Wes Brown goal sees QPR fall to late defeat at home to Sunderland
Premier League: QPR 2 Sunderland 3
Wes Brown stole a dramatic late winner for Sunderland at Loftus Road on Wednesday night as QPR’s second-half comeback failed to prevent their fourth home defeat of the season.
Centre-back Brown headed Kieran Richardson’s corner in off the underside of the crossbar with four minutes remaining, to give Martin O’Neill’s side a win which lifted them above the Rs in the table.
It was an ultimately cruel finish to the game for Neil Warnock’s men, who had fought their way back into the match from 2-0 down thanks to second-half strikes from Heidar Helguson and Jamie Mackie, who netted his first goal in almost a year.
Nicklas Bendtner and Stephane Sessegnon had earlier put the Mackems in control, in a match which swung one way and then another in a frantic second half in west London.
Rangers made the brighter start and won several early corners, but it was the visitors who should have gone ahead when Larsson’s free-kick was flicked on and Bendtner headed against the post.
But the Danish striker made no mistake minutes later. Richardson swung in a corner, and Bendtner headed powerfully into the net at the near post to give his side the lead.
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QPR’s lack of creativity which has been so evident in recent games once again on show, with the central trio of Shaun Derry, Alejandro Faurlin and Joey Barton struggling to find any cohesion.
Once in front, Sunderland took control of the rest of the first half, with the dangerous Larsson and combative Lee Cattermole controlling midfield and frustrating a QPR side devoid of ideas.
Sunderland could have gone in further ahead at the break as Sessegnon led a break up the field, only to see his shot blocked inside the penalty area by Danny Gabbidon.
As against Manchester United on Sunday, Warnock sought to inject some impetus into his side by throwing on Adel Taarabt – this time the Moroccan had 45 minutes in which to make an impact.
The game took a seemingly decisive turn eight minutes into the second half, which began when Armand Traore crossed for Helguson at the back post, but the striker’s header was nodded of the line by Titus Bramble. Sunderland broke up the field, and immediately grabbed a second goal.
Sessegnon was QPR’s tormentor this time, sprinting through the centre to skip around Paddy Kenny and slot into the net to give the home side the most daunting of mountains to climb.
QPR desperately needed a swift response, and they achieved exactly that by halving the deficit on 62 minutes. Faurlin crossed low from the left, and Helguson bundled in his seventh goal of the season from close range.
Incredibly, Rangers were level four minutes later. Faurlin was the instigator again, lifting the ball into the box for Helguson to head across the box where Mackie nodded past Keiran Westwood.
Suddenly it was a different contest, with the Rs poring forward and Sunderland at panic stations. Taarabt tried his luck from 20 yards but saw his strike arrow over the Sunderland crossbar.
But for all their sudden dominance, the Rs could have fallen behind again as Sunderland launched another quick counter-attack, which ended with Craig Gardner’s curling shot heading for the far corner before being tipped around the post by Kenny.
QPR continued to press, yet just as they looked likely to grab all three points, it was Sunderland who struck the decisive blow.
Richardson’s brilliant delivery was met at the near post by Brown, whose header beat Faurlin on the line. There was no time for another unlikely comeback, as O’Neill’s side celebrated a priceless win and QPR were left staring down at the drop zone.
QPR: Kenny, Derry, Gabbidon, Faurlin, Mackie, Traore, Connolly, Barton, Young, Helguson, Wright-Phillips.
Subs: Cerny, Hill, Hall, Taarabt, Campbell, Bothroyd, Smith.
Sunderland: Westwood, Bardsley, Brown, Cattermole, Larsson, Richardson, Vaughan, O’Shea, Bramble, Sessegnon, Bendtner.
Subs: Carson, Gardner, Kilgallon, Colback, Ji, McClean, Elmehamady.