MATCH REPORT: QPR 1 Ipswich Town 0
QPR v Ipswich: A last minute winner from sub Tom Hitchcock finally ended Ipswich Town’s resistance at promotion favourites QPR this afternoon.
The Blues more than played their part in an enthralling first half in which both sides had superb chances to open the scoring.
It was one-way traffic after the break though as twice the hosts hit the face of the crossbar – Charlie Austin’s attempt against the woodwork a real sitter.
Town looked like they might have ridden their luck, only for sub Hitchcock – on loan at Bristol Rovers last season – to tap home after Austin had miscued Shaun Wright-Phillips’ low cross.
QPR’s side may have included four England-capped players, but Ipswich made it clear early on that their game plan was not simply to park the bus at the home of the promotion-favourites.
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Ipswich were enjoying some good possession early on and had the hosts sweating during a period of pressure just after the 15 minute mark. First, David McGoldrick went close with an improvised attempt from a low Aaron Cresswell cross, while moments later Daryl Murphy fired over from long-range following a powerful run.
QPR finally began to come to life around the half hour mark, with three excellent openings created in the space of just two minutes.
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After Richard Dunne had headed down Joey Barton’s corner, Shaun Wright-Phillips’ well-hit drive appeared destined for the back of the net. However, it took a deflection on its way through a crowd of players and was diverted over.
Moments later, Tommy Smith produced a superb last-ditch tackle on Charlie Austin in the box as he attempted to get on the end of a Junor Hoilett cross.
And the frantic spell continued when Scott Loach made a smart stop from Austin at the end of the very next attack, Danny Simpson’s cross having been perfectly-weighted.
Having ridden the storm thanks to some good organisation and bravery, Town decided that the best form of defence was attack.
It took a superb save from Rob Green in the 36th minute to keep the game goalless, the former Norwich keeper diving to his left and turning Daryl Murphy’s well-placed side-foot effort from eight-yards around the post. The ball had broken to him after Dunne and McGoldrick had challenged for Cresswell’s low cross at the near post.
It then became an end-to-end finish to an enthralling half as Bobby Zamora fired over under pressure following Hoilett’s cut-back and Elliott Hewitt fizzed a low cross across the face of goal.
Amazingly, the half-time whistle sounded with the game still goalless.
Town offered very little going forward after the restart and, as the match wore on, they dropped deeper and deeper inviting pressure.
Barton’s in-swinging corner was clawed out from under the bar by Loach on the hour mark.
Two minutes later an unmarked Clint Hill met a superb free-kick delivery from Barton at the near post, but his header flew back off the face of the bar, Dunne firing the rebound into the side-netting.
It was beginning to look like it might be Ipswich’s afternoon when Austin missed a gilt-edged chance in the 78th minute, the striker having plenty of time to steady himself after Chambers’ slip, but smashing a shot from 10 yards out against the face of the bar.
QPR kept plugging away though and got their reward just as the match entered the final minute, Austin miscuing Wright-Phillips’ low cross at the near post allowing Hitchcok to tap home from close-range.
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QPR (4-4-2): Green; Simposn, Onuoha, Dunne, Hill; Wright-Phillips, Barton, Henry (Jenas 76), Hoilett (O’Neil 56); Austin, Zamora (Hitchcock 83).
Subs: Murphy, Suk-Young, Ehmer, Shariff.
IPSWICH TOWN (4-4-2): Loach; Hewitt, Chambers, Smith, Cresswell; Edwards (cpt), Hyam, Skuse (Tunnicliffe 46), Tabb; Murphy (Taylor 63, Nouble 83), McGoldrick.
Subs: Crowe, Veseli, Berra, Anderson.
Attendance: 17,075 (1,789 away)
Referee: Mr M Naylor.