MARK Warburton’s last game in charge of QPR ended in a 1-0 win at Swansea City, as the curtain also came down on Rangers’ 2021/22 Sky Bet Championship campaign.
Andre Gray came from the bench to net an 80th-minute winner, his 10th goal of the campaign, with victory certainly not flattering the Super Hoops.
R’s boss Warburton was able to finally able to welcome back Seny Dieng in goal for this season finale – the goalkeeper sidelined since February.
However, injuries elsewhere meant that the R’s could only name five of the allocated seven subs – with young ‘keepers Joe Walsh and Murphy Mahoney both among the five.
In a 5-3-2 formation, Rangers lined up as: Dieng; Albert Adomah, Dion Sanderson, Dom Ball, Yoann Barbet, Sam McCallum; Luke Amos, Sam Field, George Thomas; Ilias Chair, Lyndon Dykes.
Russell Martin’s Swansea – beaten just once in 10 fixtures heading into this one – included former R’s full-back Ryan Manning among their starters.
But it was the visitors who made the better start.
Rangers so nearly led come the 10th minute. Ball’s long pass from deep eventually saw Thomas turn his marker on 20 yards, but the midfielder could only drag his effort past the post.
At the other end, Swansea did have the ball in the net following their first notable attack in the 22nd minute. Cyrus Christie’s low distance drive was parried by Dieng into the path of top scorer Joel Piroe – who was adjudged to have been offside when he tapped home from close range.
Piroe tried his luck again three minutes later, shooting wide from an ever-narrowing angle.
Dieng was called into his first real save in the 35th minute, pushing away Cameron Cosgrave’s edge-of-the-box attempt. Then, a minute later, Chair’s effort deflected only inches past the upright, following a swift Hoops move.
There would be no goalscoring action before half-time, however.
Rangers were seemingly forced into a change at the break, with Sanderson replaced by Ossie Kakay.
Swansea were first to threaten following the interval, with Christie getting in behind the visiting backline – only to be denied by a strong Dieng save.
Moments later, Michael Obafemi freed Piroe, who could only produce a tame effort.
The pace of the game had slowed come the hour mark, with Amos’ 20-yard attempt doing little to trouble Andy Fisher in the Swans’ goal.
Warburton subsequently used his final two subs in a bid to give his team some fresh impetus. Andre Gray and Andre Dozzell replaced Thomas and Dykes.
The hosts worked a couple of decent openings after that.
In the 70th minute, Manning’s disguised pass found Obafemi, who shot straight at Dieng.
Three minutes later, substitute Paterson fired over from Hannes Wolf’s cross.
But it was Rangers who eventually broke the deadlock late on to take all three points.
McCallum’s delicious through ball put Chair in behind Flynn Downes, with the Moroccan unselfishly squaring for Gray to produce the easiest of finishes.
One-nil to the Super Hoops – the perfect send-off for Warburton in his final game in the R’s hotseat.