Monday 23 April 2018

Rangers bottom after home defeat

West Bromwich Albion's Chris Brunt celebrates scoring the opening goal
West Bromwich Albion's Chris Brunt celebrates scoring the opening goal

Robert Green had a day to forget as QPR sunk to the bottom of the table with a controversial 2-1 home defeat to West Brom.

Harry Redknapp showed great confidence in Green by choosing him ahead of fit-again Julio Cesar, but the decision backfired in the first half as Chris Brunt beat the England stopper from 30 yards with a shot he perhaps should have saved.

Green then dropped the ball in to his own net to give the Baggies a 2-0 lead just after the re-start, although replays showed Marc-Antoine Fortune had impeded the former West Ham stopper as he came to collect the ball as it looped up off Armand Traore. Rangers pulled one back through Djibril Cisse, but they otherwise lacked a cutting edge up front.

Kick-off was delayed by 11 minutes after West Brom's team bus was delayed by the Boxing Day sales traffic around Loftus Road. QPR started promisingly amid miserable weather in west London as Stephane Mbia fired a drive inches wide with Ben Foster scrambling across his line.

Youssouf Mulumbu and James Morrison both had wayward long-range efforts, but QPR were otherwise unthreatened as Clint Hill and Anton Ferdinand kept the powerful Romelu Lukaku at bay.

Shaun Wright-Phillips produced a dazzling piece of skill to beat Mulumbu and Billy Jones but Jamie Mackie could only head the winger's cross tamely wide. It was the Baggies fans who were celebrating just before the half hour when Brunt unleashed a 30-yard drive that sailed in to the bottom right-hand corner of Green's goal.

Morison almost made it 2-0 seconds later with a clever volley, and after the break the story remained the same. Lukaku found space in the box, but could only prod weakly at Green and Anton Ferdinand almost turned Jones' cross in to his own net.

West Brom then doubled their lead in controversial circumstances as Traore attempted to clear Brunt's corner but instead his header looped back towards his own goal. Green attempted to collect the ball but he was impeded by Fortune, who leaned in to the stopper, causing him to drop the ball in to his own net.

Green gathered his composure to save well twice from the impressive Lukaku and Samba Diakite. Albion took their foot off the accelerator and paid the price in the 69th minute when Cisse latched on to Mbia's slide-rule pass and lifted the ball over the advancing Foster.

QPR thought they should have had a penalty in the first of five added minutes when Liam Ridgewell handled Mbia's header in the box, while the home side went on the attack again, but Foster could not be beaten and Rangers slumped to the second defeat of Redknapp's reign.

Press Association

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