Millwall 1 Queens Park Rangers 0: QPR lose out on Ian Holloway’s return to the Lions
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Sky Bet Championship: Millwall 1 (Morison 55) Queens Park Rangers 0
Ian Holloway’s return to Millwall ended in a 1-0 defeat as his Queens Park Rangers side were beaten away from home.
Despite being under pressure for much of the first half, the Rs were able to make it to the break without conceding.
However, a goal early in the second half proved the difference as the west Londoners saw a three-game unbeaten run come to an end/
QPR made two changes for the trip south of the river, with Bright Osayi-Samuel coming in for the suspended Josh Scowen.
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The only other alteration from the Boxing Day draw at Ipswich Town saw Grant Hall make his first start since April, replacing the ill Jack Robinson in defence.
The Rs were under the cosh early on at The Den, with Aiden O’Brien narrowly flicking a George Saville cross over the bar in the eighth minute.
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Despite plenty of endeavour from both sides, there was little in the way of goalmouth action early on.
The Lions nearly took the lead in the 28th minute when the ball found its way to O’Brien in the box, but his effort was blocked by QPR stopper Alex Smithies.
A minute later, the Rs goal was under threat again when a Jed Wallace cross from the left found Lee Gregory six yards out.
Gregory spun marker Alex Baptisite before firing at goal, but saw his effort turned behind for a corner by a combination of Smithies and Hall.
QPR’s goal was certainly leading a charmed life, with Wallace firing wide himself in the 33rd minute after showing fast feet to get into the box.
When the west Londoners were finally able to get into the hosts’ half, they almost took the lead through Jake Bidwell.
A cross from the right by Alex Baptiste with 11 minutes to go until the break found Bidwell at the back post, but his header was straight at stopper Jordan Archer.
That proved to be the final goalmouth action of the half as the sides went into the break level.
Early in the second half, Bidwell was involved again, crossing the ball for Freeman in the 49th minute, but the subsequent header was comfortable for Archer.
However, just six minutes later, the Rs fell behind when Steve Morison headed home a Jed Wallace cross from the right.
QPR nearly mustered a response in the 62nd minute when Freeman found Osayi-Samuel in the box, but the former Blackpool man’s effort was tame.
That seemed to spur the Loftus Road outfit into life, with Massimo Luongo testing Archer from the edge of the area three minutes later.
The Millwall stopper fumbled the shot initially, before gathering at the second attempt at the feet of the onrushing Jake Bidwell.
With 15 minutes remaining, the Lions could have doubled their lead, but a Wallace shot from 18 yards was well saved by Smithies.
In the 88th minute, a corner from Luke Freeman was narrowly headed wide at the far post by substitute Matt Smith.
That proved to be the last effort of note for the Rs, who were unable to mount a comeback and will hope for better at home to Cardiff City on New Year’s Day.
Millwall (4-3-3): Archer; Romeo, Hutchinson, Cooper, Meredith; Wallace, Tunnicliffe, Saville, O’Brien (Williams 69); Morison, Gregory (Onyedinma 81).
Subs: Martin (GK), Craig, Thompson, Twardek, Mbulu.
QPR (3-5-2): Smithies; Baptisite, Onuoha, Hall; Wszolek (Smith 58), Cousins, Luongo, Freeman, Bidwell; Sylla (Wheeler 81), Osayi-Samuel (Oteh 69).
Subs: Lumley (GK), Furlong, Washington, Manning.
Referee: Keith Stroud.
Attendance: 16,601 (including 1,820 QPR fans).