Source: BBC Sport
GOALS from Paul Smyth and Chris Willock secured a second successive victory for QPR and continued Preston North End’s poor run of form in the Championship.
Ilias Chair, on as a half-time substitute, set up both goals for the visitors.
He found space near the left-hand edge of the penalty area and played a great ball towards the far post, where Smyth was able to bundle home from close range.
It was the Northern Ireland forward’s first goal since returning to Rangers during the summer for a second spell at the west London club.
And with three minutes remaining, Chair collected a pass from fellow substitute Ziyad Larkeche and delivered another low cross from the left for Willock to seal the win.
QPR remain in the Championship bottom three but look much improved under new boss Marti Cifuentes, having lost only one of the Spaniard’s five matches in charge.
After beating Stoke City on Tuesday to secure Cifuentes’ first win, they defended well as Preston dominated much of the first half at Deepdale.
The R’s then seized the initiative, with Chair’s introduction in place of the injured Jack Colback giving them extra impetus.
North End struggled to create chances and QPR threatened on the counter-attack, with Chair, Andre Dozzell and Elijah Dixon-Bonner bringing saves from Freddie Woodman with long-range strikes after Smyth’s opener.
Preston’s defeat was their third in a row and seventh in their past 11 matches. They now sit in eighth, having fallen out of the play-off spots after being thrashed 4-0 by Middlesbrough on Tuesday.
Ryan Lowe’s side, who made a strong start to the season, have also now failed to keep a clean sheet in 14 matches.
Preston boss Ryan Lowe told Sky Sports:
“Both teams were probably not what they wanted to be. I didn’t think there was much in the game until we let a ball go across and don’t deal with it. Then the second goal comes from the same situation.
“I’m obviously disappointed. I thought both teams were sloppy, giving the ball away, and fair play to Queens Park Rangers, they went on and won it.
“I’m always going to back my players. I know there’s groans and moans from sections and that’s fine – that’s football and it happens up and down the country.
“I’ve got to have full belief in my players and we’ve got to find solutions. It’s not a case of just downing tools. The last time we lost three on the bounce we went on and got some good results against some good teams.
“So I believe in the group. We can go and do it. But it is a tough time at the moment and you’ve got to try to get through it.”
QPR boss Marti Cifuentes told Sky Sports:
“We still want more, but I think this is a good way to show that the team are progressing.
“The hard work that the boys are putting in in training is paying off. We were not only looking for the victory, but after scoring the first goal we chased the second and those for me are encouraging signals.
“Both Ilias and Chris [Willock] are very important players for us and we want them fresh for us so that they can make a difference.
“I think the plan worked very well – not because I’m a genius but because they are a very good players. That’s a fact.”
December 2, 2023 @ 9:10 GMT|Tags: Chris Willock Paul Smyth