Match report: Ipswich Town 2 QPR 1 – Luke Chambers scores 92nd minute winner
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Luke Chambers scored a 92nd minute winner as Ipswich Town came from behind to beat QPR 2-1 at Portman Road this afternoon.
The Blues skipper steamed in at the back post to convert a thumping header at the death, Jonathan Douglas’ clever close-range bicycle kick finish (77) having cancelled out Junior Hoilett’s opener (45+4).
This was no Boxing Day blockbuster with both teams equally sluggish in a first half which was utterly flat both on and off the pitch.
Very little happened in the game until first-half stoppage-time. Chambers headed a gilt-edged chance narrowly wide in the first added on minute, then QPR scored out of nowhere when Hoilett nodded in Leroy Fer’s cross from close-range.
The second half was a marginally better and Town posed a much bigger threat against the very average looking visitors when wingers Ryan Fraser and Tommy Oar were introduced off the bench.
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Mick McCarthy’s men finally got the ball down on the deck and reaped the rewards for their first sustained period of pressure. First Fraser dribbled with the ball, then Sears’ low cross deflected nicely into the path of Daryl Murphy and his shot popped up off a challenging defender for Douglas to acrobatically finish inside the six-yard box.
A draw would probably have been a fair reflection of the game, but Town stole all three points at the penultimate minute of added on time. Fraser took a short throw-in, Sears checked back and sent a deep free-kick to the back post and Chambers arrived late to head home.
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The Blues remain sixth in the Championship table but have again closed the gap on fifth-place Burnley to one point ahead of Tuesday night’s trip to Brighton.
This was QPR’s first defeat under new boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink after they had drawn his first three games in charge. The west London side remain 12th in the standings.
Blues boss McCarthy named the same starting XI for the sixth game in a row, resisting the temptation to start fit-again winger Fraser. Luke Hyam, recalled from a loan spell at Rotherham, was also among the substitutes.
The atmosphere inside Portman Road was strangely subdued, perhaps due to many still feeling the after-effects of some Christmas indulgence.
The action on the field was equally sluggish in the first half with both a distinct lack of tempo and aggression from both teams.
Grant Hall cut out Luke Chambers’ low cross, while Daryl Murphy fired an angled long-range shot past the far post inside a slow opening 10 minutes.
Sebastian Polter had half-hearted penalty appeals waved away after a tangle of legs with Christophe Berra in the box, then home keeper Dean Gerken did well to hold onto Alejandro Faurlin’s well-struck free-kick from distance.
Ipswich continued to huff and puff. In the 38th minute, Freddie Sears’ deep cross was nodded down by Chambers to Murphy. The latter cut inside, but his shot was crowded out and Sears’ follow-up was also charged down.
The Blues spurned a golden opportunity to break the deadlock just as the game entered first half stoppage-time. Referee Darren Drysdale played good advantage after Karl Henry fouled Brett Pitman in the middle of the park and Town ended up forcing their fifth corner of the game.
From Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ delivery, Chambers out-jumped keeper Rob Green at the far post but glanced his header inches wide of the post.
Nil-nil would have been a very fair reflection of a forgettable opening half, but QPR – out of nowhere – scored in the fourth and final added-on minute.
After big German striker Sebatian Polter held the ball up in the box and shifted it right, Leroy Fer whipped in a peach of a cross and the alert Hoilett got in front of Chambers to nod home from inside the six-yard box.
Ipswich created the first real opening of the second period when Chambers cross evaded everyone in the box and landed at the feet of an unmarked Pitman at the far post. His caressed curling effort clipped the outside of the far post.
That momentarily lifted the home crowd, but the game still didn’t really ignite. Indeed, QPR almost added a killer second when Fer latched onto Phillips’ through ball and rounded keeper Dean Gerken. He was forced wide though and Gerken was able to race back, get a hand on the shot and Cole Skuse was able to comfortably clear off the line.
Ipswich’s equaliser arrived in the 77th minute. Fraser ran at the defence, slipped in Sears and his low shot took a nick off the defender to fall nicely at Murphy’s feet. His unconvincing effort popped up off the challenging defender and Douglas adjusted brilliantly to score. It was Ipswich’s first home goal in more than 300 minutes.
It was hardly the Alamo at the end and the game seemed to be petering out. That was until Fraser’s short throw led to Sears crossing for Chambers’ winner.
This could be a pivotal moment in Town’s season ahead of back-to-back away games against high-flying Brighton and Burnley.
IPSWICH TOWN (4-4-2): Gerken; Chambers (cpt), Smith, Berra, Knudsen; Maitland-Niles (Fraser 60), Skuse, Douglas, Sears; Murphy, Pitman (Oar 68).
Unused subs: Bialkowski, Malarczyk, Bru, Hyam, Varney.
Booked: Oar (88)
QPR (4-2-3-1): Green; Onuoha (cpt), Hall, Angella, Konchesky; Faurlin, Henry; Phillips (Chery 83), Fer (Sandro 71), Hoilett; Polter.
Unused subs: Smithies, Hill, Emmanuel-Thomas, Luongo, Tozser.
Booked: Konchesky (66), Onuoha (90)
Attendance: 23,615 (974 away)
Referee: Darren Drysdale.