QPR 2-2 Cardiff City: Malone hits stoppage-time equaliser as Bluebirds grab deserved point

Rangers trio James Perch (left), Karl Henry (centre) and Clint Hill surround referee, Simon Hooper a

Rangers trio James Perch (left), Karl Henry (centre) and Clint Hill surround referee, Simon Hooper after Cardiff's injury-time equaliser - Credit: EMPICS Sport

Scott Malone came back to haunt QPR again as Cardiff City left it late to grab a deserved point at Loftus Road on Saturday evening.

Malone, who scored a last-gasp equaliser against Rangers for Millwall at the same ground in April 2014, denied the hosts a first league win of the season with a brilliant long-range drive deep into stoppage time as Chris Ramsey’s side surrendered their two-goal advantage to the Bluebirds.

Clint Hill and Charlie Austin had appeared to put the hosts in complete control with goals either side of the break, but Sean Morrison and Malone both found the net after the break to ensure a share of the spoils in front of the Sky cameras.

Ramsey made one change to the side which lost at Charlton on the opening day, with Ben Gladwin replacing the injured Jamie Mackie.

After a bright start from the Rs it was the visitors who went closest to scoring on 17 minutes as Joe Ralls flashed a cross across the six-yard box which just evaded Anthony Pilkington at the far post.

Pilkington was again involved in another dangerous attack for his side as his close-range shot was palmed away by Rob Green, with Slade’s side continuing to up the tempo.

It was Rangers who took the lead against the run of play though on 33 minutes, with Hill rising highest to head home Matt Phillips’ precise corner from the left to bag the Rs’ first league goal of the season.

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Lee Peltier’s poor backpass resulted in the corner with the veteran centre back on hand to score his first goal since April with Rangers taking a fortuitous lead going into the break.

The visitors started the second half the livelier with Alex Revell squandering a golden opportunity to level proceedings, shooting straight at Green after Pilkington found him alone inside the six-yard box.

Up the other end Ramsey’s side went close to doubling their lead as Phillips raced clear on goal with his fierce right-footed strike deflecting off former QPR defender Matt Connolly and then forcing Simon Moore into a superb stop.

It wasn’t long before Rangers extended their lead though, as Austin bundled the ball home on 56 minutes after Hill’s knock on from Phillips’ corner, with the vistors’ calls for a handball turned away by referee Simon Hooper.

Slade’s side reacted almost instantly though as they reduced the deficit, with Morrison left unmarked in the box to head home Peter Whittingham’s corner on 63 minutes.

Austin, largely ineffective for much of the game, went agonisingly close to restoring QPR’s two-goal lead on 67 minutes.

Massimo Luongo’s cut-back found Austin, whose turned his marker with ease before planting a shot towards the far corner, but Connolly got something on it as the ball hit off the post and out for a corner.

Phillips was denied again by Moore as Rangers searched for an all-important third goal, before substitute Jay Emmanuel-Thomas missed a golden opportunity to settle the contest in the closing stages but fired well wide.

Rangers were made to pay for that as Malone struck a superb left-footed effort into the roof of the net in stoppage time with Green rooted firmly to the spot, as the pulsating Championship encounter ended 2-2.

QPR (4-4-1-1): Green, Perch, Onuoha, Hill, Konchesky, Phillips, Henry, Luongo, Gladwin (Emmanuel-Thomas 76), Chery (Doughty 55), Austin (Polter 68).

Subs not used: Lumley, Hall, Kpekawa, Faurlin.

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