ANDY Johnson’s close-range header handed Rangers a morale-boosting pre-season victory over Besiktas in Austria.
Johnson bagged the only goal of the game in the 64th minute at the Seeboden Stadium, as the R’s eased to a deserved win over their Turkish opponents.
The Hoops were good value for the 1-0 victory over the course of the ninety minutes, on a night when four EDS players – in the shape of Michael Harriman, Max Ehmer, Frankie Sutherland and Mo Shariff – all got crucial first team experience under the belt ahead of the new campaign.
As the sun began to set at the Seeboden Stadium, it was Rangers who started on the front foot.
After keeping possession well in the opening exchanges, Junior Hoilett created the first opportunity of note, drifting in from the left flank before seeing his 20-yard shot easily saved.
Chances were few and far between thereafter, but it was Besiktas who went close on 27 minutes, when Tomas Sivok headed former Everton midfielder Manuel Fernandes’s centre a yard or so wide of Bryan Murphy’s left hand post.
Play soon switched to the other end, with Nedum Onouha heading a carbon copy Esteban Granero free-kick wide.
It was goalless at the break, despite Rangers enjoying the lion’s share of territory and possession.
Besiktas made wholesale changes at the break, but Rangers stuck to their guns, with the same eleven taking to the field for the start of the second half.
The Turkish outfit improved at half-time, with substitute Dentinho firing high and wide inside the opening five minutes of the half.
After slowly working their way back into the half, Rangers deservedly took the lead on 64 minutes.
Zamora’s initial centre just evaded the onrushing Johnson, but when Hoilett crossed the ball back in, the strike duo combined to devastating effect, with Johnson heading home Zamora’s header back across goal from close-range.
It was a well-worked goal from the R’s – and fully deserved.
Omer Sismanoglu thrashed a half-chance wide ten minutes later, but it was Rangers – having made seven changes – who saw out the match with ease, to clock up their first win of the pre-season campaign.
QPR: Murphy, Simpson (Harriman 79), Onuoha (Ehmer 79), Hill, Suk-Young, Wright-Phillips (Sutherland 65), Derry (Jenas 65), Granero (Faurlin 65), Hoilett, Zamora (Shariff 65), Johnson (Park 65).
Besiktas: Gonen, Kayhan, Fernandes, Syok, Kaylak, Almeida, Sahan, Escude, Ozyakup, Gulum, Holouko.
Subs: Guvenc, Toraman, Pertemer, Tore, Suzen, Akgun, Franco, Dentinho, Demirci, Sismanoglu.