A meeting between two London-based clubs took centre stage in the EFL Championship on Sunday afternoon. Both sides came into this on the back of contrasting fortunes in the FA Cup; with QPR suffering a heartbreaking 3-2 defeat against Premier League side Bournemouth, while Watford edged past National League leaders Chesterfield.
QPR: Begovic; Cannon, Dunne, Clarke-Salter, Paal; Colback, Field; Willock, Chair, Armstrong; Dykes
WAT: Hamer; Andrews, Sierralta, Hoedt, Morris; Livermore; Martins, Dele-Bashiru, Chakvetadze, Asprilla; Healey
The home side had the better chances in the opening stages at Loftus Road, and almost saw themselves find an early opener twice with Chris Willock’s long-range effort travelled just wide of the far corner. Sinclair Armstrong also saw a header go just over the bar moments after. Ilias Chair’s free kick in the 21st minute also flew over the frame of the goal.
The game eventually settled down between both sides after a frantic start, with QPR still the more creative team, but they almost fell behind to what would have been a wonderful strike from Matheus Martins. However, the Watford winger’s strike edged just past the far post.
Up the other end, Lyndon Dykes was the next to test Ben Hamer in the Watford goal, but the Scotsman’s long-range strike edged just past the crossbar. Sinclair Armstrong’s ball in from the right hand side was then palmed away unconvincingly by Ben Hamer; only for Ryan Andrews to make a brilliant last-ditch tackle to prevent Ilias Chair from getting to the rebound.
Armstrong was also involved very early in the second half, as his blistering run forward saw him cut inside and force a good save out of Ben Hamer in the Watford goal.
Down the other end minutes later, Watford broke away on the counter attack, and eventually worked the ball to Giorgi Chakvetadze, who fired an effort towards goal, only for it to be deflected behind for a corner which saw QPR then break away on the counter.
Asmir Begovic’s excellent ball upfield saw Ilias Chair work the ball to Sinclair Armstrong, who got past Francisco Sierralta to get his shot away, but a heavy first touch stopped the QPR striker from doing so.
As the game reached the hour mark, however, the deadlock was finally broken, and through a veteran who’d seen it all over the years. Jake Livermore found some space just outside the box after receiving the ball from Matheus Martins. And from 20 yards out, the midfielder curled a wonderful strike past a diving Asmir Begovic to make the home side pay for missing their chances.Embed from Getty Images
Up the other end, a flick-on by Lyndon Dykes from a throw-in saw the ball fall to Jack Colback, who saw his first-time effort drift just of the bottom left corner.
In the 65th minute, however, Watford doubled their advantage. Marti Cifuentes’ charges attempted to clear their lines from a decent cross by Tom Dele-Bashiru, but a tame clearance then fell to Jake Livermore, who tried his luck from range again and found the net again, leaving Asmir Begovic rooted to the ground.
Hornets substitute Mileta Rajovic almost put the cherry on the cake for the visitors, but his header from a wide delivery flew just over the bar.
Up the other end just moments later, though, QPR finally got the goal their creativity in front of goal deserved. Paul Smyth, who came on for Ilias Chair earlier in the second half, show some excellent skill on the right hand side before whipping a dangerous ball in towards Lyndon Dykes, who headed home from a few yards out to bring the Hoops back into the game.Embed from Getty Images
The Hoops almost rescued a point in stoppage time through Jimmy Dunne, but his brilliant low strike from just inside the box forced a wonderful save out of Ben Hamer. However, it proved too little, too late from the Hoops as they were left pondering what would’ve happened if they’d taken more of their chances.
Both sides are next in action on Saturday, where QPR host Joe Edwards’ Millwall at Loftus Road and Watford make the trip west to take on Bristol City – both games kick off at 3pm.