Ng­bakoto stars in thrash­ing

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Claire Gould

QPR man­ager Ian Hol­loway was de­lighted with his side’s sec­ond­half show­ing as this com­fort­able vic­tory all-but rel­e­gated be­lea­guered Rother­ham United.

Goals from Matt Smith, Luke Free­man, Yeni N’Gbakoto, Mas­simo Luongo and Ne­dum On­uoha were enough to can­cel out Joe Newell’s spec­tac­u­lar early lev­eller.

Hol­loway said: “I was de­lighted with the sec­ond-half per­for­mance but I didn’t en­joy the first-half at all.

“We scored early then thought we’d done enough. We didn’t move the ball sharply enough and didn’t press hard enough.

“I spoke about changes at half-time which stopped them playing long over the top of us and stop them push­ing our back three deep so that we could play high enough. That meant we could win it and ac­tu­ally cause their back four the prob­lems I felt that we could and in the end we got what we de­served.”

The dead­lock was bro­ken as early as the fifth minute when Smith latched onto a long ball from Idrissa Sylla to fire clin­cally past Lewis Price in the Rother­ham goal.

The Millers were level in the 13th minute when Newell scored the goal of the game, strik­ing a fan­tas­tic half-vol­ley past Alex Smithies from 25 yards.

Two min­utes later QPR were back in front when poor defnd-ing from the Rother­ham cen­tre-half pair­ing of Semi Ajayi and Ai­men Be­laid al­lowed Free­man to steal in and calmly roll the ball past Price.

The first half con­tin­ued in a scrappy fash­ion with nei­ther side man­ag­ing to keep hold of the ball for long enough to cre­ate many chances.

Rangers were quick out of the blocks af­ter Hol­loway’s half- time team talk, and had the op­por­tu­nity to go fur­ther ahead from the spot four min­utes into the sec­ond half when Be­laid was ad­judged to have climbed on Smith in the area. The im­pres­sive Ng­bakoto stepped up to send Price the wrong way.

Eight min­utes later the game was over as a con­test when Luongo glaced Ng­bakoto’s left­wing cross into the bot­tom cor­ner of the net.

Sub­sti­tute Conor Washington was un­lucky not to get his name on the score­sheet, see­ing his rasp­ing drive hit the foot of the post, and fel­low re­place­ment Ravel Mor­ri­son could only drag the fol­low-up wide.

But Rangers se­cured their big­gest win of the sea­son on the stroke of full-time with On­uoha ghost­ing in to con­vert from Ng­bakoto's left-wing free-kick.

The fi­nal whis­tle couldn’t come soon enough for Rother­ham boss Paul Warne, who wit­nessed his side lose a club record 29th league game of the sea­son.

“I thought first half we were the bet­ter side, we frus­trated them but gave away two howlers which meant that we went in at half-time be­hind,” said Warne, whose side are now 24 points from safety.

“I told them at half-time that I though our de­fend­ing had been abysmal so to con­cede two goals so soon into the sec­ond half was very dis­ap­point­ing.

“You can tell that our boys are used to los­ing as I won’t say that they threw the towel in, but they were ready for the game to end from the 65th minute. It was an em­barass­ing score­line which was throughly de­served by QPR and my over-rid­ing feel­ing is of em­bar­rass­ment.”

PIC­TURES: Matt Red­man/ProS­ports

STAR SHOW­ING: Queens Park Rangers mid­fielder Yeni Ng­bakoto cel­e­brat­ing af­ter scor­ing a penalty

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