Reading 0-1 QPR: Jamie Mackie hits first-half winner
By Simeon Gholam
Last Updated: 12/01/17 10:39pm
Jamie Mackie netted the winner as QPR beat Reading 1-0 in the Sky Bet Championship at the Madejski Stadium.
The former Reading man struck the only goal of the game, and his first of an injury-ravaged campaign, after a fine move by the Hoops in the first half, helping to secure a third-straight league win for boss Ian Holloway on Thursday night.
For Reading, meanwhile, the result was a huge blow for their automatic promotion hopes, as they missed the chance to close the gap on the top two.
Jaap Stam's side remain six points behind Newcastle in second, and could drop down to fifth if results go against them throughout the rest of the weekend.
Reading, as ever, were dominant in the early stages, but Holloway had sent his side out to keep it tight early on and the Royals failed to really penetrate the QPR backline.
After around 20 minutes, though, the away side started to come out of their shell, and the directness of their attacking started causing Reading problems.
And it was that directness which brought the opener for QPR. A quick counter saw Pawel Wszolek surge down the right before pulling the ball back to Ryan Manning on the edge of the area.
The young midfielder then produced one of the assists of the season as his incisive pass with the outside of his left boot found Mackie at the far post, who had the simplest of jobs to fire home from close range.
Moments later it could have been two. Again, Wszolek got down the right before picking out Mackie in the box, but his low strike was deflected just wide.
The trend continued into the second half as Reading continued to control the play but QPR were the ones carving out all the real chances.
Wszolek was proving a real menace down the right, and his driving run after 59 minutes created a great opportunity for Idrissa Sylla, who turned on the edge of the area before forcing a fine save from Ali Al-Habsi.
For all of the home side's possession, it took until 70 minutes for them to create their first real opening. Garath McCleary had been having a quiet night by his standards, but did well to get to the byline and dink a fine ball right onto the head of Yann Kermorgant, but he could only steer the ball onto the crossbar and over.
And Kermorgant went so close again seven minutes from time as he rose highest in the box to connect with a Roy Beerens cross, but his nod back across goal flew just, just wide of the post.
That would be as close as Reading came to a leveller, as QPR held on for a victory that helped them climb to 15th, eight points clear of the drop zone.
Reading boss Jaap Stam:
"We weren't good enough on the day. We had a lot of possession and created a couple of chances, but it was difficult to play against a team who dropped in deep very far.
"It was very hard to create a lot of chances and you can see they've got quality as well. They were waiting for the chance to get out on the break and they succeeded once in the first half and scored that goal."
QPR boss Ian Holloway:
"I'm bursting with pride. That's a really good team we've played tonight and it wasn't easy. I've got some young boys in there I'm so proud of, and some senior ones.
"Every single person has gone through hell and back in the last couple of weeks and when you clear things it's like a blockage, when someone doesn't want to be there or isn't there for the right reasons you just need to freshen things up.
"Can you ask for any more than that? I don't think so."