QPR 2-1 Wigan: Conor Washington delivers victory for hosts
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 21/02/17 11:56pm
Conor Washington inspired QPR to a 2-1 victory over relegation-threatened Wigan at Loftus Road.
Washington set up an early opener for Matt Smith and restored Rangers' lead with a thumping strike after Omar Bogle had equalised from the penalty spot. The victory was QPR's second in three days and pulled them further clear of the bottom three.
And Washington continues to impress under boss Ian Holloway, having netted just twice in 31 appearances under previous Rangers manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink. Struggling Wigan, meanwhile, remain in the relegation zone and have now failed to win in 16 visits to London.
Rangers made the perfect start, going ahead after just four minutes courtesy of recent signing Smith's second goal in as many matches. Washington cleverly nudged Jake Buxton aside to collect Alex Smithies' long kick and laid the ball off to Smith, who scored from close range.
Ryan Manning then had a shot tipped over by Wigan goalkeeper Matt Gilks and QPR appeared to be in control before a mistake by Luke Freeman on 16 minutes proved costly.
Freeman, not helped by Jake Bidwell's positioning, misplaced an attempted pass to the left-back, enabling Max Power to find Bogle, who was brought down by Joel Lynch.
Bogle kept his composure after a delay because of an injury to home defender Grant Hall, sending Smithies the wrong way from the spot for his third goal since his recent arrival from Grimsby.
Both sides had created openings with the score at 1-1. Bogle saw a goal-bound shot blocked by Nedum Onuoha and the lively Freeman fired wide, before Bogle again got into a shooting position inside the box and was this time closed down by Manning. And Smithies produced a superb save to push away Buxton's header from Jamie Hanson's right-wing corner a couple of minutes before half-time.
Smithies was called into action twice more in the early in the second half, denying Bogle and then keeping out Buxton's far-post header, before Washington netted the winner - the striker's fourth goal in six games.
Washington struck just before the hour mark, firing into the bottom corner from near the edge of the penalty area after being teed up by substitute Kazenga LuaLua.
QPR boss Ian Holloway:
"He's a centre-forward and he knows he can play with Matt Smith. When he's in a two he's fantastic, you know what your job is, which is to go and score a goal instead of worrying about defending all the time, it makes a difference.
"He can press a centre-half all day long, but he finds it difficult in that wider area. Conor's a fantastic goalscorer and he's won us the game with that goal."
Wigan boss Warren Joyce:
"They were two poor goals to concede. For the first goal we were wide open to a long kick down the middle. We did well to come back and were good value for the 1-1 at half-time. I thought it was a deserved score at half-time.
"We were certainly under plenty of pressure from how direct they were. We know the lad (Matt Smith) wins a lot of balls in the air and that we had to get to the second ball.
"But the first goal comes from their kick and for the second goal we don't pick the second ball up - it's straight through on the back four."