordon Mutch made his first start since arriving from Cardiff City on Tuesday.
Elsewhere, Rob Green, Ale Faurlin and Richard Dunne returned to the starting XI as Redknapp tinkered with his line-up ahead of next weekend’s curtain raiser with Hull City.
It was Mutch who threatened first for the hosts in an evenly-fought opening 15 minutes. Mutch turned his defender before flashing a teasing cross agonisingly across goal, before the midfielder’s neat flick released Junior Hoilett moments later only for an offside flag to halt the move.
Clear-cut chances were few and far between in the first half, however. Eyal Golasa saw a goalbound shot blocked inside the 18-yard box, while Hoilett skewed over from a tight angle after controlling on his chest with the final action of the half.
Rangers, unchanged for the re-start, twice had Green to thank for preserving parity within five minutes of the second period. First to clutch Stefanos Athanasiadis’ volley from Robert Mak’s centre, before a combination of Green and the woodwork denied the duo with the visitors’ next attack. This time Green was at full stretch to parry from Mak, while Athanasiadis could only turn the rebound onto the post.
Redknapp responded by making a triple change shortly before the hour mark. Defensive duo Dunne and Ferdinand made way for Clint Hill and Nedum Onuoha, while Bobby Zamora replaced Hoilett in attack.
But it was a substitute from the Greek side which ultimately made the difference. Facunda Pereyra found space behind the R’s backline, before his teasing centre across the six-yard line was inadvertently turned into his own net by Hill at the back post.
Redknapp shuffled his pack again from the re-start, introducing Matty Phillips and Henry at the expense of Danny Simpson and Faurlin.
And it was Henry who almost provided an immediate response. The midfielder let fly from distance, forcing Glykos Panagiotis to tip over in acrobatic fashion. Rangers threatened again from the resulting corner but Austin’s header was cleared off the line.
Meanwhile, Pereyra wasted the chance to double the Greeks’ lead by firing straight into Green’s arms from 12 yards.
At the other end, Austin headed over in stoppage time as attentions now turn to the serious business of Hull City’s arrival in W12 and the season opener in seven days’ time.
QPR: Green, Simpson (Phillips 68), Caulker, Ferdinand (Hill 57), Dunne (Onuoha 57), Wright-Phillips, Barton, Faurlin (Henry 68), Mutch, Hoilett (Zamora 57), Austin.
Subs not used: Murphy, Harriman, Doughty.