QPR LADIES suffered a setback in the bid to beat the drop with defeat at relegation rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday.
Goals either side of half-time sealed the R’s fate, who came away empty-handed for the first time in six outings.
Defeat was another damaging blow to Rangers' quest for survival, falling five points adrift of safety with two games of the league season remaining.
Assistant manager Tony Smith – taking the reins in the absence of first-team boss Martino Chevannes – made two changes from the side which shared four goals with Colchester United last time out. Lorna Gover was restored to the heart of the defence at the expense of Jeta Bytyqi, while Eartha Pond deputised in the absence of midfielder Sarah Staples.
Rangers began brightly as Katie O’Leary twice threatened an early opener, firing harmlessly wide from 18 yards before failing to connect with Kim Meadows’ pull-back with the goal at her mercy. O’Leary’s afternoon came to a cruel end moments later after hurting herself in the process and was replaced by Kirsten Thomson, crucially not before the hosts took full advantage of their temporary numerical advantage with the first goal.
Sloppy play in the R’s defence allowed Robyn McEvoy a shooting opportunity, who made Rangers pay with an exquisite lob over Sophie Cheadle from 20 yards.
Despite falling behind against the run of play, Rangers responded well with a succession of corners. The hosts weathered the pressure as two speculative efforts from Elly Maggs were both smothered by Spurs goalkeeper Jo Ayre.
At the other end, the hosts almost doubled their lead as Cheadle acrobatically tipped over Irene Martin’s dipping volley. The R’s number one was called upon in the last attack before the interval, saving low to her left to deny Sam Pittuck.
Rangers started the second half in similar vein to the first with a succession of set-pieces but again failed to make their dominance count. Maggs saw a low effort blocked while Kasha Petit could only head the resulting corner over.
The hour-mark saw the visitors go close twice again, but both Thomson and Sophie Fogarty skewed their close-range volleys off target.
Defeat was all but confirmed when Tottenham doubled their tally in style on 67 minutes. After the ball fell nicely for Martin, the Spurs midfielder’s sweetly struck 25-yard volley flew past Cheadle’s despairing dive into the top corner.
Worse was almost to follow as Spurs broke with devasting effect ten minutes later. Pittuck raced clear but Cheadle stood firm, clawing the ball away for a corner.
Rangers battle for a reply in the closing stages but their quest for a consolation was to no avail as Spurs ran out winners, inflicting a serious blow to the R's survival credentials.
QPR: Cheadle, Ishmael, Walker, S.Fogarty, Gover, Dempster, Meadows, Maggs, O’Leary (Thomson 13) (Bytyqi 70), Pond, Petit (Samuriwo 81).