QPR 2 Millwall 2: Smith saves point for Rs
PUBLISHED: 22:02 12 September 2017 | UPDATED: 22:02 12 September 2017
Matt Smith scored an 85th-minute equaliser as QPR came back from two goals down to draw with 10-man Millwall in an action-packed London derby at Loftus Road.
Conor McLaughlin fired the Lions ahead in the sixth minute and they were well on top before Lee Gregory was red-carded for a crude two-footed challenge on Josh Scowen four minutes before half-time.
Jed Wallace nevertheless doubled the visitors’ lead five minutes into the second half and they looked set for a first away win since being promoted back to the Sky Bet Championship.
But Massimo Luongo pulled a goal back for Rangers with 17 minutes remaining, volleying in from 10 yards out after keeper Jordan Archer had punched away Luke Freeman’s left-wing corner.
And when Byron Webster failed to clear Kazenga LuaLua’s left-wing cross, substitute Smith hooked the ball in to earn QPR a point.
Millwall made an excellent start and would have gone ahead in only the second minute had Alex Smithies not produced a superb save to deny striker Gregory at close range.
Smithies was unable to rescue Rangers, who had beaten Ipswich 2-1 at the weekend, when McLaughlin collected Wallace’s pass and held off Freeman before sending a thumping volley into the far corner of the net.
And QPR continued to struggle, although Freeman brought a save from Archer with a fiercely-struck volley.
The home side were soon on the back foot again and Smithies kept out headers from Steve Morison and George Saville.
Webster then headed Shane Ferguson’s left-wing corner over the bar as Millwall continued to have the upper hand.
Rangers, lifted by Gregory’s dismissal, ended the first half strongly and Conor Washington missed a great chance to equalise.
The ball dropped to the Northern Irishman when Millwall were unable to clear their lines after Archer had parried Luongo’s shot, but Washington fired against the post from near the edge of the six-yard box.
Hoping to capitalise on his team’s numerical advantage, Rangers’ former Millwall boss Ian Holloway brought on target man Smith at half-time and switched to three up front.
But the R’s switched off at the back and were punished as they hesitated after Shaun Williams lifted the ball towards Wallace, who shot through Smithies’ legs from a tight angle.
After Luongo hauled QPR back into the game, the outstanding Archer produced fine saves to keep out Smith’s header and Scowen’s left-footed volley before Smith eventually found the net.
And Freeman almost won it for Rangers when his injury-time free-kick hit the bar.
QPR: Smithies, Baptiste, Onuoha (Smith 46), Robinson, Wszolek, Luongo, Scowen, Freeman, Bidwell, Washington (Sylla 52), Mackie (Lua Lua 62). Unused subs: Furlong, Manning, Lumley, Wheeler.