Queens Park Rangers vs Luton Town. Sky Bet Championship.
Loftus Road StadiumAttendance16,030.
Report and free match highlights from the Sky Bet Championship clash between QPR and Luton Town at Lotus Road as two goals from Carlton Morris and a third from Alfie Doughty sealed a convincing Hatters win.
Thursday 29 December 2022 21:20, UK
Carlton Morris scored twice as Luton won 3-0 at QPR, who slumped to their fourth straight home defeat.
Striker Morris opened the scoring after 10 minutes and struck again 80 seconds into the second half, taking his tally for the season to 10.
Alfie Doughty's brilliant strike with nine minutes remaining sealed a second successive win for new manager Rob Edwards in his third match since taking over as manager.
The game was also new QPR boss Neil Critchley's third at the helm, and their first loss since his appointment again exposed the shortcomings that had been evident when losing four games in a row prior to his succeeding Mick Beale at Loftus Road.
The out-of-form Chris Willock was named on the bench by Critchley and Rangers struggled to create clear-cut chances.
Morris was a problem for them at the other end, seeing an acrobatic effort saved by goalkeeper Seny Dieng shortly before giving the visitors the lead.
Doughty found space on the right and dribbled across the edge of the area towards Morris, who fired through the legs of Rangers' on-loan Manchester United full-back Ethan Laird and into the far corner of the net.
Ilias Chair, back in the starting line-up following his involvement with Morocco at the World Cup, produced Rangers' stand-out moment of the first half when he skilfully evaded three challenges before his shot was saved by Ethan Horvath.
But that was a rare moment of quality from Rangers, who found themselves two down soon after the interval.
James Bree swung in a free-kick from the left and Kenneth Paal, in trying to clear, inadvertently flicked the ball on and Morris added the decisive touch at the far post.
QPR almost pulled a goal back when Tyler Roberts headed Paal's right-wing free-kick against the top of the bar and later delivered a cross to Lyndon Dykes, who could only hook the ball agonisingly wide of the target from close range.
Critchley eventually brought on Willock - for crowd favourite Chair, a substitution which added to the home fans' growing frustration - but any Rangers hopes of a comeback were emphatically crushed by Doughty's first Luton goal.
Doughty darted in from the left, exchanged passes with Morris and sent an unstoppable drive beyond Dieng from near the edge of the area.
QPR's Neil Critchley: "It was a very disappointing evening. The game has been decided in both penalty boxes and the timing of the goals we gave away were really poor. The story of our night was that we failed a lot - with our final ball and decision-making. We also didn't get that bit of luck in front of goal that you might need.
"The second goal is the biggest disappointment for me because I felt at 1-0 that in the second half the game would follow a similar pattern to the first in that we were in the ascendancy. That second goal had a huge bearing on the outcome of the game. When you've been beaten 3-0 it looks like there's been chance after chance and you've been well beaten, but I didn't think we were. (Goalkeeper) Seny Dieng had very little to do and has picked the ball out of the net three times. We just failed and they didn't."
Luton's Rob Edwards: "I don't think we were at our best. I still want more. When we win the ball back I think we can be better at both ends of the pitch. But we were ruthless at one end and defended like warriors when we had to - which these lads do really well and enjoy doing.
"Once we got the first goal we just quietened everyone a little bit and then were able to manage it fairly well. The timing of the second goal was great and that allowed us to be solid and try to pick them off. We probably didn't have that snap and that bite we had against Norwich, but full credit because they really put a shift in."