Queens Park Rangers 1 Charlton Athletic 0 match report: Charlie Austin powers home to hail Harry Redknapp milestone

 

QPR celebrated Harry Redknapp’s 30 years in football management yesterday with a spectacular winning goal by Charlie Austin that was a more fitting tribute to his career to date than the rest of the game.

Rangers were completely in charge but could not find a second goal, which emphasises the value of their iron-clad defence, breached only twice this season at Loftus Road, where only one visiting side has taken a point.

Redknapp’s men drew level on points with Burnley and Leicester City at the top of the Championship, but this is not a team built along the lines of some of his more freewheeling, attacking sides. It may have been frustration as much as modesty, or the lingering effects of his knee operation, that prevented Redknapp mounting the stairs to the Loftus Road press room after the game to revel in his three decades at football’s sharp end.

Instead, Kevin Bond, his assistant, said: “He doesn’t like to focus on that sort of thing. Obviously it’s a fantastic achievement. He’s grateful to everyone for making him aware of it, but his only focus is on the team and the game, and thankfully for him it’s been a good day all round. Harry’s teams in the past have been built around flair, letting people play, but another clean sheet is a great thing to have.”

Yesterday’s game was probably marginally better than Redknapp’s first game in charge of Bournemouth in November 1983, a goalless draw away to Southend United in the old Third Tivision. And a big improvement on his debut in the dugout, as caretaker in December 1982, a 9-0 defeat away to Lincoln City. But the lack of flair, especially in the penalty area, was very evident.

Rangers had only one goal to show for a dominant first-half display – but what a goal. Austin took a pass from Joey Barton after 40 minutes, stepped inside Jordan Cousins and hit a 25-yard shot that soared past goalkeeper Ben Hamer’s left hand and into the top far corner of the net for his first goal in five games.

Otherwise the home side were good to watch until the ball reached the penalty area, where their nerve failed them. The visitors had one shot on target, by Cousins, with Hamer seeing more of the ball than any of his team’s outfield players. The Charlton manager Chris Powell’s verdict that his team “lacked belief in the final third” was nothing short of a masterpiece of understatement.

Despite playing the full 90 minutes, Barton later tweeted a picture of an X-ray of his broken left hand, taken after he had driven himself to hospital.

QPR (4-1-4-1): Green; Simpson, Dunne, Hill, Assou-Ekotto; Barton; Phillips (Johnson, 77), O’Neil, Jenas (Henry, h-t), Kranjcar (Wright-Phillips, 64); Austin.

Charlton (4-2-3-1): Hamer; Wilson, Dervite-Vassoue, Morrison, Wiggins; Cousins, Stephens; Pritchard (Harriott, 58), Jackson, Stewart (Sordell, 87); Church (Kermorgant, 58).

Referee: Dean Whitestone.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor