Fulham 2 Queens Park Rangers 2: Late Pawel Wszolek goal eanrs draw for QPR at Whites
PUBLISHED: 14:29 17 March 2018
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Sky Bet Championship: Fulham 2 (Cairney 32, Piazon 45) Queens Park Rangers 2 (Luongo 45+3, Wszolek 81)
A late equaliser from Pawel Wszolek earned Queens Park Rangers a share of the spoils against west London rivals Fulham in the Championship.
The Rs struggled to see much of the ball in the first half, but despite conceding twice, a Massimo Luongo goal offered hope at the interval.
After the break, it was a different story, with the Loftus Road outfit on top and Wszolek netting a deserved equaliser.
QPR boss Ian Holloway was forced into one change for the clash following a superb win at Aston Villa on Tuesday night.
Josh Scowen missed out with suspected appendicitis, with Luke Freeman recalled to the starting XI.
The Rs looked to have fallen behind in the fourth minute when Ryan Sessegnon tapped in from close range after Alex Smithies parried Lucas Piazon’s initial shot.
However, Sessegnon was adjudged to have been offside when Piazon shot, with the Loftus Road outfit breathing a sigh of relief.
The Cottagers threatened again in the 17th minute, but Aleksandar Mitrovic’s effort from 18 yards was deflected over for a corner that came to nothing.
Five minutes later, another set piece from Slavisa Jokanovic’s men found Sessegnon at the far post, but his header was comfortable for Smithies to save.
With 18 minutes left in the half, a swift counter-attack down the left by QPR resulted in a Jake Bidwell ball finding Wszolek in the box.
The Polish international, though, was unable to get the ball under control, before Fulham keeper Marcus Bettinelli came out to gather.
The Whites’ pressure finally told in the 32nd minute when home skipper Tom Cairney struck.
The midfielder was given acres of room in the middle of the park and let fly from 20 yards, drilling the ball low and hard into the corner.
QPR could have conceded a second just over two minutes later, but a cross-shot from Ryan Fredericks avoided everyone in the box.
With six minutes left in the half, a low ball into the area from the left by Matt Target was narrowly prodded wide by Mitrovic.
The Rs went close to drawing level when Wszolek embarked on a driving run, but his resulting effort was well dealt with by Bettinelli.
In the final minute of the half, Fulham doubled their lead through on-loan Chelsea man Lucas Piazon.
A ball from the right by Fredericks was flicked on by Sessegnon, with Piazon the fortunate recipient as the Brazilian netted from close range.
There was still time for QPR to pull one before the break, with Luongo netting in stoppage time.
A free kick from Freeman was nodded on by forward Matt Smith, with the ball finding Luongo, who scored on the turn.
The Australian’s goal was the final action of the opening half, and gave Holloway something to work with at the break.
It took 20 minutes for the second half to come alive, with a through ball from Luongo setting Smith away inside the box.
However, the forward was unable to find the net against his former club on this occasion, instead seeing his effort blocked by the outrushing Bettinelli.
The Rs were enjoying their best period of the match, with Freeman going close in the 75th minute.
Substitute Paul Smyth put the ball in from the right and found Freeman, but the midfielder’s effort was blocked by defender Denis Odoi.
Smyth had a great chance himself five minutes later, but could not get enough power on his header at the back post after Bidwell crossed from the left.
The Rs finally got the equaliser their play in the second half deserved with nine minutes remaining.
Wszolek robbed Odoi of the ball, before running through on goal and firing past Bettinelli.
Fulham nearly regained the lead a minute later, but Smithies got down well to keep out an effort from replacement Floyd Ayite.
In the final minute of normal time, Jake Bidwell tested Bettinelli with a powerful cross-shot from the left.
That proved to be the last chance for either side, with QPR no doubt the happier of the two west London teams.
Fulham (4-3-3): Bettinelli; Fredericks, Ream, Odoi, Targett; McDonald, Cairney (Fonte 79), Johansen; Piazon (Ayite 69), Mitrovic, Sessegnon (Ojo 79).
Subs: Button (GK), Norwood, Christie, Kamara.
QPR (4-4-2): Smithies; Furlong, Onuoha, Lynch, Bidwell; Manning (Cousins 74), Luongo, Freeman, Wszolek; Smith (Washington 69), Eze (Smyth 69).
Subs: Ingram (GK), Baptiste, Perch, Osayi-Samuel.
Referee: Chris Kavanagh.