The Sky Blues feel to a disappointing 3-0 defeat at Loftus Road, as goals from Chris Willock and Ilias Chair, as well as an own goal from Michael Rose, gave QPR the victory.
Willock opened the scoring barely a minute after kick-off, meeting Lee Wallace’s cross from the left to head into the far corner, with Michael Rose unfortunate to double the hosts advantage, while attempting to clear from a corner.
City started the game slowly but a triple change just before the 60-minute mark looked to have invigorated Mark Robins’ side, before Ilias Chair’s goal put the game beyond the Sky Blues. A thorn in City’s side all afternoon, Chair found the net with a shot that somehow made its way through Marosi from the edge of the area, following a solo counter-attacking move.
The Sky Blues’ afternoon got off to the worst possible start as Chris Willock gave the hosts the lead inside two minutes. Smart link-up play from Ilias Chair allowed Lee Wallace in behind to cross from the byline, ending with Willock heading the ball back across goal and into the far corner.
City’s uphill battle almost doubled in size with still less than 10 minutes on the clock, but for an impressive save from the returning Marko Marosi, who spurned Charlie Austin’s goal-bound header from six yards.
However, the home side succeeded in extending their advantage midway through the half, as Michael Rose’s attempted near post clearance from a corner instead flicked the ball into the far corner and beyond Marosi.
Still, City did look to press forward. Matty James’ corner was met powerfully by Dom Hyam, who couldn’t quite direct his header on goal, leaving City players to scramble for the loose ball as space opened up in the box. Though not a shot on target, it was a strong warning for QPR ‘keeper Joe Lumley.
The Sky Blues had to show resilience to keep the deficit at two, just before the break. A misplaced pass across the backline allowed the ever-dangerous Chair through on goal, but Marosi got down low and reacted well to deny the QPR talisman, one-on-one.
City had one last chance in added time to halve QPR’s lead, as Gus Hamer stood over a free-kick, 20 yards out. Curling the ball around the wall, his fizzing, curling effort found the gloves of the grateful Lumley in the hosts’ goal.
HALF-TIME: QPR 2-0 SKY BLUES
Unfortunately for the Sky Blues, the start of the second-half appeared to follow the patterns of the first. Five minutes after the interval and Chair was once again in behind the City defence, this time thanks to a pinpoint through ball from Stefan Johansen. Marosi was quick off his line to close down the angle and smother the midfielder’s latest attempt.
City made a triple change just before the hour mark and two of the newcomers combined to almost make an instant impact. After Sam McCallum had won the ball on the halfway line and probed forward, Viktor Gyokeres, situated on the edge of the box, cutely laid the ball off to Tyler Walker, whose right-footed drive was only denied by a vital block from the QPR defence.
Despite the Sky Blues attempting to make their mark on the game, the hosts put the game beyond reach, midway through the second-half. A blocked cross from Julien Dacosta saw the loose ball find Chair in space. Able to set up a swift counter-attack, with City players pushed forwards, Chair carried the ball up to the edge of the City area, before squeezing a shot past Marosi at the near post.
The City ‘keeper had been in impressive form all afternoon, prior to the third goal, and was soon able to redeem himself once more, as he saved from former Sky Blues man George Thomas at point-blank range.
Refusing to let heads drop as the game neared its conclusion, Gyokeres came closer than any Sky Blues man to getting on the scoresheet. A header at the near post from a Matty James free-kick appeared to wrongfoot QPR ‘keeper Lumley, who stumbled across his goal in time to see the ball roll narrowly wide.
The Swedish international seemed determined to leave an impact on the game, despite the scoreline. Taking a free-kick on the edge of the box, Gyokeres unleashed a thunderous shot that flew narrowly wide of the post, with the goalkeeper left rooted to his spot.
FULL-TIME: QPR 3-0 SKY BLUES
Goals: Chris Willock (2’), Michael Rose (Own Goal, 22’), Chair (68’)
Yellows: Dominic Ball
QPR XI: Joe Lumley (GK), Lee Wallace (Ball, 83’), Rob Dickie, Yoann Barbet, Geoff Cameron (C), Osman Kaykay, Stefan Johansen (Kelman, 83’), Sam Field, Chris Willock (Thomas, 66’), Ilias Chair (Adomah, 75’), Charlie Austin (Dykes, 66’).
Unused subs: Senny Dieng (GK), Todd Kane, Faysal Bettache, Macauley Bonne.
Sky Blues Xl: Marko Marosi (GK), Julien Dacosta, Michael Rose (Pask, 66’), Leo Ostigard, Dom Hyam, Sam McCallum, Matty James (C), Gus Hamer (Eccles, 77’), Jordan Shipley (Gyokeres, 58’), Jamie Allen (O’Hare, 58’), Matty Godden (Walker, 58’).
Unused subs: Ben Wilson (GK), Jordon Thompson, Liam Kelly, Amadou Bakayoko.