Queens Park Rangers 2 Sheffield Wednesday 1 match report: Andrew Johnson lifts Rangers to show fans it's not all doom and gloom

Johnson marked his return from a long-term injury with winning goal after Nedum Onuoha cancelled out Atdhe Nuhui opener for Wednesday

Loftus Road

This may be far from the QPR team that finishes the season, but they at least offered the ideal start. A squad with a multitude and complications and questions coming into this campaign produced the one, simple thing that can ease the most fractious of situations: an opening-day win.

Most conspicuously, there was the presence of Joey Barton - both in the starting line-up and by the end. Despite stating on 14 May that he will certainly not be playing in the Championship and then only featuring in friendlies behind closed doors, the afternoon ended with the midfielder given a standing ovation from the entire home crowd after a fine display - if not one without a few typical controversies.

More hearteningly, Andy Johnson scored the winning goal in his first appearance since damaging his cruciate ligament last September.

None of that was without a few complications on the pitch, it must be stated. After the game, a “livid” Dave Jones certainly said his piece. The Sheffield Wednesday manager railed against two referee decisions which arguably swung the game. In the first half, with the away side leading 1-0 after six-foot-six new signing Atdhe Nuhiu’s fine 20th-minute strike, Michail Antonio appeared to be brought down in the box. In the first few minutes of the second half, Barton denied substitute Jacques Maghoma a clear goal-scoring opportunity with what seemed a foul. Referee Scott Mathieson waved both appeals away, and even booked Maghoma for a dive.

Jones criticised the referee in the strongest terms and also railed against the fact league rules effectively prohibit such comments.

“It’s an embarrassment,” Jones said. “I don’t know what league you put him in because if you can’t see that here you can’t see it anywhere. Someone has to say something.”

The only thing that could be said about QPR’s resilience, however, was complimentary. Despite the disjointed manner with which this team has been put together allowing Wednesday the openings to both score and cause such panic, Redknapp’s side rallied amiradbly. Ultimately, as may be the story of this season, they had too much quality. The comeback effectively started when Barton whipped in an exceptional cross on 29 minutes from which Junior Hoilett should have scored. From the spell of pressure that created, Nedum Onuoha eventually turned in a Hoilett shot on 40 to equalise. Three minutes later, a Barton header forced a save from the excellent Chris Kirkland, but that only allowed Johnson to volley into an empty net.

That finish was celebrated with glee and, for all Jones’s complaints and the fact Maghoma hit the post on 72, there was no real sense of tension around Loftus Road thereafter. QPR still had the better of the game and the better of the chances, with substitute Charlie Austin heading just over for what would have been a debut goal.

By then, Barton had been applauded off. Speaking on television, Redknapp added to the plaudits.

“He's got on with it today as he has all week. He's been great in training and I picked him on merit, he knows the game, he tucks in little holes and passes perfectly, that's why I put him in the team.”

Whether Barton remains in that team or not, they at least start the season with three points.

 

QPR (4-4-2): Green 6; Simpson 7, Onuoha 7, Hill 6, Traore 6; Barton 8 (Wright-Phillips 81), Henry 7, Faurlin 7, Hoilett 7 (Jenas 90); Johnson 8, Zamora 6 (Austin 69)

Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): Kirkland 8; Palmer 6, Gardner 6, Helan 6; Antonio 6, Coke 6, (McCabe 69) Prutton 6, Mattock 6 (Maghoma 37); Johnson 6, Nuhiu 7 (McCabe 79)

Man of the match: Andy Johnson

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'