QPR strengthened their grip on a Sky Bet Championship play-off place after an entertaining 2-0 win over Luton on Friday night.
Chris Willock gave Mark Warburton’s side the lead with a cool finish after a thrilling start at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium (10) and Charlie Austin made sure of the three points when he stooped to head in shortly after half-time (55).
QPR move above Stoke into fifth in the table ahead of the remainder of the weekend’s action, while Luton stay in 11th, four points outside the play-off places.
How QPR eased to victory in west London
There was an electric start to proceedings in west London. Inside the first three minutes, Seny Dieng came to QPR’s rescue to save at the feet of Elijah Adebayo, while at the other end, Ilias Chair turned out of trouble and curled a beautifully-weighted shot inches over the crossbar.
With the game being played at such a high tempo, the wait for the first goal was never going to be long and, with 10 minutes gone, Rangers scored it. Chair smashed clear after a Luton corner and Willock watched it all the way, timing his run to perfection before lifting the ball over Simon Sluga and into the back of the net.
The goal gave QPR the chance to take control and they did just that, with real confidence in the way they passed the ball around the pitch. The Hatters continued to threaten, though Fred Onyedinma and Adebayo’s efforts did little to trouble Dieng.
Luton sprung out of the traps after the break and moments after Onyedinma had fired over again, Hatters fans thought their side had equalised when Kal Naismith’s powerful flicked header rippled the side netting,
Yet within five minutes, they were two down when Austin stooped to steer a header home after Jimmy Dunne had cushioned Willock’s cross into his path – his first league goal since August.
Neither goalkeeper was forced into any meaningful saves of note thereafter and while Luton continued to press for a goal to reduce the deficit, a combination of some wayward shots and strong defending from the hosts kept them at bay.
Man of the match – Chris Willock
It’s two goals in two games for the 23-year-old, who is a key component of Mark Warburton’s front line. He not only scored a composed opener, he played a key role in the second goal of the game and also finished with an impressive pass completion rate of 87.5 per cent.
What the managers said…
QPR’s Mark Warburton: “I’m happy with the points, happy to get the goals when we did, but I think we were a little bit loose at times and there’s no doubt in the fact we gave away some opportunities that we could have been punished on and we’ve got to recognise that.
“If we upped the pace in that first half [and went up] another gear, I think we could have hurt them, especially in that final third, with some cleverness and good movement. I thought we lacked a little bit of quality in the final ball tonight, but it’s a big result for us.”
Luton’s Nathan Jones: “We came here last year and we were excellent. Today we have had 16 shots and better chances than them, to be honest – much, much better – but we just haven’t showed any quality.
“For the first goal, we’ve got to defend that better and then there’s an error from the officials for the second; it’s a foul our way and we don’t get it. We’ve got to defend better than that. They have had two opportunities on goal and scored. We have to show better quality than that because we created enough today to have got something out of the game.”
Luton are back in action at 7.45pm on Tuesday, November 23, when they travel to the City Ground to face Nottingham Forest, while QPR return at the same time the following day, when they host Huddersfield at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium. Both matches are live on Sky Sports Football Red Button.