QPR 2-2 Millwall: Matt Smith earns Rangers fighting draw
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 13/09/17 11:36am
Matt Smith scored an 85th-minute equaliser as QPR came back from two down to draw 2-2 with 10-man Millwall in an action-packed London derby at Loftus Road.
Conor McLaughlin fired the Lions ahead in the sixth minute and they were well on top before Lee Gregory was red-carded for a crude two-footed challenge on Josh Scowen four minutes before half-time.
Jed Wallace nevertheless doubled the visitors' lead five minutes into the second half and they looked set for a first away win since being promoted back to the Sky Bet Championship.
But Massimo Luongo pulled a goal back for Rangers with 17 minutes remaining, volleying in from 10 yards out after keeper Jordan Archer had punched away Luke Freeman's left-wing corner.
And when Byron Webster failed to clear Kazenga LuaLua's left-wing cross, substitute Smith hooked the ball in to earn QPR a point.
Millwall made an excellent start and would have gone ahead in only the second minute had Alex Smithies not produced a superb save to deny striker Gregory at close range.
Smithies was unable to rescue Rangers when McLaughlin collected Wallace's pass and held off Freeman before sending a thumping volley into the far corner of the net.
QPR continued to struggle, although Freeman brought a save from Archer with a fiercely-struck volley. The home side were soon on the back foot again and Smithies kept out headers from Steve Morison and George Saville.
Webster then headed Shane Ferguson's left-wing corner over the bar as Millwall continued to have the upper hand.
Rangers, lifted by Gregory's dismissal, ended the first half strongly and Conor Washington missed a great chance to equalise.
The ball dropped to Washington when Millwall were unable to clear their lines after Archer had parried Luongo's shot, but the striker fired against the post from near the edge of the six-yard box.
Hoping to capitalise on his team's numerical advantage, Rangers' former Millwall boss Ian Holloway brought on target man Smith at half-time and switched to three up front.
But the R's switched off at the back and were punished. They hesitated after Shaun Williams lifted the ball towards Wallace, who shot through Smithies' legs from a tight angle.
After Luongo hauled QPR back into the game, the outstanding Archer produced fine saves to keep out Smith's header and Scowen's left-footed volley before Smith eventually found the net.
And Freeman almost won it for Rangers when his injury-time free-kick hit the bar.
Ian Holloway: "Normally QPR would fold, but I'm really pleased we stayed solid and understood where the spare man was. We didn't just launch it. My bench is so strong these days that I can cause anybody problems, so if it's not working then keep going and keep believing and I'll make some changes.
"There's some belief that we've got attacking options and if I use them we might get back in almost every game. The boys are actually disappointed that we didn't take more of the opportunities we had. We felt we should have won."
Neil Harris: "I thought it was really harsh. We'll certainly be appealing. In a London derby there were tackles flying in. It was a 50-50 ball and both players were diving in - I didn't even know which way the referee was going to give a foul. Both feet were on the ground.
"There was a challenge by (Millwall midfielder) Ryan Tunnicliffe in the second half that got a yellow card and I actually thought it was a worse challenge. We're looking for that consistency from referees. For 40 minutes we bossed the game and could have been four or five up. The sending off certainly changed the game."