TODD Kane was the unlikely match-winner as QPR beat AFC Bournemouth 2-1 in West London.
Stefan Johansen gave the R’s the lead early in the second-half, before being pegged back by Shane Long’s bundled effort. But full-back Kane wrapped up the victory for Mark Warburton’s side in W12.
Rangers who have been in excellent form of late – picking up five victories from their last six fixtures – extended their fine recent fine run, with a strong display over promotion chasing Bournemouth.
In terms of team news, after achieving back-to-back victories over Blackburn Rovers and Brentford, R’s gaffer Mark Warburton named the same starting XI for the third game in a row.
This meant Seny Dieng continued in goal behind a back three of Rob Dickie, Geoff Cameron and Yoann Barbet, while Todd Kane and Lee Wallace continued to operate on the right and left flanks respectively.
Further up the field saw Dom Ball and Stefan Johansen partnering up once again, whilst Ilias Chair occupied the No.10 role, behind strikers Charlie Austin and Lyndon Dykes.
After what was a fairly even start in W12, with both sides looking to maintain possession of the ball – Scottish international Dykes began to threaten for the R’s.
But, it was the visitors through midfielder Philip Billing who were closest to breaking the deadlock early on, only for the former Huddersfield Town man to be denied by Rangers shot stopper Dieng.
The R’s were keen to build on their back-to-back west London victories, but come across a much-improved Bournemouth side and in the early exchanges the home side continued to rely on Dieng in the Rangers goal.
As we approached the 20th minute mark the Swiss keeper had to be on high alert to deny Irish forward Shane Long, who had broken through the Rangers defence and look destined to give the south coast side the lead, only for a strong arm from the 26-year-old ensuring it remained goalless.
With the first half starting to peter out, Rangers began to grow in confidence and Moroccan Chair started to have a bigger influence on play. A speculative effort from the young man, followed by a couple of threatening runs, saw Warburton’s side enjoy their most dangerous period of the half.
Warburton’s side finished the half relatively well, but a string of scrappy fouls from both sides, ensured the flow of the game was ruined – somewhat epitomising a very stop-start half at the Kiyan Prince Foundation stadium.
On the stroke of the half-time whistle, Lewis Cook looked almost certain to have put the Cherries ahead, but his edge of the box strike drifted just wide of the post and when Darren Bond blew his whistle it remained all square.
Only minutes the restart, Rangers went closest to breaking the deadlock, when Barbet was able to meet Chair’s wide free-kick. But to the Frenchman’s misfortune his effort rattled back off the crossbar and was eventually cleared from danger.
In a lively first six minutes of the second half, Adam Smith should’ve but the visitors ahead. After finding himself free at the far post, the full-back was unable to make full contact with the ball at point blank ranger and scuppered the chance to give his side the lead.
On the 58th minute mark, Norwegian international, Johansen gave the R’s the lead. After capitalising on a loose ball from Chris Mepham, with his last touch of the game the tough tackling man coolly slotted the ball past former Chelsea stopped Asmir Begovic and Warburton’s side were ahead.
Following the goal, the R’s gaffer made a triple change with goal scorer Johansen, Wallace and Austin being replaced by Sam Field, Niko Hamalainen and Chris Willock respectively – with the former instantly being involved in the action.
But, in the 69th minute Bournemouth were level. Substitute Sam Surridge’s knock down was met by Long at the far post, who bundled the ball home and with twenty minutes to play it was all square in W12.
After going behind both sides pushed for that allusive winner, but a speculative effort from Barbet in the 72nd minute the closest either side were able to get to challenging either sides keeper.
Seven minutes from time full-back Kane restored Rangers’ lead, after finishing off a great team move.
Substitutes Bonne and Adomah linking up well, with the 33-year-old whipping in a great ball, which eventually found Kane at the far post. The 27-year-old’s seemingly scuffed effort looped past Begovic, for his second strike of the season and more importantly restored the R’s lead.
With Bournemouth pushing for an equaliser, the R’s were able to counter-attack with Bonne going close on two occasions in quick succession. Initially after missing from close-range, a one-on-one effort was well saved by Begovic and Rangers continued to hold on to their slim lead.
As we approached the additional four minutes, the visitors threw everything forward, but to the R’s delight were able to stand strong and finally see out the game.
This victory in W12, is QPR’s third in a row and our sixth in seven games.