Championship: QPR 2 Ipswich Town 1
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Jamie Mackie and Luke Freeman scored as QPR marked the 100th anniversary of their first match at Loftus Road with a Sky Bet Championship victory over Ipswich.
Mackie netted a couple of minutes before the interval and Freeman doubled Rangers’ lead with a fine strike three minutes into the second half.
Ipswich barely threatened before substitute Bersant Celina’s 89th-minute goal.
The hosts dominated from the start and Conor Washington went close to giving them an early lead.
Shortly after seeing his long-range shot held by goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski, Washington headed narrowly wide from Massimo Luongo’s right-wing cross.
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Another cross from the right, this time by Pawel Wszolek, just evaded Alex Baptiste before the ball dropped at the far post to Freeman, whose effort was kept out by Bialkowski.
Freeman was denied by Bialkowski again on the half-hour mark. The Rangers midfielder pounced on the loose ball after Flynn Downes’ slip, deceived Jordan Spence with a clever step-over, and then fired in a shot which was pushed away by Bialkowski.
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The home side eventually went ahead courtesy of Mackie’s second goal of the season. Luongo laid the ball off to Wszolek and Mackie found the far corner of the net with a sweet first-time strike from the Pole’s right-wing cross.
And Ipswich never looked like staging a comeback after Freeman made it 2-0 with a left-footed shot from 20 yards, having cleverly wriggled his way into space near the edge of the penalty area.
Town, who won four of their opening five Championship matches this term, were second best throughout and would have lost by a greater margin were it not for Bialkowski.
The Polish stopper produced a fine save to keep out a shot from Wszolek and also did well to save Washington’s powerful drive as Rangers continued to have the upper hand in the second half.
Recent signing David Wheeler was introduced for his R’s debut with 13 minutes remaining and a chance quickly came the winger’s way.
Wheeler, signed from Exeter on the eve of the transfer deadline, dragged a shot wide of the target after Ipswich had failed to deal with Freeman’s left-wing corner.
Matt Smith, also on as a late substitute for Rangers, fired wide from close range shortly before Celina’s fine consolation goal.
The on-loan Manchester City youngster drifted in from the left and sent an unstoppable 25-yard shot beyond keeper Alex Smithies.
Tom Adeyemi missed a stoppage-time chance to equalise, but Rangers were worthy winners ahead of Tuesday’s visit from Millwall.