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21:40 4th February 2011

Report: QPR take narrow victory

Reading 0
QPR 1 (Routledge 82)

League leaders QPR inflicted a rare defeat on the Royals after a late Wayne Routledge goal proved to be decisive in a very tight game.

Chances were at a real premium, and defences were very much on top until a well-worked move gave on-loan Newcastle man Routledge a chance that he finished well.

Late in the first half Hogan Ephraim was sent off for the visitors for a challenge on Jimmy Kebe; the fourth consecutive game in which Rangers have had a player sent off against us.

We tried desperately to get the goal that would have given us a result, but in fairness to QPR they defended well and showed why they have the best defensive record in English football, inflicting only our second defeat in 16 games.

We were disappointed not to press home the one-man advantage, and this result leaves Rangers in a very strong position to be playing in the Premier League next season.

Reading (4-4-2): Federici; Griffin, Harte, Ingimarsson, Mills (c); Karacan, Tabb (Robson-Kanu 76), McAnuff, Kebe; Church (Manset 68), Long
Subs: McCarthy, Khizanishvili, Cummings, Gunnarsson, Hunt
Booked: Griffin (foul 29), Mills (foul 38)

QPR (4-4-1-1): Kenny; Orr, Hill, Connolly, Gorkss; Derry, Faurlin, Routledge (Hall 90+4), Ephraim; Taarabt (Vaagan Moen 86); Hulse (Miller 66)
Subs: Cerny, Chimbonda, Shittu, Rowlands
Booked: Hill (foul 3), Connolly (foul 65)
Sent off: Ephraim (foul 41)

Attendance: 18,982 (2,437 away)

Ref: R Booth

Starting XI team news
Shane Long passed a late fitness test to start up front, and we made an enforced change in midfield, Jay Tabb replacing the unavailable Mikele Leigertwood. Brynjar Gunnarsson was on the bench, his first involvement since September.

First half
The first action saw Clint Hill booked for a very meaty third minute challenge on Jem Karacan as Reading looked to start brightly.

QPR's first move resulted in a decent chance for striker Rob Hulse, but the former Derby man headed wide from seven or eight yards out. It was a cagey affair, and midway through the half Kaspars Gorkss lost his marker at a corner but completely missed his header.

There were more stoppages than either team would have liked, and Andy Griffin then Matt Mills were booked in quick succession. Mills' challenge came when Hogan Ephraim had a decent run at goal, but it was only deemed worthy of a caution.

Reading then came closest to breaking the deadlock as Simon Church unleashed an excellent volley but it was too close to Paddy Kenny. From the resulting corner Mills got in a good header that was saved, and Church's goalbound effort was cleared off the line with Kenny beaten.

Referee Russell Booth was then involved once more as he sent off Ephraim for a challenge on Jimmy Kebe. The QPR man's foot was off the ground, and in fairness it looked a tight call that could have been yellow, but similarly a red was not a surprise either and Kebe needed a fair amount of treatment.

We had our tails up, and Kenny misjudged a long pass from the resulting free kick, and Long almost nipped in but put it slightly wide.

Second half
The second period began in the same cagey manner as the first half, and the only real shot of note in the first 15 minutes was a Karacan 25-yarder that went wide. Next to try his luck was Andy Griffin, but his left-footer was always wide of the near post.

Tabb then won the ball but took a piece of Adel Taarabt at the same time, and QPR boss Neil Warnock was apoplectic when Tabb was not shown a card.

On 65 minutes Reading had cause to protes to the referee when Long was clipped in the box by Matthew Connolly, and it was only a light touch but still looked a foul. To add to our disappointment, Karacan was punished for an almost identical challenge a second later. Both sides then made attacking changes, Mathieu Manset on for Reading and Ishmael Miller on for the visitors.

As the game entered the last 20 minutes Mills had half a chance, and headed not too far wide amid a number of bodies. Then Miller used his strength to turn a shot goalwards but it was well over.

Then, with the game's first meaningful effort, QPR took the lead on 82 minutes. A neat move in midfield saw Wayne Routledge put through on goal, and he finished well, getting enough power on it to beat Adam Federici's hand, little the Australian 'keeper could do at full stretch.

Manset then had half a chance following a run by Jobi McAnuff, but shot wide on his left foot when he may have been better served on his right.

We were throwing bodies forward, and Ivar Ingimarsson popped up in a very advanced position when trying to capitalise on a ball into the box. Manset did his best to fashion a chance with some good play, but to no avail

We tried desperately to get the goal that would have given us a result, but in fairness to QPR they defended well and showed why they have the best defensive record in English football, inflicting only our second defeat in 16 games.

    Data provided by Press Association