QPR ran out 4-0 winners against Shamrock Rovers this afternoon, with Junior Hoilett and Charlie Austin grabbing a brace each.
Hoilett opened the scoring on 13 minutes with a cool finish from inside the box before Austin doubled the advantage, heading home a Joey Barton corner mid-way through the first half.
Hoilett made it 3-0 with a long-range effort on 89 minutes, and Austin wrapped up the scoring in injury time with another trademark header from eight yards.
Harry Redknapp tweaked his formation for this fixture in a bid to add more creativity to our play, naming two strikers in the side, with Hoilett operating in a supportive role.
Rob Green started between the sticks while Nedum Onuoha, Richard Dunne and Steven Caulker made up the back three, with Danny Simpson and Armand Traore playing wide right and left respectively.
Ale Faurlin and Joey Barton played in the centre of the park with Hoilett operating in the hole, behind Austin and Zamora in attack.
Rovers had announced the departure of their manager Trevor Croly just hours before kick-off after last night’s 4-1 league defeat at Limerick, which meant assistant John Gill was in caretaker charge for the visit of QPR
Shortly before the game started, defender Dunne – who was born in Tallaght where the game was being played – was presented with a life-time season ticket at Shamrock Rovers, as a gift after he had announced his international retirement earlier in the week.
Dunne’s family still live in the area, and his father is currently a season ticket holder at Rovers, so it was a lovely gesture, and one that was greatly appreciated by the QPR defender who received a standing ovation from the crowd.
In front of more than 500 QPR fans at the Tallaght Stadium, the R’s started on the front foot with Austin testing Rovers keeper Craig Hyland, while Perez Ortega almost gave the hosts the lead on eight minutes when he broke down the left, only to be denied by a stunning last-ditch tackle by Onuoha.
But it was QPR who began to control proceedings after that against a committed and energetic Rovers side, with Austin and Barton both going close from distance before Hoilett opened the scoring, sliding the ball past Hyland after good work from Faurlin, who found him in space in the box.
Hoilett seemed to relish his role in the hole behind Zamora and Austin, and mid-way through the opening half he saw another effort from the edge of the area well blocked as he looked to double his, and QPR’s, account for the afternoon.
QPR’s dominant possession-play was being well converted into chances and shortly after Traore shot wide, the R’s had their second goal.
After Zamora’s cross-goal header forced a corner, Barton’s perfect centre was headed home from close range by Austin.
Shortly before half-time, it was nearly three with Hoilett again at the centre of the action, pulling the ball back across the face of goal, but Zamora was unable to get the vital touch at the far post.
It was an excellent half of football by QPR, and arguably their most impressive of the pre-season so far with chances aplenty, and the tweak in the formation clearly proved effective.
After the break, Barton saw a free-kick drift just wide while Rovers made a host of changes to their side.
After a tireless display, Zamora was replaced on the hour by Shaun Wright-Phillips, and received a great ovation from the R’s fans as he came off, while the impressive Faurlin was replaced by Karl Henry.
The hosts had a great chance to reduce the arrears moments later when Ciaran Kilduff found space in the R’s box, but sent his header wide of the upright.
Owing to torrential rain in Tallaght, the pace of the game was affected in the latter stages of the second half, but Wright-Phillips very nearly made it 3-0 to the R’s when Hoilett played a perfectly-weighted pass after turning on the edge of the box.
Wright-Phillips cleverly clipped the ball over the out-rushing Rovers stopper, but his effort bounced inches wide of the far post.
As the game was nearing its finish, Rangers grabbed two late goals. On 89 minutes, Hoilett found space again on the edge of the box and unleashed a stunning drive which took a slight deflection before flying into the back of the net for the Canadian’s third goal in two games.
Just before the final whistle, Austin completed the scoring, heading home a great delivery from Caulker on the right.
It was a great work-out for the R’s and certainly their most impressive performance of the pre-season, with the new campaign now just two weeks away.
Next up, Athlone Town on Tuesday night. Don’t forget, it’s a 6:00pm kick off and you can watch it LIVE and FREE via our official You Tube channel!
QPR: Rob Green (Brian Murphy, 46), Danny Simpson, Armand Traore, Steven Caulker, Nedum Onuoha, Richard Dunne, Joey Barton, Alejandro Faurlin (Karl Henry, 65), Junior Hoilett, Charlie Austin, Bobby Zamora (Shaun Wright-Phillips, 63).