QPR suffer Faurlin injury in narrow win over Derby
- Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images
Championship: QPR 2 Derby County 1
Steve McClaren’s return to Loftus Road ended in defeat as QPR put their recent Championship slump behind them with a pulsating win.
Jermaine Jenas’s first goal of the season put Harry Redknapp’s promotion hopefuls in front early in the first half, only for Simon Dawkins to grab an equaliser for the visitors.
However, Jake Buxton headed into his own net under pressure from Clint Hill after the break to hand Rangers their first league win in four matches, and consign McClaren to his first defeat since he left his coaching role at QPR to take over at Pride Park in September.
Rangers were good value for their win, but their afternoon was soured by a leg injury to midfielder Alejandro Faurlin, who was stretchered off in the second half
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Matt Phillips might have opened the scoring after seven minutes, but his header from a corner flew over Lee Grant’s crossbar. However, the Rs hit the front four minutes later as Jenas grabbed quite possibly the easiest goal of his career.
Phillips’ cross from the right was met by Charlie Austin, whose shot was pushed out by Lee Grant straight to Jenas to tap the ball into the net from barely two yards.
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An error by Derby defender Buxton then allowed Phillips to take the ball to the byline and cross again for Charlie Austin, but the striker’s shot flew high into the crowd.
Derby, who had created little in the opening stages, shocked Loftus Road by drawing level just before the midway point in the first half. Buxton headed down a free-kick to Dawkins, who fired into the bottom corner with Rs goalkeeper Rob Green rooted to the spot.
The Rs should have retaken the lead almost immediately as Austin met Faurlin’s corner with a free header, but sent the ball a foot wide of the post, before Barton’s shot from the edge of the area was blocked, as QPR stepped up the pressure before half-time.
In the final minute of the half, Barton jinked his way to the edge of the area and set up Junior Hoilett, who thumped a shot narrowly over the crossbar.
Derby began the second half on the front foot, with Rs defender Hill stretching to clear a dangerous cross, before Craig Bryson let fly with a free-kick which cleared the bar.
The visitors were almost gifted a second goal when Simpson’s error allowed Bryson to force Green to save low down to his left. Chris Martin arrived on the follow-up but sent his shot into the side netting. Jamie Ward also tried his luck with a low shot which Green gathered.
At the other end, Rangers were playing in fits and starts. Hoilett darted into the penalty area and dragged his shot across goal, where Austin sent a tame back-heel into the arms of Grant.
The hosts needed a lucky break, and it arrived on 63 minutes. Phillips was fouled on the wing, and Faurlin whipped a free-kick to the back post where Jermaine Jenas jumped with defender Buxton, and the ball looped past Grant and into the net.
Phillips, who had been poor in the first half, so nearly added a spectacular third goal, but after beating his marker saw his shot smash back off the crossbar.
Faurlin’s afternoon was cut short, the midfielder stretchered off after suffering a leg injury. Karl Henry came on in his place with 12 minutes remaining.
Armand Traore also came on, replacing Junior Hoilett, and he quickly set up Austin for what looked a certain goal, but the striker’s shot was deflected wide for a corner.
With five minutes of injury-time added on, Ward came agonisingly close to a second equaliser with a free-kick which Green tipped around the post.
QPR: Green, Simpson, Dunne, Hill, Assou-Ekotto, Phillips, Jenas, Barton, Faurlin, Hoilett, Austin. Subs: Murphy, Traore, Johnson, Wright-Phillips, Onyewu, Chevanton, Henry.
Derby County: Grant, Forsyth, Bryson, Keogh, Martin, Ward, Eustace, Hughes, Buxton, Dawkins, Wisdom. Subs: Morch, Smith, Jacobs, Freeman, Sammon, Bennett, Ball.