Austin stunner secures QPR win over Charlton Athletic
PUBLISHED: 16:58 23 November 2013 | UPDATED: 18:07 23 November 2013
Charlton Athletic 0
Charlie Austin’s spectacular strike secured a narrow win for QPR over Charlton Athletic at Loftus Road on Saturday afternoon.
Austin found the top corner from 30 yards five minutes before half-time, the only goal of a strangely low-key contest against the struggling Addicks.
It was Austin’s first goal in five matches and his seventh of the Championship campaign, and kept Harry Redknapp’s side on the coat-tails of leaders Burnley and Leicester City.
It was a landmark win for Redknapp, coming on the weekend which marks his 30th year in professional management.
Redknapp made one change as Niko Kranjcar returned to the starting line-up in place of Junior Hoilett, who is suffering from a slight hamstring strain.
And it was the Croatia international who had QPR’s first attempt on goal, exchanging passes with Jermaine Jenas but firing his shot high into the stand behind the goal.
Jenas, often criticised for having a lack of impact in matches, was heavily involved in the opening exchanges, first heading Danny Simpson’s cross at Charlton keeper Ben Hamer, and then exchanging passes with Charlie Austin but having his shot blocked by a defender.
Austin tested Hamer with a driven shot from the edge of the area, and Hamer then held Gary O’Neil’s side-footed shot as the home side dominated.
It took Charlton 23 minutes to muster a shot on Rob Green’s goal, as Simon Church latched on to Hamer’s throw, but his low shot was weakly-struck and Green gathered easily.
A 30-yard shot from Jordan Cousins called Green into more serious action, pushing the ball out from underneath the crossbar. At the other end, Phillips drew a fine save from Hamer, the winger shooting low on the turn and forcing the keeper to save low down to his right.
QPR took the lead with a spectacular strike from Austin just before the break. The forward edged in space in midfield and lashed a shot past Hamer into the top corner.
Charlton, poor in the first half, began the second period on the front foot. Dorian Dervite-Vassoue bundled his way into the area to win a corner, and from that delivery Bradley Pritchard sent a dipping volley a foot wide of Green’s right-hand post..
O’Neil sliced an effort wide from distance and Joey Barton tested Hamer with a low free-kick, while for Charlton, Dale Stephens blazed a half-volley over the bar.
Phillips was replaced by Andy Johnson as Rangers switched to two up front, but the result was rarely in danger as Charlton could muster little threat. Johnnie Jackson curled a late free-kick wastefully over the bar for the visitors, while Johnson set up O’Neil in injury-time, but the midfielder failed to keep his shot down.
And with almost the last kick, substitute Shaun Wright-Phillips curled a shot onto the face of the bar, as Rangers took all three points.
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