Gray strikes to punish QPR's toothless attack

Queen's Park Rangers 0 - Sheffield United 1
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The Independent Online

Andy Gray's third goal of the season proved enough to propel Sheffield United to victory over Queen's Park Rangers at Loftus Road last night - their third straight Championship win of the season.

Andy Gray's third goal of the season proved enough to propel Sheffield United to victory over Queen's Park Rangers at Loftus Road last night - their third straight Championship win of the season.

QPR failed to build on their first league win of the season at Gillingham on Friday despite a succession of second-half chances and are yet to take full points at home. The visitors made a bright start and could have been ahead in the seventh minute but Alan Quinn could not quite deflect Ashley Ward's low cross from a throw-in on target.

Yet a catalogue of errors at the back cost the home side dearly in the 17th minute. QPR failed to clear their lines and Quinn was able to cross for Jon Harley to flick back to Gray, who made no mistake with a close-range finish.

QPR then wasted two glorious chances to draw level in the space of two minutes, with Marcus Bean first putting a free header wide from a wicked Gino Padula corner on 25 minutes. However, Jamie Cureton's miss from six yards was perhaps worse after Lee Cook's mis-hit from a fabulous Martin Rowlands cross found him all alone only for the striker to make a hash of his finish.

Harley could have doubled the lead shortly after the restart when Gray exchanged passes with Ward before crossing dangerously from the right, but he could not stretch far enough.

The Rangers manager, Ian Holloway, took a risk by sending on Marc Bircham, Kevin McLeod and Matthew Rose just after the hour mark but it was Sheffield United who threatened, Ward drawing a fine save from the goalkeeper Chris Day.

Finally QPR began to apply the pressure but they could not find the finish in front of goal with George Santos and Kevin Gallen getting in each other's way when perfectly placed to earn their side a point. United hung on through four minutes of injury time to collect a fine away win.

Queen's Park Rangers: Day, Bignot, Edghill, Santos, Padula, Rowlands, Bean, Johnson, Cook, Gallen, Cureton. Substitutes: Cole (gk), Rose, Bircham, McLeod, Hamilton.

Sheffield United: Kenny, Bromby, Morgan, Jagielka, Wright, Quinn, Thirlwell, Tonge, Harley, Gray, Ward. Substitutes: Barnes (gk), Montgomery, Lester, Francis, Forte.

Referee: G Hegley (Herts).

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