Championship
CardiffCardiff City0QPRQueens Park Rangers1

Cardiff City 0-1 Queens Park Rangers: Chris Willock fires winner for visitors

By Dafydd PritchardBBC Sport Wales at Cardiff City Stadium
Chris Willock celebrates after scoring for QPR
Chris Willock celebrates after scoring QPR's second half winner

Queens Park Rangers eased their relegation worries with an attritional win at Cardiff City to intensify the pressure on Bluebirds manager Neil Harris.

Torrential rain and a paucity of scoring opportunities made for a goalless first half to forget.

After the interval, QPR's Charlie Austin had a goal disallowed before Chris Willock made the breakthrough in the 70th minute as he fired into the bottom corner.

A fine save by Alex Smithies denied Macauley Bonne a second for the visitors, who were indebted to goalkeeper Seny Dieng for preserving their lead with superb stops from Leandro Bacuna and Kieffer Moore.

Victory moves QPR seven points clear of the relegation zone but, for Cardiff, a sixth consecutive defeat in all competitions leaves last season's play-off semi-finalists 13 points adrift of the top six.

Harris' position was already under scrutiny and, after a fifth straight loss in the Championship, his future looks increasingly uncertain.

The former Millwall boss had been without captain Sean Morrison and top scorer Moore for much of Cardiff's recent wretched run of form, and he might have hoped their returns would spark an upturn in fortunes for his side.

Harris was able to welcome both back into his starting line-up on this occasion, along with two new signings, right-back Perry Ng and striker Max Watters, in a new-look 4-4-2 with a midfield diamond.

But Cardiff's players struggled adapt to the change of formation, a lack of width contributing to the isolation of Watters and Moore up front.

That helped QPR to settle and shade the opening exchanges, their own strike partnership of Austin and Lyndon Dykes both sending early efforts over the bar.

After a slow start, Cardiff had the best chance of the first half as Ng's powerful 20-yard shot was superbly saved by Dieng.

Max Watters
Max Watters was making his Cardiff debut after joining from League Two Crawley on Saturday

Apart from that effort, however, Cardiff seldom looked like scoring in a performance desperately lacking creativity or even a clear plan of attack.

QPR at least offered some threat, with Ilias Chair looking dangerous and setting Austin up for a close-range finish which was disallowed for a high boot.

Mark Warburton's side took the lead when Willock composed himself inside the penalty area before shooting low past Smithies' despairing dive.

If the Cardiff keeper might have been disappointed with that effort, he made amends with sharp reflexes to parry Bonne's header.

Smithies, however, was upstaged by Dieng, who first tipped over Bacuna's free-kick before getting down to save Moore's header.

Those were two crucial interventions to thwart Cardiff, whose efforts were too late and too blunt to deny QPR a precious win in their efforts to steer clear a relegation battle.

Cardiff manager Neil Harris:

"I'm gutted. It was a typical Championship game and scrappy at times.

"There were not a huge amount of chances and I'm really disappointed we couldn't find that killer moment in both boxes.

"We've lost five league games in a row and it's hugely disappointing.

"It's never happened to me before and the players are low on confidence after that."

QPR manager Mark Warburton:

"I'm really, really pleased. It's a tough place to come. They're a good team and are very good at what they do. We knew they'd had a rough run of late.

"We knew we had to meet the challenge and the longer the game went on we knew we had a good chance of the three points.

"To come here against a team like this means of course we have to keep building.

"In this division any run of form means you can move up the table pretty quickly."

Line-ups

Cardiff

Formation 4-3-3

  • 12Smithies
  • 38NgSubstituted forGlatzelat 76'minutes
  • 4Morrison
  • 16Nelson
  • 3Bennett
  • 7Bacuna
  • 6VaulksSubstituted forOjoat 76'minutes
  • 8Ralls
  • 23WilsonSubstituted forMurphyat 85'minutes
  • 10Moore
  • 19WattersSubstituted forM Harrisat 55'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Phillips
  • 9Glatzel
  • 11Murphy
  • 27Ojo
  • 28Sang
  • 29M Harris
  • 32Bagan
  • 33Hoilett
  • 36Patten

QPR

Formation 5-3-2

  • 13Dieng
  • 2Kane
  • 4Dickie
  • 20CameronBooked at 48mins
  • 6BarbetBooked at 36mins
  • 25Hämäläinen
  • 12Ball
  • 10ChairBooked at 89mins
  • 21WillockSubstituted forKakayat 83'minutes
  • 9Dykes
  • 45AustinSubstituted forBonneat 70'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Lumley
  • 7Bonne
  • 19Thomas
  • 24Kakay
  • 26Bettache
  • 29Kelman
  • 37Adomah
  • 41Duke-McKenna
Referee:
Darren Bond

Match Stats

Home TeamCardiffAway TeamQPR
Possession
Home50%
Away50%
Shots
Home11
Away11
Shots on Target
Home6
Away5
Corners
Home4
Away6
Fouls
Home12
Away16

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Cardiff City 0, Queens Park Rangers 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Cardiff City 0, Queens Park Rangers 1.

  3. Post update

    Robert Dickie (Queens Park Rangers) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Robert Glatzel (Cardiff City).

  5. Post update

    Attempt missed. Todd Kane (Queens Park Rangers) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Osman Kakay.

  6. Booking

    Ilias Chair (Queens Park Rangers) is shown the yellow card.

  7. Post update

    Foul by Robert Glatzel (Cardiff City).

  8. Post update

    Todd Kane (Queens Park Rangers) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  9. Post update

    Attempt missed. Dominic Ball (Queens Park Rangers) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Niko Hämäläinen.

  10. Post update

    Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by Osman Kakay.

  11. Post update

    Attempt saved. Kieffer Moore (Cardiff City) header from the left side of the six yard box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Curtis Nelson with a cross.

  12. Substitution

    Substitution, Cardiff City. Josh Murphy replaces Harry Wilson.

  13. Post update

    Joe Bennett (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  14. Post update

    Foul by Ilias Chair (Queens Park Rangers).

  15. Post update

    Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by Seny Timothy Dieng.

  16. Post update

    Attempt saved. Leandro Bacuna (Cardiff City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner.

  17. Substitution

    Substitution, Queens Park Rangers. Osman Kakay replaces Chris Willock.

  18. Post update

    Kieffer Moore (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  19. Post update

    Foul by Geoff Cameron (Queens Park Rangers).

  20. Post update

    Robert Glatzel (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Norwich25165435211453
2Swansea24137429131646
3Brentford23128337211644
4Watford24127528171143
5Reading2413473728943
6Bournemouth25119538211742
7Middlesbrough24116730201039
8Stoke2591063026437
9Bristol City24113102526-136
10Preston25112123133-235
11Barnsley25104112732-534
12Blackburn2496939281133
13Luton2596102127-633
14Huddersfield2594122835-731
15Cardiff2485113028229
16Millwall2461172124-329
17QPR246992330-727
18Coventry2468102234-1226
19Birmingham2568111830-1226
20Nottm Forest2567122029-925
21Derby2457121525-1022
22Rotherham2255122332-920
23Sheff Wed2367101523-819
24Wycombe2336141635-1915
View full Championship table

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