Unbeaten QPR set club record with win over Barnsley
- Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Images
Championship QPR 2 Barnsley 0
QPR’s defence set a new club record as Rangers extended their unbeaten league run to 10 games with victory over Barnsley at Loftus Road on Saturday afternoon.
A remarkable eighth consecutive clean sheet in the league overtook the total achieved by Peter Springett in 1967, as Harry Redknapp’s side stayed second in the table behind leaders Burnley.
Charlie Austin’s double after half-time – the second a penalty - rewarded QPR’s almost total dominance against a Barnsley side which spent most of the day defending.
But the plaudits right went to the home side’s defence, who have still not been breached since the 1-1 draw against Huddersfield back on August 10.
Redknapp’s side were unchanged from last weekend’s win over Middlesbrough, with long-term injury absentees Bobby Zamora, Andy Johnson and Julio Cesar still missing from the squad, along with winger Matt Phillips who is yet to recover from an arm injury.
It was the visitors who almost grabbed an early lead when Thomas Kennedy’s floated cross almost caught out Rob Green, the Rangers keeper reacting well to tip the ball over the crossbar to safety.
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With Barnsley setting up two banks of four in their efforts to frustrate the hosts, QPR were having to be patient in their build-up. Left-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto slipped a pass in to the feet of Charlie Austin, but the in-form forward’s shot was blocked by Peter Ramage for a corner.
From that corner, centre-back Richard Dunne sent a thumping header towards the bottom corner, but, with goalkeeper Jack Butland beaten, David Perkins cleared the ball off the line.
As QPR gradually increased the pressure, Butland was in action again seven minutes before half-time. Assou-Ekotto sent Austin in once again, but the former Burnley man’s close-range shot was brilliantly saved by the Barnsley keeper. Alejandro Faurlin arrived on the follow-up but his strike was blocked, and the away side survived.
Joey Barton then thumped a shot past Butland’s left-hand post, before Barnsley thought they should have had a penalty when the ball struck Niko Kranjcar’s arm, but their appeals were ignored by the referee as the sides went in level at the break.
A subdued start to the second half saw half-chances at either end, with Ramage sending a header over the bar for Barnsley and Barton curling a free-kick off-target. Barton then played in Faurlin on the edge of the area, but the Argentine’s shot lacked power and Butland saved easily.
QPR came within inches of the opening goal just before the hour-mark. Carroll found Barton racing into the penalty area, and the midfielder’s cut-back was hammered towards goal by Kranjcar. However, Paddy McCourt had raced back and cleared the ball off the line.
Redknapp replaced Fuarlin with Junior Hoilett, and the winger made an immediate impact. From a corner, Hoilett beat his man and broke into the area, and his cross was tucked home by Austin.
The goal was met with relief by the home fans, and sparked a period of comfortable QPR dominance as the home side passed the ball around their frustrated opponents.
Hoilett was a threat again, his cross cleared over the bar by a Barnsley defender, and from the set-piece Clint Hill headed over Butland’s crossbar, before Austin’s shot on the turn was blocked.
Austin then made and scored the second goal, drawing a foul from defender Martin Cranie, and scoring the resulting penalty to wrap up the points for QPR.
Kranjcar made way for new signing Javier Chevanton, and the debutant might have found the net, but his rising drive just cleared Butland’s crossbar.
QPR: Green, Simpson, Hill, Dunne, Assou-Ekotto, Barton, Carroll, Faurlin, Kranjcar, O’Neil, Austin. Subs: Murphy, Traore, Jenas, Chevanton, Henry, Hoilett, Ehmer.