Ten man Reading lost an opening day encounter at Loftus Road thanks to a brace from QPR's Conor Washington. Rangers took a first half lead with a back post header from the striker and then Tiago Ilori dragged Pawel Wszolek over inside the area to concede a penalty which Washington dispatched.
- Conor Washington heads QPR into a 22nd minute lead at the far post
- Washington spurns good chance to make it 2-0 by flashing high and wide before HT
- Ilori shown a red card in pulling Wszolek down. Washington converts from the spot.
Goalkeeper Vito Mannone started between the posts as one of three Royals debutants - Jón Dadi Böðvarsson was named up front with Pelle Clement starting in a wide role in midfield. Our newest signing Modou Barrow began the game from the bench, where three young Academy starts also sat - Sam Smith, Andy Rinomhota and Omar Richards named amongst the Royals squad.
The first opportunity fell to a QPR foot as thet capitalised on a misplaced pass on the right side of the Royals defence to earn a shooting opportunity. The ball was fed into the feet of Conor Washington to let rip with his right foot, but Mannone leapt to his right to push the ball wide.
Reading's first chance came 8 minutes in when Bodvarsson turned his man on the half-way line to sprint away down the right. He surged into the box and fizzed a low cross into the middle where it was just inches away from a sliding Clement six yards out.
Soon after, a sublime ball from Kelly over the top found Bodvarsson onside and in space. He chested it down and then tried to hook itr over Alex Smithies, but the ball dropped onto the roof of the Rangers net.
The game settled into a frantic pace and Reading were creating opportunities. First Popa burst down the right and crossed early into the middle. Lunch missed his kick but Clement couldn't capitalise as the ball skidded through.
Then, moments later, tidy work on the left side of the QPR box saw the ball pulled back into the path of Blackett - but his first touch took it too far away from him to enable a shot and Rangers hacked the ball clear.
Moore headed a dangerous Mackie cross clear at the near post with 20 minutes gone. But QPR took the lead soon after when a cross from the right dropped to Washington free at the far post, who nodded down to make it 1-0 from close range.
Luke Freeman came close to adding a second. Mackie wrestled away from Ilori and passed the ball into the path of Washington who teed up Freeman, arriving late into the box. The midfielder's strike was clean but whistled wide to Reading's relief.
At the other end, Clement raced onto a good ball down the left flank but, cutting inside, his right-footed shot was easy for Smithies to gather.
With ten minutes of the first half remaining, the Royals carved out a good opportunity down the right side, ending with Bodvarsson pulling the ball back for Swift or Popa lurking eight yards out. But Onuoha was equal to it and intecepted at the last moment.
And yet Ian Holloway's men almost doubled their lead when a long ball forward dropped to Luongo who drilled wide of Mannone's dive but against the base of the right post.
And the home side should have made it 2-0 when Kelly's pass backwards evaded everyone in orange and allowed Washington to scamper clean through. Manone came off his line and the Rangers striker swept his shot high and wide to Reading's relief.
Half time | QPR 1-0 Reading
A well-timed tackle from Moore halted Freeman in his tracks at the start of the second period, but the midfielder raced onto another ball to arrow just over from 20 yards out soon after.
Barrow was brought on early in the second period and he nearly made an immediate impact. Dispossessing Perch with his pace, he pulled the ball back to Swift who had his first time shot blocked. The ball came out to Bodvarsson who took aim but Smithies saved with a flailing left arm and QPR's lead remained in tact.
But the game turned on its head when Rangers broke at pace as Bodvarsson lay on the ground with an injury inflicted by Lynch. The referee played on and, after a Popa-led attack broke down, QPR counter attacked.
Ilori was adjudged to have dragged Wszolek down inside the area to concede a penalty and insult was added to injury when Ilori was shown the red card before Washington sent Mannone the wrong way to all but put the opening game to bed.
Mannone saved a close range header soon after and Freeman drove a timid effort into the side netting, but the result was in the bag for Rangers.
Barrow tumbled inside the Rangers box with 15 minutes remaining, but nothing was given by the man in the middle, then Popa scurried onto a high ball over the top but was halted by the offside flag.
A superb flying save from Mannone denied substitute Idrissa Sylla before an offside flag rendered the chance futile. And although Joseph Mendes came off the bench late on to cause Rangers' defence a few concerns, it was QPR who would comfortably record their first win of the campaign.
Full time | QPR 2-0 Reading
QPR: Smithies, Perch, Onuoha (c), Lynch, Wszolek, Scowen, Luongo, Freeman, Bidwell (Robinnson 87), Washington (Sylla 80), Mackie (Ngbakoto 82).
Subs: Ingram, Furlong, Borysiuk, Smith.
Goals: Washington (22, 59 pen)
Reading: Mannone, Gunter (c), Ilori, Moore, Blackett, Kelly, Swift (Mendes 82), Evans, Clement (Barrow 53), Popa, Böðvarsson (Richards 59).
Subs: Jaakkola, Rinomhota, Smith.
Yellow: Bodvarsson, Barrow.
Att: 14,460 (2,208 away)