QPR pay tribute to Faurlin as Barton earns draw at Reading
- Credit: EMPICS Sport
Championship: Reading 1 QPR 1
Joey Barton struck a brilliant late free-kick as QPR came from behind to take a share of the spoils against Reading on Saturday afternoon.
Barton found the net with 12 minutes remaining, curling a shot past Reading keeper Alex McCarthy to cancel out Garath McCleary’s opener for the home side.
Rangers celebrated their equaliser with a tribute to midfielder Alejandro Faurlin, whose knee injury against Derby County last weekend ruled him out for the rest of the season.
In truth, Harry Redknapp’s side should have left Berkshire with all three points, having created a hat-ful of chances – particularly in the first 45 minutes.
But they were frustrated for long periods by a combination of poor finishing and fine goalkeeping, and ultimately were grateful to depart the Madejski Stadium with a point.
Gary O’Neil replaced the injured Faurlin, while Niko Kranjcar and Nedum Onuoha both returned to the bench after recovering from injury.
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Rangers created a flurry of chances inside the first 10 minutes. Almost immediately, Junior Hoilett let fly from 30 yards and watch as his shot crashed back off the crossbar.
McCarthy was called into action twice in quick succession, saving at his near post from Charlie Austin after the striker had pounced on a defensive slip, before Austin met Matt Phillips’ cross with a first-time shot which the keeper saved with his legs.
But despite their early dominance, QPR were unable to find the early breakthrough, and Reading edged their way back into the contest. McCleary should have done better after side-stepping Richard Dunne, but his shot sailed over the crossbar.
Pavel Poggebnyak came closer , getting his foot to McCleary’s cross but poking his shot wide, and sending a far-post header into the stand behind the goal.
Rangers then suffered a blow as Jenas departed holding his hamstring. He was replaced by Kranjcar, himself returning from a hamstring injury.
Rangers then temporarily lost their momentum. Sean Morrison had the hosts’ best chance of the first half when he met a free-kick with a firm header which Rob Green pushed aside.
Still the chances flowed, as QPR responded to Reading’s spell of pressure with two excellent opportunities of their own. Austin’s firm header was kept out by McCarthy, before the keeper dived full length to keep out Hoilett’s stinging low drive towards the end of the half.
A quieter start to the second half was punctuated by half-chances for QPR. Austin and Benoi Assou-Ekotto both had shots blocked, and Joey Barton’s strike from distance went wide.
Reading, who had been second-best for much of the contest, then took the lead with a goal of superb quality. McCleary was allowed space 30 yards out, and he sent a powerful shot past the sprawling Green and into the net via the inside of the post.
In response to that goal, Redknapp sent on Andy Johnson in place of O’Neil, and Johnson quickly set up Austin for a shot which McCarthy gathered.
With Rangers pressing for an equaliser they were leaving gaps at the back, and a quick Reading counter-attack ended with Green saving Jordan Obita’s effort with his feet.
However, it was QPR who struck with a deserved equaliser. Austin was fouled on the edge of the box, and Barton curled the resulting free-kick past McCarthy and into the net.
Barton and his team-mates celebrated by racing to the dugout, and hauling a shirt bearing Faurlin’s name into the air.
Johnson almost won it, swivelling inside the area but sending his shot narrowly wide.