Ilori off as QPR profit to seal win

The Football League Paper - - NEWS - By Jonny Singer

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.”

PIC­TURES: PSI/Andy Walker

GO­ING DOWN: QPR mid­fielder Pawel Ws­zolek is awarded a penalty

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