HOLLOWAY: LIFE’S NOT ALWAYS FAIR
Ilori off as QPR profit to seal win
QPR manager Ian Holloway conceded Lady Luck may have been shining on his side but insisted they still merited their victory over last season’s beaten play-off finalists Reading.
Two goals from Conor Washington were enough to earn the three points for an excellent Rangers side, but the game hinged on a red card for Reading centre-half Tiago Ilori, who was dismissed with the score at 1-0 for pulling back Pawel Wszolek just yards from goal, while fellow Royal Jon Dadi Bodvarsson lay prone on the floor 50 yards away.
Washington converted the penalty, and from that point the result was never in doubt.
But Holloway admitted that, despite his team’s dominance in a first half where they could easily have scored four times, he was worried the game might have slipped away before Ilori’s blunder.
“We got things at the right time,” admitted the QPR boss. “The second goal was vital.
“The referee could have blown before – the fella was on the floor. But they had the ball, so they carried on attacking when their fella was down. I thought he was going to stop the game. It ain’t half harsh. But that’s life.
“If they’d got a goal back, which they looked like they might for a little period, that game could have swung the other way.”
Reading manager Jaap Stam also regarded the red card, which came just moments after Bodvarsson had spurned his side’s best chance of the game, as the crucial incident. But while he felt play should have been halted, the Dutchman refused to blame the officials.
“I think the play should have been stopped before, but that’s up to the referee and the fourth official in reading the game, what’s happening at the time, and reading the situation,” he said.
“But on the ball they were better than us today, we weren’t good enough. If you don’t bring a certain aggressiveness to the game it’s going to be very difficult to beat teams.”
Stam could certainly not feel hard-done-by that his side had lost the game, and Washington could have had more goals. As early as the second minute he was denied by an excellent Vito Mannone save, and shortly before half-time the striker fired over the bar when oneon-one with the Reading goalkeeper, whose impressive debut was a rare bright spark for the visitors.
The former Sunderland keeper had no chance with either of the two goals though.
The first was a header from just four yards out, following excellent play from Luke Freeman and an inviting cross from the impressive Wszolek, and the second a well-taken penalty after Ilori’s red.
Massimo Luongo also hit the post in the first half, while Freeman twice went close in what was a dominant home display.
Reading looked a shadow of the side that so impressed last season, but Holloway put that down to his side’s pressing as much as any deficiencies in the visitors’ play.
He said: “I’m delighted with some of the things we did and I can’t wait to get home and watch it again, because I’m really proud of the effort of my team and my crowd. They wore the shirt today.
“I hope our fans liked it because they saw us press and close and chase them, and we looked a good team at times.”
GOING DOWN: QPR midfielder Pawel Wszolek is awarded a penalty