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MATCH REPORT: ATHLONE TOWN 0, QPR 2

QPR ended their pre-season tour of Ireland with a comfortable 2-0 win against Athlone Town on Tuesday evening.


Goals either side of half time from Bobby Zamora and Charlie Austin ensured Harry Redknapp’s side recorded two wins from two during their six-day long stay just outside Dublin.


Boss Harry Redknapp made a number of changes with goalkeeper Brian Murphy replacing Rob Green, whilst Clint Hill and Shaun Wright-Phillips slotted in amongst the R’s back five, with the latter occupying the left wing back position. 


Rangers started the brighter of the two sides and were unlucky not to take the lead after just five minutes of play. Wright-Phillips fashioned the first attack with a well-worked move involving livewire Hoilett, but the final shot was high of Athlone keeper Ryan Coulter’s crossbar.


Moments later, Austin found space inside the area but sliced his left-foot effort well wide but it wasn’t too long before Rangers finally made the break through. Wright-Phillips’ found Zamora with time and space and the Wembley hero easily slotted home his first goal of pre-season. 


Hoilett came close to adding another pre-season goal to his tally but he scuffed his edge-of-the-box effort wide past a fully stretched Coulter. 


Joey Barton, saw a well struck free-kick directed to safety by the stern fists of Coulter and from the resulting corner, Caulker beat his marker before heading the ball wide.


QPR started the second half in a similar dominating fashion as the first had finished. Hoilett reacted quickest to latch onto Zamora’s blocked effort, but the pacey winger saw his own shot saved by the body of Coulter.


However, minutes later Coulter was unable to prevent his side from conceding a second. Zamora’s neat assist allowed Austin to pass the ball into the bottom corner with a cool finish to take his pre-season scoring to four. 


He could have scored his second of the evening when Danny Simpson’s cross picked out the R’s talisman at the back post but his header found the arms of the goalkeeper before moments later Barton’s cut back to Austin was cleared off the line by a header.


Steven Caulker was next to go close to scoring with a header from six-yards before Austin snatched another effort wide of the right-hand post having broken free of his marker two minutes before the full-time whistle. 


Rangers now return to England after a productive trip to Ireland for their final pre-season friendly against Greek side PAOK at Loftus Road on Saturday, 3pm kick-off.


QPR: Murphy, Simpson, Caulker, Onuoha, Hill, Wright-Phillips (Faurlin 64), Barton, Henry, Hoilett, Zamora, Austin


Subs not used: Lumley, Dunne.