Helguson brace helps QPR to victory over Crawley
Crawley Town 2 Queens Park Rangers 4
Queens Park Rangers secured another pre-season victory away to League Two new boys Crawley Town last night thanks to a brace from Heidar Helguson and strikes from Kaspars Gorkss and Lee Cook.
Rangers boss Neil Warnock brought a strong starting line-up to the Broadfield Stadium, but there was no sign of Adel Taraabt, Jay Bothroyd, Kieron Dyer or Danny Gabbidon.
Warnock didn’t need his inspirational Moroccan or his new signings as the Premier League new boys were comfortable for large parts of this contest.
After just three minutes, the away side created the first attack of the match when Akos Buszaky fed Bradley Orr storming down the right, but his cross towards the back post was cleared by the home defence.
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After nine minutes, Tommy Smith nearly opened the scoring after latching on to a ball inside the danger area and hooked the the ball over goalkeeper Scott Shearer, only for a Crawley defender to clear off the line.
Rangers took the lead just 90 seconds later through central defender Gorkss after the home side failed to deal with Buszaky’s corner.
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The Latvian international was first to react after his initial header was blocked, before powering home into the top corner.
Buszaky then tested Shearer after 20 minutes with a stinging free-kick 30-yards out, but the custodian saved comfortably.
Just a minute later, Matthew Connolly rattled the bar for the Hoops after storming forward from defence, unleashing a thunderous shot from the edge of the penalty area as Rangers looked for a second goal.
But Crawley nearly equalised against the run of play after 27 minutes through Charlie Wassmer, but the central defender volleyed inches wide at the far post following Dean Howell’s dangerous free-kick.
And it was the home side who created the next chance of the match when Ben Smith tested Rangers ‘keeper Brian Murphy inside the 18-yard box with a volley from 12 yards.
The hosts should have equalised after 38 minutes through John Akinde, but the summer signing headed over from just six yards following Howell’s cross.
It was a bright spell for the home side, but it wasn’t enough as Rangers went into the break leading by just the single goal.
Within three minutes of the restart, Rangers grabbed their second of the match through Icelandic striker Heidar Helguson.
After good work inside the danger area from subsitute Lee Cook, the left winger found Helguson at the back post who made no mistake from close range.
The home side nearly found the net on 51 minutes when Scott Neilson’s cross found Wesley Thomas, but the striker couldn’t direct his glancing header towards goal.
But they did grab a goal back just before the hour mark when Wassmer made up for his first half miss from a corner.
The ball fell perfectly for the defender, who planted a powerful header past Radek Cerny after getting in front of his marker.
And they nearly found an equaliser on 65 minutes when Neilson broke free of the Rangers defence down the right, but the attacking midfielder could only shoot directly at Cerny.
But the Hoops extended their lead immediately through Helguson’s second goal of the match.
Hogan Ephraim burst through the middle, holding off defender Kyle McFadzean, before squaring the ball to the striker who rounded Shearer for an easy finish.
Rangers soon made it four thanks to Cook on 80 minutes, who sent a rasping shot to the top corner from inside the box after beating his marker with ease.
And it should have been five just a minute later when substitute Troy Hewitt somehow failed to hit the target with a header from just four yards.
The Red Devils didn’t give up, however, as they grabbed their second of the night in the dying moments through Wassmer again.
Neilson drove forward into the danger area before delivering a pinpoint cross for the defender to slam the ball home past Cerny via a slight deflection.
But Rangers were good value for the win as they warmed up for their top flight return with another good workout.
QPR: Murphy (Cerny 46), Orr, Connolly (Harriman 80) Gorkss (Shittu 46), Peroni (Ramage 46), Faurlin (Cook 46), Buszaky, Vaagan Moen, Ephraim (Doughty 70) Smith (Agyemang 46), Helguson (Hewitt 70).