Late goal gives QPR derby victory


QPR 2 Charlton 1

Nasser El Khayati’s injury-time strike – his first goal for QPR – gave them victory over troubled Charlton at Loftus Road.

Jordan Cousins’ second-half equaliser looked set to earn a point for the second-from-bottom Addicks before substitute El Khayati curled a glorious shot from the left-hand edge of the penalty area into the top corner of the net.

Cousins netted on 62 minutes when he cut in from the right-hand side and guided a left-footed effort beyond keeper Alex Smithies.

It cancelled out a fortuitous goal by Matt Phillips, whose right-wing cross crept in at the far post after team-mate Junior Hoilett had failed to connect with a header.

But El Khayati, a January signing from Burton, restored Rangers’ lead and nudged Charlton closer to relegation from the Championship.

Phillips’ goal – his eighth of the season – came in the final seconds of a dour first half.

The best opportunity before the opener fell to Rangers, but after James Perch collected Phillips’ clever pass and crossed from the right, Sebastian Polter was unable to connect at the far post.

Charlton had another let-off when Tjaronn Chery’s left-wing free-kick ricocheted off Perch into the arms of keeper Nick Pope.

At the other end, Smithies pushed away a shot from Callum Harriott and Rod Fanni headed wide from Harriott’s free-kick before Phillips broke the deadlock.

Harriott went close to equalising soon after the restart when he went past Jack Robinson only to steer his shot against the bar.

Robinson, signed from Liverpool in the summer of 2014 and immediately sent on a season-long loan to Huddersfield, was making his QPR debut, having recovered from a cruciate injury he suffered in March last year while playing for the Yorkshire club.

Until Harriott’s moment of skill, left-back Robinson looked comfortable in an encouraging first outing for Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s side.

And having been rescued by the woodwork, Rangers also looked comfortable before conceding an equaliser against the run of play.

Philips missed a chance to make it 2-0, Chery saw a shot deflected wide and another well saved by Pope, and Polter headed over from a Phillips free-kick before Cousins hauled the Addicks level.

Polter had an opportunity to restore Rangers’ lead but shot wastefully wide after being set up by the impressive Chery.

And teenage striker Ademola Lookman missed a fantastic late chance for Charlton before Smithies came to QPR’s rescue.

Lookman blasted over after cutting on to his right foot, and Smithies produced a brilliant point-blank save to deny Igor Vetokele after the Angolan found himself through on goal.

They proved to be costly misses for the visitors, whose defeat leaves them 10 points from safety with five matches remaining.

QPR: Smithies; Perch, (Kpekawa 54) Onuoha, Hall, Robinson; Henry, Luongo; Phillips (Gladwin 72), Chery, Hoilett (El Khayati 84); Polter.
Subs not used: Ingram, Faurlin, Petrasso, Washington.