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Washington leads Queens Park Rangers past Wigan

PUBLISHED: 21:58 21 February 2017 | UPDATED: 21:58 21 February 2017

Queens Park Rangers' Conor Washington (right) celebrates a goal (pic Yui Mok/Empics)

Queens Park Rangers' Conor Washington (right) celebrates a goal (pic Yui Mok/Empics)

EMPICS Sport

QPR 2 Wigan Athletic 1

Conor Washington inspired QPR to an important victory over relegation-threatened Championship rivals Wigan at Loftus Road.

Washington set up an early opener for Matt Smith and restored Rangers’ lead with a thumping strike after Omar Bogle had equalised from the penalty spot.

The victory was QPR’s second in three days and pulled them further clear of the bottom three.

And Washington continues to impress under boss Ian Holloway, having netted just twice in 31 appearances under previous Rangers manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.

Struggling Wigan, meanwhile, remain in the relegation zone and have now failed to win in 16 visits to London.

Rangers made the perfect start, going ahead after just four minutes courtesy of recent signing Smith’s second goal in as many matches.

Washington cleverly nudged Jake Buxton aside to collect Alex Smithies’ long kick and laid the ball off to Smith, who scored from close range.

Ryan Manning then had a shot tipped over by Wigan goalkeeper Matt Gilks and QPR appeared to be in control before a mistake by Luke Freeman on 16 minutes proved costly.

Freeman, not helped by Jake Bidwell’s positioning, misplaced an attempted pass to the left-back, enabling Max Power to find Bogle, who was brought down by Joel Lynch.

Bogle kept his composure after a delay because of an injury to home defender Grant Hall, sending Smithies the wrong way from the spot for his third goal since his recent arrival from Grimsby.

And both sides created openings with the score at 1-1, as Bogle saw a goalbound shot blocked by Nedum Onuoha and the lively Freeman fired wide, before Bogle again got into a shooting position inside the box and was this time closed down by Manning.

Smithies produced a superb save to push away Buxton’s header from Jamie Hanson’s right-wing corner a couple of minutes before half-time.

And Smithies was called into action twice more in the early stages of the second half, denying Bogle and then keeping out Buxton’s far-post header, before Washington netted the winner – the Northern Ireland striker’s fourth goal in six games.

Washington struck just before the hour mark, firing into the bottom corner from near the edge of the penalty area after being teed up by substitute Kazenga LuaLua.

Now sitting in 15th place, Holloway’s men turn their attentions next to their trip to Preston on Saturday.

QPR: Smithies, Onuoha, Hall (Lua Lua 29), Lynch, Furlong, Manning, Freeman, Bidwell, Wszolek, Washington (N’Gbakoto 69), Smith (Sylla 76). Unused subs: Mackie, Ingram, Luongo, Perch.

Attendance: 12,101.

Referee: James Linington.

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