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We were terrific says QPR boss Holloway

PUBLISHED: 10:44 08 April 2017

Queens Park Rangers' Matt Smith (right) celebrates scoring his side's goal against Brighton (pic Steven Paston/PA)

Queens Park Rangers' Matt Smith (right) celebrates scoring his side's goal against Brighton (pic Steven Paston/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

Rangers make Brighton work hard for win

QPR manager Ian Holloway felt his side did all they could to upset Brighton’s Championship title challenge in a 2-1 defeat at Loftus Road last night.

The Seagulls moved back to the top of the table above rivals Newcastle thanks to second-half goals from Glenn Murray and Sebastien Pocognoli, before Matt Smith’s late reply for the hosts.

And the visitors withstood some late pressure from Rangers, who laid siege to their goal, with Holloway saying: “If the league are looking at us wondering if we had a go, then boy oh boy did we have a go. We were absolutely terrific.

“I’m in total admiration. We did everyone else in the league proud by giving everything.”

With Rangers already safe from relegation, despite back-to-back 1-0 losses at Derby and Aston Villa, Holloway made seven changes to his starting line-up, including a first start to Lazio loanee Ravel Morrison.

And Holloway was convinced his side should have had a first-half penalty, when James Perch’s header bounced up and hit Lewis Dunk’s arm.

“He moved his arm to stop the ball going into a dangerous position, so how the referee doesn’t give that I don’t know,” Holloway said.

“Then it would have been 1-0 to us, and let’s see what they’d have done.”

Brighton had to wait until the 58th minute to break down resolute Rangers, with Murray racing through to tuck in his 21st Championship goal of the season.

Stand-in left-back Pocognoli made it 2-0 with his first goal in more than six years, a stunning free-kick into the top corner.

Nerves were fraying when Smith headed in with 15 minutes to go but Seagulls goalkeeper David Stockdale stood firm to protect the three points.

And Brighton’s Chris Hughton felt his side passed another major test of their promotion credentials in victory, adding: “It’s a big win and at this moment every win feels like the biggest one.

“I thought we deserved it, we rode our luck near the end but over the 90 minutes I felt we were the better side.

“It became an old-fashioned game at the end, when you are 2-0 down you are going to go direct. They were difficult to handle but we showed great character and determination.”

Brighton are now two points ahead of Newcastle and, crucially, 12 ahead of third-placed Huddersfield who face a trip to Nottingham Forest on Saturday.

“It’s nice to play on the Friday when you win, but it’s not so good when you don’t,” added Hughton.

“What we have done is put ourselves in a good position. I don’t anticipate the next five games being any more comfortable than tonight, so we will have to play to the same level.”

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