Top scorer Charlie Austin's late winner helped Queens Park Rangers beat Watford to secure their place in the Championship play-offs.

Sweden striker Mathias Ranegie swept in from close range to put the visitors ahead early in the second half.

Fourth-placed Rangers levelled through Joey Barton's precise free-kick from the edge of the Watford penalty box.

And the Hoops guaranteed a top-six finish when Austin curled in his 16th goal of the season.

Watford sit 12th in the table, six points adrift of sixth-placed Brighton with a game in hand and three matches left.

The Hornets were dominant from the start and Rangers goalkeeper Rob Green pulled off saves to deny Troy Deeney and Lewis McGugan.

Green pushed away Deeney's close-range effort after the interval but was finally beaten when Deeney knocked down Joel Ekstrand's cross and Ranegie span away from Richard Dunne and finished.

The hosts began to threaten and McGugan cleared a header from Austin before goalkeeper Manuel Almunia saved from Austin's drive.

Austin back in the goals

Charlie Austin's goal was his 15th in the Championship this season but his first since he sustained a shoulder injury in January. He has also scored once in the League Cup.

Barton's free-kick pulled the home side level and Austin guided a shot past Almunia from Bobby Zamora's pass to secure the victory.

QPR assistant manager Kevin Bond: "I was impressed with Watford. They started both halves better than we did but we eventually got hold of the ball.

"It was great for Charlie to get back on the scoresheet. We've missed his goals and missed his presence.

"Apart from what he does on the field, psychologically when the teamsheet goes up and he's not been on it, we know he has won us games.

"We now need everybody fit and in good form for the play-offs. We need to get the momentum."

Watford boss Giuseppe Sannino: "It was a very important game for us, almost a must-win game, and we were knocked down when we tried to score from a corner.

"They counter-attacked very well and we conceded in a game in which I think we produced the best performance under my regime.

"Maybe I became too British. I like your culture and will to win until the last second of the game and if I'd kept three defenders back at that corner we might not have conceded the goal.

"But I don't have regrets, because that's the way I like to be and I'm pleased with my lads because we tried to score."

Lineup, Bookings (4) & Substitutions (4)

Queens Park Rangers

  • 01 Green
  • 02 Simpson (Hoilett - 72' )
  • 06 Hill
  • 10 Carroll
  • 15 Onuoha
  • 05 Dunne
  • 14 Doyle (Zamora - 72' )
  • 17 Barton
  • 09 Austin Booked (Henry - 91' )
  • 04 Morrison
  • 03 Traore

Substitutes

  • 12 Keane
  • 13 Yun Suk-young
  • 18 Hughes
  • 20 Henry
  • 23 Hoilett
  • 25 Zamora
  • 26 Murphy

Watford

  • 01 Almunia
  • 15 Riera Booked
  • 18 Pudil
  • 04 Angella
  • 27 Cassetti
  • 06 Ekstrand
  • 22 Abdi Booked
  • 28 Tözsér
  • 13 Ranegie Booked
  • 09 Deeney
  • 10 McGugan (Battocchio - 63' )

Substitutes

  • 07 Battocchio
  • 08 Merkel
  • 12 Doyley
  • 16 Murray
  • 19 Faraoni
  • 30 Bond
  • 31 Hoban
Ref: James Linington
Att: 16,951

Match Stats

Shots

17 14

On target

8 5

Corners

8 11

Fouls

8 19

Live Text Commentary

Full time

Full Time Match ends, Queens Park Rangers 2, Watford 1.

90:00 +4:36 Full time

Full Time Second Half ends, Queens Park Rangers 2, Watford 1.

90:00 +2:00

Joey Barton (Queens Park Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

90:00 +2:00

Foul by Daniel Tözsér (Watford).

90:00 +0:28 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Queens Park Rangers. Karl Henry replaces Charlie Austin because of an injury.

89:02 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Queens Park Rangers 2, Watford 1. Charlie Austin (Queens Park Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Bobby Zamora following a fast break.

88:24

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Richard Dunne.

87:59

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Tom Carroll.

85:55

Junior Hoilett (Queens Park Rangers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

85:55

Foul by Joel Ekstrand (Watford).

85:06 Booking

Booking Charlie Austin (Queens Park Rangers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

84:51

Foul by Charlie Austin (Queens Park Rangers).

84:51

Albert Riera (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

83:28

Foul by Junior Hoilett (Queens Park Rangers).

83:28

Daniel Pudil (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

81:56

Attempt blocked. Ravel Morrison (Queens Park Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Charlie Austin.

80:59

Attempt blocked. Armand Traore (Queens Park Rangers) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Joey Barton.

79:59

Attempt blocked. Almen Abdi (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Daniel Pudil.

78:27

Offside, Watford. Mathias Ranégie tries a through ball, but Troy Deeney is caught offside.

77:37

Attempt missed. Charlie Austin (Queens Park Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Bobby Zamora.

76:43

Ravel Morrison (Queens Park Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

76:43

Foul by Troy Deeney (Watford).

76:34

Attempt blocked. Almen Abdi (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Cristian Battocchio.

75:38 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Queens Park Rangers 1, Watford 1. Joey Barton (Queens Park Rangers) from a free kick with a right footed shot to the bottom right corner.

74:50

Ravel Morrison (Queens Park Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

74:50

Foul by Mathias Ranégie (Watford).

74:34

Corner, Queens Park Rangers. Conceded by Joel Ekstrand.

74:32

Attempt blocked. Bobby Zamora (Queens Park Rangers) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Clint Hill with a cross.

73:55

Attempt saved. Charlie Austin (Queens Park Rangers) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

72:57

Offside, Watford. Daniel Tözsér tries a through ball, but Daniel Pudil is caught offside.

71:41 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Queens Park Rangers. Junior Hoilett replaces Danny Simpson.

71:18 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Queens Park Rangers. Bobby Zamora replaces Kevin Doyle.

68:40

Attempt blocked. Charlie Austin (Queens Park Rangers) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Joey Barton with a cross.

68:14

Corner, Queens Park Rangers. Conceded by Daniel Pudil.

66:53

Corner, Queens Park Rangers. Conceded by Gabriele Angella.

66:35

Offside, Watford. Mathias Ranégie tries a through ball, but Troy Deeney is caught offside.

65:14

Attempt saved. Ravel Morrison (Queens Park Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

64:57

Corner, Queens Park Rangers. Conceded by Gabriele Angella.

64:23

Corner, Queens Park Rangers. Conceded by Joel Ekstrand.

63:15

Foul by Kevin Doyle (Queens Park Rangers).

63:15

Gabriele Angella (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

62:02 Substitution

Substitution Substitution, Watford. Cristian Battocchio replaces Lewis McGugan.

59:15

Attempt missed. Joey Barton (Queens Park Rangers) left footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Tom Carroll following a set piece situation.

59:01 Booking

Booking Almen Abdi (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

58:54

Ravel Morrison (Queens Park Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

58:54

Foul by Almen Abdi (Watford).

58:07

Offside, Queens Park Rangers. Tom Carroll tries a through ball, but Danny Simpson is caught offside.

57:38

Offside, Watford. Lewis McGugan tries a through ball, but Mathias Ranégie is caught offside.

57:11 Booking

Booking Mathias Ranégie (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

56:59

Nedum Onuoha (Queens Park Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

56:59

Foul by Mathias Ranégie (Watford).

56:35

Joey Barton (Queens Park Rangers) wins a free kick on the right wing.

56:35

Foul by Daniel Pudil (Watford).

56:11

Attempt blocked. Troy Deeney (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Lewis McGugan.

55:25

Foul by Charlie Austin (Queens Park Rangers).

55:25

Gabriele Angella (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

55:11

Attempt blocked. Ravel Morrison (Queens Park Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

54:39 Booking

Booking Albert Riera (Watford) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

54:09

Ravel Morrison (Queens Park Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

54:09

Foul by Albert Riera (Watford).

53:56

Kevin Doyle (Queens Park Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

53:56

Foul by Marco Cassetti (Watford).

52:46

Attempt missed. Almen Abdi (Watford) left footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Albert Riera.

50:32 Goal scored

Goal! Goal! Queens Park Rangers 0, Watford 1. Mathias Ranégie (Watford) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Troy Deeney with a headed pass.

49:39

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Robert Green.

49:37

Attempt saved. Troy Deeney (Watford) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Daniel Tözsér.

49:15

Foul by Richard Dunne (Queens Park Rangers).

49:15

Troy Deeney (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

47:59

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

47:30

Delay in match Lewis McGugan (Watford) because of an injury.

46:53

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Joey Barton.

46:02

Attempt missed. Almen Abdi (Watford) left footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Troy Deeney with a headed pass.

45:00

Second Half begins Queens Park Rangers 0, Watford 0.

45:00 +1:12 Half time

Half Time First Half ends, Queens Park Rangers 0, Watford 0.

45:00 +0:14

Attempt saved. Tom Carroll (Queens Park Rangers) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top left corner.

44:37

Ravel Morrison (Queens Park Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

44:37

Foul by Lewis McGugan (Watford).

44:24

Attempt blocked. Danny Simpson (Queens Park Rangers) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Charlie Austin with a headed pass.

43:54

Charlie Austin (Queens Park Rangers) wins a free kick on the left wing.

43:54

Foul by Gabriele Angella (Watford).

42:09

Richard Dunne (Queens Park Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

42:09

Foul by Mathias Ranégie (Watford).

41:34

Attempt missed. Ravel Morrison (Queens Park Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left from a direct free kick.

40:41

Charlie Austin (Queens Park Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

40:41

Foul by Lewis McGugan (Watford).

36:19

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Armand Traore.

35:32

Corner, Queens Park Rangers. Conceded by Marco Cassetti.

30:54

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

29:31

Delay in match (Watford).

29:19

Foul by Albert Riera (Watford).

29:19

Armand Traore (Queens Park Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

29:10

Attempt saved. Lewis McGugan (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

28:45

Attempt saved. Danny Simpson (Queens Park Rangers) right footed shot from long range on the right is saved in the top centre of the goal.

26:15

Foul by Lewis McGugan (Watford).

26:15

Kevin Doyle (Queens Park Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

25:45

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Nedum Onuoha.

25:43

Attempt blocked. Lewis McGugan (Watford) left footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Daniel Pudil with a headed pass.

24:44

Offside, Queens Park Rangers. Robert Green tries a through ball, but Kevin Doyle is caught offside.

22:40

Foul by Daniel Tözsér (Watford).

22:40

Kevin Doyle (Queens Park Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

21:06

Lewis McGugan (Watford) wins a free kick on the left wing.

21:06

Foul by Charlie Austin (Queens Park Rangers).

20:31

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Nedum Onuoha.

17:27

Attempt missed. Lewis McGugan (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Troy Deeney.

17:01

Attempt blocked. Danny Simpson (Queens Park Rangers) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.

16:27

Corner, Queens Park Rangers. Conceded by Albert Riera.

14:56

Corner, Queens Park Rangers. Conceded by Daniel Tözsér.

14:00

Attempt saved. Charlie Austin (Queens Park Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Tom Carroll.

12:22

Foul by Albert Riera (Watford).

12:22

Armand Traore (Queens Park Rangers) wins a free kick on the left wing.

11:31

Foul by Marco Cassetti (Watford).

11:31

Kevin Doyle (Queens Park Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

10:18

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Charlie Austin.

9:54

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Kevin Doyle.

9:23

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Robert Green.

9:21

Attempt saved. Troy Deeney (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Marco Cassetti.

8:00

Attempt missed. Mathias Ranégie (Watford) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Lewis McGugan with a cross.

5:10

Foul by Lewis McGugan (Watford).

5:10

Joey Barton (Queens Park Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

4:33

Attempt missed. Troy Deeney (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Mathias Ranégie with a headed pass following a set piece situation.

3:55

Albert Riera (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

3:55

Foul by Armand Traore (Queens Park Rangers).

2:54

Daniel Tözsér (Watford) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

2:54

Foul by Kevin Doyle (Queens Park Rangers).

1:32

Attempt missed. Lewis McGugan (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Albert Riera.

0:45

Corner, Watford. Conceded by Armand Traore.

0:00

First Half begins.

0:00

Lineups are announced and players are warming up.

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