LUKE AMOS was the unlikely match-winner for Queens Park Rangers as Mark Warburton’s side secured a 1-0 victory over Huddersfield Town at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium.
In a game of few clear-cut chances, it was the Super Hoops who came out on top, with Amos’ first Rangers goal since December 2019 wrapping up the victory and moving the R’s up to fourth in the league standings.
Heading into our second clash in W12 in only a matter of days, R’s boss Warburton named the same starting XI for a second week in a row.
This ultimately meant Rangers lined up with Seny Dieng between the posts, behind a back five of Albert Adomah, Rob Dickie, Jimmy Dunne, Yoann Barbet and Lee Wallace.
Captain Stefan Johansen continued to partner Andre Dozzell in holding midfield, whilst Ilias Chair and Chris Willock were in the attacking options, with Charlie Austin continuing to lead the line for the Super Hoops fresh off the back of his winning strike on Friday evening.
Rangers faced a Huddersfield Town side who sat in 7th place heading into this one, with a chance to leapfrog the R’s into the final play-off place with a positive result this evening.
The Terriers included former Sheffield Wednesday defender Tom Lees and impressive youngster Josh Koroma and it was the visitors who carved out the first chance of the half, in the opening seconds.
Fresh off the back of his 27th birthday, shot stopper Dieng had to be alert to deny Ollie Turton at the far post, as the 28-year-old found himself free, but a strong arm from the Senegalese international ensured it remained goalless.
This early chance seemed to kick the Super Hoops into life, with Chair and the Willock carving out what ended up being half chances, but nevertheless signalled Rangers’ attacking intentions for the evening.
Minutes later Willock forced Terriers keeper Lee Nicholls into action, with a speculative effort, but the former MK Dons man was equal to it.
However, with 15 minutes on the clock it was the visitors who had threatened, Dieng initially denying Koroma and then Scott High, before Wallace had to be on hand to clear the danger, with forward Danny Ward lurking dangerously over his shoulder.
But Rangers had chances themselves. Barbet latching on to Johansen’s in-swinging corner kick, only for his looping header to cannon off the crossbar, before a fine pass from Dozzell picked out Wallace at the far post, but the Scottish full-back’s right-footed effort was blocked, and the resulting corner came to nothing.
With the half seemingly petering out, Rangers created what was arguably their best chance of the half, a fine move from Chair eventually falling to Austin 12-yards out, but the 31-year-olds effort was poor, and his follow-up flew high and wide of Nicholls’ goal.
As we approached the additional minute of the first half, a Johansen corner kick troubled the visiting backline once again, but Huddersfield defended well and at the break it remained all square.
Five minutes into the half Austin forced Nicholls into a fine save. A wonderfully weighted ball from Dozzell found the R’s striker, but the 29-year-old was equal to it.
Johansen and Chair quickly combined well, as they quickly turned defence into attack, only for Chair’s effort to be comfortably collected by the Terriers keeper.
Adomah then had his appeal for handball waved away by referee Graham Scott before a double chance for the R’s ignited the W12 crowd.
Johansen from the edge of the box initially forcing Nicholls into a fine save before Dickie fired agonisingly wide.
The game had become stretched, with both sides looking for the opening goal, Wallace going close for the R’s, before Koroma ‘s dangerous looking corner was headed away by Dickie.
The 71st minute saw the arrival of Amos, as he replaced fellow midfielder Dozzell in the centre of the park, with the addition of fresh legs looking to inject some energy into Warburton’s side.
Despite Rangers’ pressure Huddersfield were handed the perfect opportunity to take the lead.
A wonderfully weighted set-piece finding Matty Pearson at the far post, but to Rangers’ fortune it narrowly missed the defenders outstretched leg and the ball comfortably sailed out of play.
As the clocked ticked into the final ten minutes Rangers had found the breakthrough.
Willock’s cross down the right-hand side found Amos from close range and the midfielder made no mistake, as the 24-year-old headed home his first goal since his long-standing knee injury and his first for the R’s since December 2019.
Boss Warburton was quick to make a change following the goal, with Sam Field replacing Austin as we looked to see out the final few minutes in west London.
Groans circled around W12 as the fourth official signalled for an additional five minutes to be played, but those quickly turned into applause as captain Johansen got to his feet and gingerly hobbled off following a unfortunate collision with his teammate Field.
Dominic Ball replaced the former Norway captain and the R’s knew they had a job to do.
Rangers did their best to wind down the clock, with series of throw ins, but Town were to have one last throw of the dice.
A long ball finding Mipo Odubeko on the edge of the box, only for Dieng to expertly tip the ball over the bar and the resulting corner kick was then delightfully hacked away, in perfect time for the R’s.
Scott’s whistle blew moments after and all three points were staying in west London and the Super Hoops were up to fourth.