Willock earns QPR win in Wales

Cardiff City's Kieffer Moore is tackled by QPR's Dominic Ball

Cardiff City's Kieffer Moore is tackled by Queens Park Rangers' Dominic Ball (right) during the Sky Bet Championship match at the Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff - Credit: PA

Queens Park Rangers recorded back-to-back victories to inflict more misery on Cardiff City manager Neil Harris at Cardiff City Stadium. 

Chris Willock scored his first goal for QPR, after signing from Benfica last summer, with 20 minutes left after substitute Macauley Browne squared the ball to the winger inside the area and he fired a low driven shot into the bottom left-hand corner. 

Alex Smithies did get a hand to it, but for the first time since September 2019 Mark Warburton’s side have won consecutive games on the road following success at Luton eight days earlier.

Meanwhile, opposite number Harris, who has come under fire in recent weeks, was dealt another blow with a sixth straight loss, their eighth at home and 11th in all.

As for the visitors, a welcome win in Wales sees QPR move up to 17th in the table. After one win in their last 10 games, they now have two from two in 2021.

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Both teams made changes with the hosts making four following their 2-1 defeat to leaders Norwich City on the weekend.

Cardiff welcomed back Sean Morrison for the first time since December 29 after the defender was forced off with an ankle injury at Wycombe Wanders and Kieffer Moore since December 12, after the Welsh international had torn his hamstring the South Wales derby against Swansea City.

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There were also debuts for Perry Ng and Max Watters, signed from Crewe Alexandra and Crawley Town respectively.

Joel Bagan, Robert Glatzel and Junior Hoilett all had to settle for a place on the bench while Marlon Pack missed out completely after picking up a red card in the Bluebirds defeat against the Canaries.

Cardiff City's Joe Bennett and QPR's Todd Kane battle for the ball

Cardiff City's Joe Bennett (right) and Queens Park Rangers' Todd Kane battle for the ball during the Sky Bet Championship match at the Cardiff City Stadium - Credit: PA

QPR brought in Niko Hamalainen for Bright Osayi-Samuel, who has signed a pre-contract agreement to join Fenerbahce, and Chris Willock for Tom Carroll. 

And buoyed by their first win in 10 games at the Hatters, Todd Kane could only drive wide at the back post following a deep cross from Charlie Austin after four minutes. 

The two combined again with the roles reversed as Austin controlled Kane’s cross in the box on the chest before he swivelled past Ng and fired his volley over the bar. 

Moore then headed just wide of Seny Dieng’s far post from Will Waulks’ long throw-in before Joe Ralls, on his 300th appearance in the English game, weaved in and out before seeing his low shot inside the penalty area sting Dieng, who gathered the ball at the second attempt.

Dieng was again involved as he kept his side on terms at the break with two wonderful saves, the first a low save down to his left to deny Ng a debut goal, following a short free-kick taken by Wilson into the path of Ralls.

The midfielder’s strike was blocked by Austin into the path of Ng some 25 yards out and the right-back struck it sweetly first time but the Senegalese goalkeeper, who would have seen it late, was able to claw it away into the path of Morrison and get back up quickly and deny the Bluebirds captain his fourth goal of the season as the first half drew to a close.

The Hoops then went close through Austin 10 minutes into the second half when Ilias Chair's crossfield pass was knocked into the path of the forward by Kane, but the West Bromwich Albion loanee can only send the ball wide.

QPR's Lyndon Dykes and Cardiff City's Joe Ralls battle for the ball

Queens Park Rangers' Lyndon Dykes and Cardiff City's Joe Ralls (right) battle for the ball during the Sky Bet Championship match at the Cardiff City Stadium - Credit: PA

Austin did have the ball in the back of the net after 66 minutes when Chair's effort fell into his path inside the six-yard-box but the referee ruled it out for an alleged high foot, which was his last action of the evening after Bonne was bought on in his place.

And Bonne was involved straight away as he played in WIllock to open the scoring with a low drive past former QPR goalkeeper Smithies.

Cardiff's goalkeeper then did well to parry Bonne's powerful header, from Chair's corner, away from goal before Deng made two wonderful saves from Bacuna's thunderous free-kick and then Moore's header to hand QPR the win.

QPR: Dieng, Kane, Dickie, Cameron, Barbet, Hamalainen, Ball, Chair, Willock (Kakay 83), Dykes, Austin (Bonne 70). Unused subs: Lumley, Thomas, Bettache, Kelman, Adomah, Duke-McKenna.

Referee: Darren Bond.

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