Austin fires QPR to first win
Published 30/08/2014 | 17:37
Charlie Austin eased QPR into life without Loic Remy by ending the Loftus Road club's new-season goal drought in a 1-0 Premier League victory over Sunderland.
The former Burnley striker bagged his first Premier League goal to end Rangers' 315-minute scoring drought in their fourth clash of the new campaign.
Harry Redknapp's men were desperate for both goals and points after successive defeats to Hull, Tottenham and Burton, and had Austin to thank for a thumping first-half finish.
Chelsea have triggered Remy's release clause, which led to the France striker being withdrawn from action ahead of the game.
The 27-year-old failed a medical at Liverpool at the start of the summer, but is now set to complete his Stamford Bridge move to replace AC Milan-bound Fernando Torres.
Rangers will chase a new striker before the 11pm transfer deadline on Monday night, with Ajax's Kolbeinn Sigthorsson heavily touted as heading to west London.
Redknapp had started Rangers' Premier League return favouring the 3-5-2 formation, but abandoned wing backs in favour of 4-3-3 for the visit of Gus Poyet's Black Cats.
Sunderland started far the stronger but ultimately paid the price for failing to convert that dominance.
Adam Johnson slid in perfect through-balls for Steven Fletcher and Patrick van Aanholt, but neither man could convert - and that after left-back Van Aanholt had prodded wide to boot.
Summer recruit Leroy Fer struck a 25-yard thunderbolt against the crossbar with Vito Mannone motionless between the sticks as QPR started to settle.
Lee Cattermole was fortunate to escape a red card after grabbing and kicking at Fer, just minutes after being booked.
Junior Hoilett shot straight at Mannone as the half-hour came and went, but then QPR took control.
Wes Brown pulled off a perfectly-timed tackle to deny Austin who was bearing down on goal, and then Mannone had to shut down the former Burnley striker in a one-on-one.
Mannone raced off his line to deny Matt Phillips as QPR scented their first goal of the new campaign in their fourth outing.
And just when the home fans expected another blank half, Austin delivered, firing high into the net from a well-worked corner.
Sunderland were still chasing their first league win of the campaign after two draws, but could at least draw on a morale-boosting 3-0 Capital One Cup midweek victory at Birmingham.
Poyet's side were visibly deflated by conceding just ahead of half-time, and struggled to generate any tempo after the turnaround.
Rodwell and Fletcher had half-hearted efforts easily dealt with, before Green turned a neat right-foot flick from Santiago Vergini round the post.
Matt Phillips and Hoilett wasted promising openings before Bobby Zamora replaced goal-scorer Austin for QPR.
Mannone produced another fine save off his line to deny Jordon Mutch, but neither side were able to repeat the intensity of the first half.
Clint Hill produced a fine sliding block to deny Connor Wickham after a dangerous low cross from Johnson.
Armand Traore wasted a fine chance after a smart through-ball from Zamora to ease late Sunderland pressure.
Green was then forced to pull out another fine save to deny Emanuele Giaccherini at the death.
The replacement striker was then booked for diving, aiming to draw a free-kick straight in front of goal, capping a frustrating afternoon for the visitors.