QPR 2 Watford 1 match report: Austin revives Rangers’ play-off form by breaking Watford hearts

 

Loftus Road

With the play-offs approaching and just two regular games left for Queen’s Park Rangers, they must hope that this late turnaround win over Watford will spark some confidence and momentum.

Rangers certainly need to find belief after another limp home performance in which they were outplayed by the visitors for long spells. It took a Joey Barton free-kick with 14 minutes left and a Charlie Austin goal in the final moments to earn them the three points that secured their hold on fourth place.

The disappointment, though, at Loftus Road, is that fourth is as good as it will probably get for now. Burnley and Derby County both won yesterday; Austin, who left Turf Moor for west London in the summer, must wonder whether he made the right choice.

There is no doubt, though, of Austin’s vital importance to Rangers. Their slow slide from second to fourth coincided with his 10-week injury absence and they have already improved since the £4m striker’s return. He scored the thrilling last-minute winner here, finishing off a fast break by beating Manuel Almunia from the edge of the box.

The goal devastated Watford’s players, leaving them with almost no hope of making the play-offs. On the balance of play they were the better side – manager Beppe Sannino said “for the first 60 minutes there was only one team on the pitch” – but they did not take advantage.

Both teams played 3-5-2 systems but only Watford looked like they knew how to operate it properly. Rangers made eight changes from Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Leicester but had almost too much energy and not enough thought. Troy Deeney missed the best chance of the first half but six minutes after the restart he nodded down for Mathias Ranegie to finish.

Watford, though, could not score a second and when Rangers started to improve Ravel Morrison, as ever, was the catalyst, winning a series of free-kicks on the edge of the box. He could not find his range but Barton did, clipping one over the wall and past Almunia. Watford threw too many forward for a winner, and Austin did the rest.

Queen’s Park Rangers (3-4-1-2) Green; Onuoha, Dunne, Hill; Simpson (Hoillet, 72), Barton, Carroll, Traore; Morrison; Doyle (Zamora, 72), Austin (Henry, 90). Substitutes not used Keane, Yun, Hughes, Murphy.

Watford (3-5-2) Almunia; Angella, Cassetti, Ekstrand; Riera, Abdi, Toszer, McGugan (Battocchio, 63), Pudil; Deeney, Ranegie. Substitutes not used Merkel, Doyley, Murray, Faraoni, Bond, Hoban

Referee J Linnington (Isle of Wight)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
travel
News
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
News
people
Life and Style
techApp to start sending headlines, TV clips and ads to your phone
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift crawls through the legs of twerking dancers in her 'Shake It Off' music video
musicEarl Sweatshirt thinks so
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Radcliffe and Zoe Kazan in What If
filmReview: Actor swaps Harry Potter for Cary Grant in What If
News
Our resilience to stress is to a large extent determined by our genes
science
Travel
travel
Sport
sportBesiktas 0 Arsenal 0: Champions League qualifying first-leg match ends in stalemate in Istanbul
News
Pornography is more accessible - and harder to avoid - than ever
news... but they still admit watching it
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment