QPR had to settle for second best at Preston- here is a hat-trick of things learned from the game.
So good they named him twice
Ian Holloway got lucky on his third pursuit of Kazenga Lua-Lua, after coveting him at Palace and Millwall, and Ollie is justifiably happy to have finally got his man.
Despite losing his starting place earlier this month, the Congolese set up Conor Washington’s winner against Wigan and he got the opening goal at Preston with a cheeky backheel.
Lua-Lua, who continued the family business with an acrobatic backflip celebration, helped compensate for Washington’s absence by bagging a neat opener.
Hoops fall flat
In the first half, Rangers defended stoutly and their back three looked to have the measure of Preston’s attacking threat, although they didn’t create much going forward.
Aiden McGeady’s goal just before the break must have knocked them off their stride psychologically as the visitors simply failed to turn up in the second half.
Their ability to keep hold of the ball collapsed and Preston should have won by four or five in the end such were the quality of chances that fell to Greg Cunningham, Jordan Hugill and Tom Barkhuizen.
Freeman no longer
Luke Freeman was dismissed on 78 minutes for a second yellow card for what looked like two innocuous incidents.
He brought down McGeady on a dribble in the first half and then an unknown incident, potentially off the ball, saw his downfall in the closing stages.
Referee David Coote maintained his desire to stamp his own identity on the game, after he had consistently blown up for soft fouls throughout.
Freeman has been at the heart of the Hoops’ last two wins and he will be missed for the visit of Cardiff City next week, where they will be looking for another rare win at Loftus Road. QPR's defeat to Preston North End put an end to their revival in the Championship.
And the match...
Rangers took the lead at Deepdale through Kazenga Lua-Lua, but goals from Aiden McGeady and Jordan Hugill sent them home pointless and they ended with ten men after Luke Freeman's dismissal.
After a turgid first half-hour, Alex Smithies pulled off a good save from a Jordan Hugill header and the R’s snuck ahead moments later.
Darnell Furlong hurled a throw into the box and Matt Smith flicked it on to Kazenga Lua-Lua, who held off a challenge to backheel in from six yards.
The Lilywhites continued to be frustrated by QPR’s patient defending but a moment of quality from Aiden McGeady pegged the visitors back on the stroke of half time.
The winger cut across goal on an angle outside the box, refusing a couple of opportunities to shoot, and picked his moment to whip into the bottom right corner past Smithies.
Ian Holloway’s men withstood a spell of Preston pressure after half-time as Greg Cunningham curled just wide of the far post and on the end of another lull, Callum Robinson fired home but from an offside position.
The home side made their good play count in the 71st minute when Smithies stopped a Hugill volley but couldn’t keep the rebound out and the striker tapped home from close in.
It all got frantic late on as Luke Freeman was sent off for a mysterious second yellow, Joel Lynch turned a cross against his own bar, Smithies made an outstanding double save and late sub Yeni N’Gbakoto stabbed a great chance over.
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