Queens Park Rangers 1 Derby County 1: Late Massimo Luongo header salvages point for QPR against Rams
PUBLISHED: 21:42 06 March 2018 | UPDATED: 21:57 06 March 2018
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Sky Bet Championship: Queens Park Rangers 1 (Luongo 87) Derby County 1 (Weimann 38)
A late Massimo Luongo equaliser earned Queens Park Rangers a share of the spoils at home to Derby County in the Championship.
Despite dominating possession in the first half, the Rs trailed at the break to an Andreas Weimann goal for County.
With the Loftus Road side seemingly heading for defeat, Luongo nodded home in the closing moments to earn a point for his side.
Ian Holloway made two changes to his QPR starting XI following the loss against Nottingham Forest on their last outing.
Darnell Furlong and Conor Washington were recalled to the starting XI in place of Pawel Wszolek and Joel Lynch, who both dropped to the bench, as the hosts went with a 4-3-3 formation.
Matt Smith was tasked with spearheading the attack on his 50th appearance for the west Londoners since moving from Fulham in January 2017.
And it was Smith who went closest to scoring early on, lashing a half-volley against the crossbar from the edge of the area in the sixth minute.
Five minutes later, it the hosts had a let off when Rams forward David Nugent fired wide with a first-time shot from a tight angle after latching onto Tom Huddlestone’s dinked pass into the box.
Nedum Onuoha nearly scored a rare goal for the Loftus Road club in the 17th minute after reacting quickest to a Smith flick-on from a long throw, but scooped his effort over the bar from 10 yards.
With 17 minutes left in the half, Derby forward Weimann embarked on a mazy run forward, but skewed his resulting 18-yard effort well wide of the target
Fresh from collecting the club’s goal of the month award for February for his strike against Barnsley, QPR midfielder Josh Scowen chanced his arm with a free-kick from some 30 yards in the 32nd minute that narrowly went over the bar.
Despite dominating possession, it was Holloway’s men who fell behind in the 38th minute.
On-loan Chelsea midfielder Kasey Palmer weaved his way through the home defence, before playing in County colleague Weimann, who slotted home from close range to put the visitors ahead.
It was a goal that meant QPR trailed heading into half time, having failed to muster an equaliser before the end of the opening 45 minutes.
The Loftus Road outfit were a touch fortunate not to concede inside the opening two minutes of the second half, with a Weimann cross narrowly evading David Nugent.
The hosts were then indebted to keeper Alex Smithies for keeping the deficit at one goal in the 56th minute.
Smithies, who turned 28 on Monday, produced a fine reflex save to deny Curtis Davies at close range, before preventing the ball from crossing the line and clawing it back to safety.
The home faithful were incensed in the 64th minute when Matt Smith went down in the box under pressure from Curtis Davies, but referee Simon Hooper waved away appeals for a penalty.
Substitute Ebere Eze tested Derby stopper Scott Carson from distance in the 70th minute, but the visiting keeper was able to grasp the shot at the second attempt.
A dipping half-volley from Luke Freeman two minutes later had Carson sprawling again, with the County custodian kicking the ball away before Onuoha could slam home the rebound.
With seven minutes remaining, a deep cross from QPR replacement Pawel Wszolek found Smith in the box, but the forward headed his effort off target.
The Rs were finally able to find an equaliser in the 87th minute when Luongo found the target.
The Australian international rose highest to head home a Freeman free kick and restore parity.
There was a nervy moment for the Rs in stoppage time when Bradley Johnson headed a free kick at goal for Derby, but his effort went over the bar.
There was even a chance for QPR to win it when Freeman played in substitute Joel Lynch one-one-one, but the makeshift forward was denied by Carson.
However, it ended all level with Holloway’s men collecting a well-deserved point against the Rams.
The west Londoners, though, will be hoping for all three points at home to Sunderland on Saturday.
QPR (4-3-3): Smithies; Furlong (Wsozlek 74), Onuoha, Robinson, Bidwell; Luongo, Scowen, Freeman; Smyth, Smith (Lynch 86), Washington (Eze 60).
Subs: Ingram (GK), Cousins, Manning, Perch.
Derby (4-3-3): Carson; Wisdom, Keogh, Davies, Forsyth; Palmer (Vydra 83), Huddlestone, Ledley (Johnson 15); Weimann, Nugent (Jerome 71), Lawrence.
Subs: Roos (GK), Anya, Pearce Hanson.
Attendance: 11,488 (including 1,161 Derby fans)
Referee: Simon Hooper.