CHARLIE Austin’s fifth strike of the season wasn’t enough for Rangers, as in-form Barnsley continued their fine run of victories – condemning the R’s to only their second league defeat in west London this calendar year.
A fast-paced game which could’ve gone either way, was eventually sealed by three moments of quality from the Tykes.
Daryl Dike gave the visitors the lead half way through the first-half, Rangers levelled through Austin, but an instant reply from Mowatt ensured we went in at the break trailing.
With QPR searching for an equaliser, substitute Carlton Morris sealed the win for the visitors.
As Rangers looked to bounce back from the disappointing weekend defeat to Birmingham City, R’s boss Mark Warburton made three changes to his starting XI. A move which saw QPR returning the same side which beat AFC Bournemouth in the last outing in W12.
This meant Seny Dieng started in goal, with Todd Kane, Rob Dickie, Geoff Cameron, Yoann Barbet and Lee Wallace filling the QPR defensive line.
Whilst Dominic Ball, Stefan Johansen and Ilias Chair occupied the midfield positons, with Lyndon Dykes and Charlie Austin leading the line for the R’s.
This contest burst into life straight from kick-off and as we quickly approached the tenth minute Rangers would’ve felt frustrated not to be ahead.
Initially Johansen picked out Austin at the far post with a great switching ball, but the in-form front man saw his drilled effort skim off of the crossbar and out to safety.
Five minutes later and the hosts went close again, this time through Scottish international Dykes. Kane fired in a great ball for the 25-year-old, who could only drag his lunging effort wide.
Despite this promising start in W12, it was the visitors who took the lead in the 23rd minute.
Romal Palmer initially saw his effort saved by Dieng and the opening goal came from the resulting corner. Alex Mowatt swung the ball in, for Daryl Dike to flick the ball beyond Dieng in the R’s goal – putting the Tykes ahead.
After going behind, QPR sought a reply and found it through that man Charlie Austin.
Chair whipped in great free-kick which found Barbet at the far post. The Frenchman volleyed his effort towards Brad Collin’s goal, only for it to fall into the path of a grateful Austin who smashed home from close range for his fifth, since his return to W12 in January.
However, this equaliser only lasted a matter of seconds.
Seemingly straight from the restart Mowatt was able to step up with a fantastic free-kick, instantly restoring the Red’s lead in west London.
With one of the fastest first-halves of the season starting to peter out. Austin went close to draw Rangers level once more -with his effort blocked by a melee of players.
With the last kick of the half, Palmer could’ve all but sealed the victory for the Tykes, only for his edge of the box strike to crash harmlessly into the side netting.
The second half started with much the same intensity as the first, with both sides struggling to maintain possession of the ball.
With Rangers pushing for an equaliser in the 56th minute, it was Barnsley who further extended their lead.
Substitute Carlton Morris was able to get the better of Cameron and calmly slot the ball through the legs of Dieng- giving the R’s a mount to climb.
As the hosts went in search of a route back into the game. R’s boss Warburton rang the changes with introduction of Albert Adomah, Chris Willock and Sam Field looking to inject some much-needed energy.
Field instantly went close.
Barbet’s wide ball caused confusion between the Tykes backline and the ball eventually fell to the West Bromwich Albion loanee from some distance and his lobbed effort looped high and wide.
With the evening draw to a close, the R’s tried to claw a way back into the game, but couldn’t break down a stubborn Barnsley backline.
Austin went close with fifteen minutes left on the clock, but his seemingly shanked effort fired back across goal – only for it to be cleared.
Warburton’s side continued to try and turn the screw, ultimately leaving gaps at the back and the Tykes were unfortunate not to take advantage of this.
Morris and Victor Adebayejo troubling Dieng, in the closing stages.
Ultimately it was a frustrating evening in W12 for QPR and the points returned to south Yorkshire with Barnsley, for only their second victory in the capital since 1950.