Queens Park Rangers 3-2 Middlesbrough: Rs hold on to claim first win of the season

QPR’s Chris Willock scored on his first appearance of the season

QPR earned their first points of the season as they held off a strong Middlesbrough fightback to claim a narrow win at Loftus Road.

Chris Willock scored a spectacular opener, driving forward and shrugging off two defenders before smashing a shot into the top corner before James Dunne headed in Ilias Chair’s corner to double the lead.

It was 3-0 when Lyndon Dykes stooped to head in Stefan Johansen’s free-kick before Matt Crooks’ bullet header gave the visitors some hope before the break.

Marcus Forss’ close-range finish on his first start made it 3-2 and an equalizer was chalked off when Paddy McNair’s effort was ruled out for offside before Boro’s Darragh Lenihan was sent off in stoppage time.

The sides produced nine goals in their two league meetings last season and the pattern continued in a goal-laden opening hour.

Rangers failed to land a shot on target in their league opener at Blackburn and manager Michael Beale’s three changes worked as Willock and Dunne both found the net inside 30 minutes.

Rangers had lost four of their final five home matches in a dismal end to last season, but in Beale’s first match in charge at Loftus Road it was a very different story with a stunning first-half display, Dykes capping it by ending his 13- game goal drought.

Boro have won just one of the last nine meetings, but gave themselves real hope when Crooks powered in a header and then crossed for Forss to make it 3-2 with more than 30 minutes left to play.

The visitors were much improved after the break and only the assistant referee’s flag denied McNair from hauling them level from Ryan Giles’ cross.

But late on it was the hosts who went closest to the game’s sixth goal on the counter as Albert Adomah flashed an effort wide before Lenihan saw red when his foul denied Macauley Bonne a clear run on goal.

Queens Park Rangers boss Michael Beale:

“I don’t think people realize the effort it took for Chris [Willock] to get through 70 minutes. But it was important we had him on the pitch, because he impacted the game – and what a fantastic goal.

“As a young team we need to take confidence from it.

“In the first half we did a lot of good things and then we just got a bit nervous. That might just be eradicated with time together.

“We beat a very good Middlesbrough team, which shows that we’re a good team ourselves. We’ll stay under the radar and just keep working.”

Middlesbrough boss Chris Wilder told BBC Tees:

“We have conceded three really poor goals of our own making. They’ll say the first goal was a great finish, but we have so many things that we can do before that happens.

“The second and third goals were bits of poor defending. You can have all the structure in the world, but if you aren’t prepared and don’t want to defend properly you are going to get punished.

“The second-half performance was terrific. We missed two or three great chances not only to get ourselves back in the game but to win it, but we didn’t take them and the longer the game goes on and the game becomes stretched they see the game out.

“It was a really disappointing afternoon from my point of view.”

Line-ups

QPR

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Dieng
  • 2KakayBooked at 90mins
  • 4Dickie
  • 3Dunne
  • 22Paal
  • 15Field
  • 6JohansenBooked at 77minsSubstituted forDozzellat 82′minutes
  • 7WillockSubstituted forAdomahat 74′minutes
  • 8Amos
  • 10ChairSubstituted forHämäläinenat 88′minutes
  • 9DykesSubstituted forGoodat 87′minutes

Substitutes

  • 16Hämäläinen
  • 17Dozzell
  • 18Good
  • 23Masterson
  • 25Not enough
  • 32Walsh
  • 37Adomah

Middlesbrough

Formation 3-5-2

  • 1Steffen
  • 15DijksteelSubstituted forMcNairat 45′minutes
  • 26LenihanBooked at 90mins
  • 27BolaBooked at 73mins
  • 2Jones
  • 25Crooks
  • 16Howson
  • 8McGree
  • 3Giles
  • 21ForssBooked at 17minsSubstituted forSmithat 68′minutes
  • 18WatmoreSubstituted forAkpomat 45′minutes

Substitutes

  • 6Fry
  • 14Smith
  • 17McNair
  • 20Boyd-Munce
  • 23Roberts
  • 29Akpom
  • 31Finch

Referee:
Josh Smith

Attendance:
15,796

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