IT was a frustrating afternoon for Queens Park Rangers as Juninho Bacuna’s second half strike was enough to secure Huddersfield Town’s first away win since October – condemning the R’s to only their third league defeat in west London this calendar year.
Mark Warburton’s side threw everything forward, but ultimately missed that cutting edge and Bacuna’s third strike of the season eventually sealed the victory for the Terriers.
Heading into this one Mark Warburton made one change from the side that secured a slim 1-0 win over Wycombe Wanderers at Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium on Tuesday night.
This saw the introduction of Osman Kakay to the side, replacing centre half Jordy de Wijs – who continues to build up his fitness following his calf injury which delayed his start to his QPR career.
Ultimately this meant that Rangers lined up with Seny Dieng in goal, behind a back of five Todd Kane, Kakay, Rob Dickie, Yoann Barbet and captain Lee Wallace.
Stefan Johansen continued to partner Sam Field in midfield, with Ilias Chair occupying the No.10 role whilst Chris Willock partnered Charlie Austin in attack.
Despite having failed to secure victory away from West Yorkshire since October, it was visitors Huddersfield who went closest to taking the lead early on. Lewis O’Brien struck, but Dieng was on hand to tip it past the post.
However, the Terriers continued to trouble early on, with Isaac Mbenza the next to try his luck – only for the Belgium man to fire wide.
With 15 minutes on the clock, Rangers tried to get their foot on the ball, as Johansen and Field started to see a lot of action. But, to the R’s disappointment this failed to turn into anything dangerous and it remained goalless.
Moments later Town keeper Ryan Schofield was alert to cut out a wicked ball from Norwegian international Johansen. The cross looked destined to find Chair in the box before the 21-year-old pounced.
In a somewhat even half, it was the visitors who continued to trouble in front of goal. Richard Keogh was next to go close when he met Pipa’s out swinging corner kick – only for it to go comfortably over Dieng’s crossbar.
As we reached the 35th minute Rangers finally were able to carve out theirs and the game’s most dangerous opportunity so far.
A nice run and intelligent ball from Chair, picked out Kane from 12-yards out.
The full-back then drilled an effort on goal, only for Schofield to deny him.
The few inside W12 felt Kane was almost certain to tap home the rebound, but a fine reflex save denied the 27-year-old at the second attempt.
This chance encouraged the hosts and in the final few minutes of the half, Warburton’s side had their best period of prolonged possession. Ultimately this came to nothing, but gave the R’s a huge boost heading into the second half.
Rangers started the second half brightly. First Willock went close and then Austin seemingly straight from the kick-off.
However, these efforts were unable to test Schofield, it gave Warburton's side a boost.
But, despite the R’s early second half dominance, it was the visitors who took the lead in the 55th minute.
A smart run from O’Brien, eventually saw him picking out Pipa, the Spanish full-back was then able to find Bacuna on the edge of the box – who smashed home to emphatically give Town the lead.
After going behind, the R’s failed to find their groove and it was the visitors who looked the most likely to double their advantage.
A smart strike from substitute Duane Holmes tested Dieng, who palmed it away – before the resulting corner kick was cleared.
With fifteen minutes left, R’s gaffer Warburton rang the changes as we went in search of a route back into the game.
This saw Lyndon Dykes and Albert Adomah entering the fray.
Rangers looked for an equaliser, with substitute Adomah whipping in a great ball, only for Schofield to tip away. The resulting corner-kick unfortunately came to nothing.
As the game started to become very scrappy, Macauley Bonne and George Thomas entered the field as we went in search of that illusive equaliser.
With six additional minutes to be played, Rangers threw everything forward
However, Dickie went closest. But ultimately it ended in defeat in W12 and the R’s will be looking to bounce back this Wednesday against Millwall.