Queens Park Rangers top Sunderland to end road losing streak
Whoever comes in to take over at QPR will inherit a side out of the relegation zone after they recorded their first away points of the season with a 2-0 win at Sunderland.
Although he didn’t name names, QPR chairman Tony Fernandes tweeted before the game that he’s found his “perfect” manager following the departure of Harry Redknapp and the mystery man would have been delighted with the way the visitors went about their business. Under the stewardship of caretaker bosses Chris Ramsey and Kevin Bond, the west Londoners had this game sewn up by half-time thanks to Leroy Fer, who was later stretchered off with a knee injury, and a corking half volley from Bobby Zamora.
QPR made six changes to the side that lost 1-0 at home to Southampton as Ramsey spoke of introducing more flair and attacking momentum to their game. Top scorer Charlie Austin was missing with a foot injury but Zamora was a more than adequate replacement, using his skilled hold up play to lay the foundations for some early QPR pressure.
That pressure told on 17 minutes when Matt Phillips was given far too much space on the right flank to deliver a wonderful cross straight onto the head of the impressive Fer, who thumped the ball into the top corner. Fer then came close to doubling lead on 29 minutes when he once again latched onto a Phillips cross but this time his cushioned right footed effort hit the inside of the post and rolled along the goal line.
Rob Green was then called into action four minutes later to deny Conor Wickham with a splendid double save. Wickham’s first effort from six yards was pushed onto the bar by the ‘keeper who then reacted quicker than anyone to scoop the ball off the line. That would have given the home fans plenty of hope for a comeback but Zamora soon put pay to that optimism with a stunning half volley on the stroke of half-time.
Phillips again was the man with the assist from the right flank but all the plaudits have to go to Zamora, who hit the ball first time on the turn with his weaker right. Sunderland goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon could only stand and stare as the ball flew into the top corner. Sunderland stepped up their attacking intent in the second period but everything they threw at QPR a combination of Green and Rio Ferdinand thwarted the danger.
The ‘keeper denied Jermain Defoe his third goal in three games with a point-blank save on 63 minutes and then flew across his goal three minutes later to claw away a dangerous Ricky Alvarez effort. Ferdinand summed up his team’s commitment with 10 minutes to play with a fine block in the six yard box to stop a certain Steven Fletcher goal.
The defeat hauls Sunderland back into the relegation dog fight as they find themselves just two points above the drop zone as QPR send Aston Villa, who lost 2-0 at Hull, into the bottom three.