QPR beaten as Brighton go top

QPR 1 Brighton 2

QPR were undone by two goals in the space of six second-half minutes at Loftus Road.

Glenn Murray opened the scoring following an error by Nedum Onuoha and Sebastien Pocognoli doubled Brighton’s lead with a brilliant free-kick.

Matt Smith pulled a goal back with a header from Luke Freeman’s 74th-minute corner before Idrissa Sylla missed a glorious late chance to equalise.

Brighton’s win took them back to the top of the Championship – and Onuoha’s 58th-minute mistake proved to be a crucial moment in the match.

After the Rangers captain gave away possession, Murray laid the ball off to Tomer Hemed and then sprinted through to collect the Israeli’s return pass and fire past keeper Alex Smithies.

Murray and Hemed both had goals disallowed in the first half after being offside before being found by crosses from Anthony Knockaert and Pocognoli respectively.

But there was no room for doubt when Murray finished emphatically – and certainly none when Pocognoli’s stunning strike went in off the underside of the bar.

QPR boss Ian Holloway responded to the goals by making a double substitution, sending on Freeman and Yeni Ngbakoto in place of Ravel Morrison and Jack Robinson.

Morrison was totally ineffective in his first start since returning to Rangers on loan from Lazio, while the injury-plagued Robinson featured for the first time since January.

Freeman, on the other hand, made an immediate impact by playing a key part in Rangers’ goal.

Smith missed a good chance when his weak header from Freeman’s left-wing cross was saved by keeper David Stockdale.

But Smith atoned from Freeman’s resulting corner, scoring his fourth goal since his January move from Fulham.

Sylla, also on as a substitute, should have levelled but was unable to find a way past Stockdale from close range after being found by Ryan Manning’s low cross.

QPR: Smithies; Onuoha, Hall, Lynch (Sylla 77); Perch, Luongo, Manning, Robinson (Ngbakoto 65); Morrison (Freeman 65); Washington, Smith.
Subs not used: Ingram, Bidwell, Goss, Wszolek.