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Smithies pleased with R’s show of spirit

ALEX Smithies believes QPR showed their inner strength as a group with the way they battled back from 2-0 down to draw at Fulham over the weekend.

The in-form Cottagers took a two-goal lead before Mass Luongo halved the deficit on the stroke of half-time.

Pawel Wszolek levelled matters on 81 minutes to extend QPR’s unbeaten run to four games, and Smithies told www.qpr.co.uk: “When we went 2-0 down against such a good team and in a derby game, it would have been easy for us to put our heads down and lose a bit of spirit but we didn’t do that.

“We found the first half tough but we got a lifeline with the goal just before half-time and that really lifted us.

“It completely changed the outlook and gave us something to build on. I thought it really knocked their spirit as well.

“When you look at the start of the second half, we seemed the more likely to score while they didn’t really create too much.”

Rangers dominated proceedings after the break and had a number of chances to level before Wszolek capped off a fine individual performance with his second goal of the season.

There was even time after the Polish international’s goal for Jake Bidwell to force Marcus Bettinelli into a smart save.

“The second half was completely different and we completely dominated it,” Smithies said.

“We got tighter to them, we were winning the second balls and when we did get on the ball, we had the composure to keep possession, which gave the lads bit of a breather.

“On another day we could have gone on and won it.”

With the game in the balance at 2-1 to the hosts, Smithies was quick off his line to deny Aleksandar Mitrovic netting what would have been a match-clinching third for the Cottagers.

The R’s stopper was pleased with his own performance but felt it was his opposite number who had the busier afternoon.

“Even though Fulham had most of the possession in the first half they didn’t have too many shots on target,” he said.

“Tom Cairney had one shot early on which I saved and they scored the two goals, but I think we certainly worked their keeper more in the second half than they worked me in the first half.”

In bitterly cold conditions in south-west London, Smithies admitted it wasn’t the ideal day for football, adding: “It was not a nice day to be playing football – it was a proper northern day which I should be used to but maybe I’m going soft from living down here!”

On another day we could have gone on and won it.

Alex Smithies
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