R’s owe it to late Matt finish
JIMMY Floyd Hasselbaink insists he never lost the faith after a late Matt Phillips header gave QPR all three points against promotion-pushing Ipswich Town.
Debutant Nasser El Khayati was at the heart of the winning goal, after some clever footwork gave the former Burton Albion man space to deliver an inch-perfect cross which an unmarked Phillips headed home at the back post with two minutes to play.
The Tractor Boys were looking to carry on from a 2-1 midweek victory over Reading and were denied anything from the game by two last-gasp close-range saves from QPR stopper Alex Smithies.
But despite making hard work of things, Hasselbaink insists it is when you don’t create any chances that you should start worrying.
He said:“When you see the first half and go in 0-0 at half-time then you are disappointed, but it is about having the trust that we would be able to score a goal or get that chance.
“I think that we deserved to be two or three goals up but at the end of the day it’s not about what you deserve, because it is as simple as having to put the ball in the net.
“We kept on believing and plugging away, and it is very satisfying that it came in the last five minutes because that tells me that we have good character.”
Within 30 seconds of the kickoff Bartosz Bialkowski was forced into making a fantastic double save, first diving to prevent Phillips and then producing another super stop to prevent Massimo Luongo who had followed up the rebound.
After 18 minutes Phillips’ cross found Junior Hoilett at the back post, and the Canada international tried to poke the ball past Bialkowski only for the Polish stopper to spread himself well to keep the scores level.
Former Blackburn man Hoilett forced Bialkowski into action again after 22 minutes with the goal- keeper fisting away a long range effort in blustery conditions.
Three million pound man Conor Washington was making his first start for the Hoops and looked dangerous when he turned in the area on 70 minutes, but fired his shot well over the bar.
Smithies pulled off a fantastic single-handed save in the 80th minute to prevent Freddie Sears from putting the Tractor Boys ahead, after Luke Chambers’ long throw had caused problems in the box.
And with just two minutes left on the clock the home side won it.
Substitute El Khayati made space with some clever footwork before providing the perfect cross for Phillips, whose diving header found the roof of the net.
The Tractor Boys were handed a last-ditch chance in second-half stoppage time with another long Chambers throw causing problems, and after a goalmouth scramble a Sears shot was blocked by Smithies with his feet.
And while he felt his side were unlucky to lose late on, Ipswich manager Mick McCarthy admitted he was indebted to his goalkeeper for his side to be in the game until the very end.
McCarthy said: “They were miles better than us in the first half, but our goalkeeper Bialkowski was in world-class form making save after save.
“In the second half we were far better and looked more likely to win it in the last few minutes and it’s always disappointing to lose, but to lose late on even more so.
“Second half we were much better and how we didn’t score I don’t know.
“It was a horrible affair and the conditions were awful.”
HEADING IN: Matt Phillips scores the winner for QPR
Bialkowski 8 SUBSTITUTES QPR: Toszer 59, 6 (Faurlin); Mackie 69,
6 (Hoilett); El Khayati 80, 7 (Washington).
Not used: Ingram, Chery, Angella, Petrasso IPSWICH: Murphy 57, 7 (Varney); Coke 57, 6
(Skuse); Toure 90+4, N/A (Fraser).
Not used: Maitland-Niles,
Henly, Digby, Foley