QPR 1 Watford 0
By Ian Cooper WHILE Rangers fans were still savouring survival, followers of Watford must have been ruing just how much had changed since these two sides were originally scheduled to meet. Back in February, the Hornets were contenders for a play-off spot
By Ian Cooper
WHILE Rangers fans were still savouring survival, followers of Watford must have been ruing just how much had changed since these two sides were originally scheduled to meet.
Back in February, the Hornets were contenders for a play-off spot but, on Tuesday night, Akos Buzsaky left Malky Mackay's side on the brink of relegation from the Championship.
A slow burner of a game only flickered to life in the second half, but by that time Buzsaky had already inflicted the damage, scoring from the spot to fire Rangers to a first home win in four.
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Buzsaky had always seemed the man most likely to score for the Rs, ballooning a shot over the bar from the edge of the penalty area, and stinging Scott Loach's palms with a 35-yard free-kick inside the first 15 minutes.
Watford seemed content to stifle the hosts' creativity rather than probe for their own openings, with nothing but Henri Lansbury's free kick - easily dealt with by Radek Cerny, - to show for their endeavours.
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The visitors were at least succeeding in disrupting Rangers' attacking threat, with Adel Taarabt seeing little of the ball before he was substituted before the break, and it was through their own undoing when QPR took the lead three minutes before half-time.
Adrian Mariappa's touch on the marauding Dusko Tosic was enough for the left-back to go to ground inside the area and the referee pointed to the spot.
Rangers were fortunate to get the decision, but Buzsaky made no mistake with the penalty, drilling low to Loach's right.
Lansbury scuffed a shot wide for Watford, but Rangers should have grabbed a second just after the break when Mikele Leigertwood's cross screamed untouched across the six-yard box.
Watford upped the tempo as the second half progressed, and missed a glorious chance when Marvin Sordell crossed for Danny Graham, who could only brush his header across the goal and wide.
Jon Harley missed a similar chance from another Sordell cross, as QPR suddenly came under siege, although they might have snatched a second when substitute Jay Simpson was denied by Loach.
Watford's threatened revival never materialised, as a forgettable game fizzled out.