Report: QPR 1-1 Bristol City
Saturday, December 23rd 2017
Bobby Reid's second-half penalty rescued a point for Bristol City as they extend their unbeaten run heading into Christmas.
Reid's 80th-minute strike from the spot cancelled out Aden Flint's first-half own goal, after the City defender turned a free kick into his own net.
The hosts certainly had the better of the first half, but City's players somehow managed to summon up the energy to dominate in the second period - in which Flint played 30 minutes up front.
The point means City have bridged the gap on Cardiff City, who lost 2-0 at Bolton Wanderers, to just one point, although they slip to fourth below Derby County.
Lee Johnson made four changes to his starting XI to face QPR, following the midweek Manchester United heroics.
Frank Fielding returned between the sticks at Loftus Road, with Lloyd Kelly handed his first league start of the season. Jonathan Leko occupied the right-wing with Matty Taylor partnering Reid up front.
A POSITIVE START
City started brightly and it was Wednesday’s match winner, Korey Smith, who almost gave his head coach the perfect start. Josh Brownhill, making his first appearance after signing a new contract, headed the ball to Taylor, whose pass found Smith but Alex Smithies in the R’s goal was equal to the midfielder’s shot.
Taylor almost latched on to a Bryan cross shortly after but a recovering defender did well to block the striker.
The home side soon warmed into the tie themselves and it took a low Fielding save to prevent Oasyi-Samuel from breaking the deadlock.
The match soon petered into a sloppy affair with City’s attacking impetus fading. The Rs were getting the ball into the Robins box but the towering Flint and Baker were happy to deal with every ball that came their way.
QPR STRIKE FIRST
That was until former former City midfielder Luke Freeman whipped in a dangerous free-kick, eight minutes from the end of the first half. Joe Bryan had brought down Pawel Wszolek on the right side of the pitch and Freeman’s set-piece was flicked into the corner of Fielding’s goal via Flint, as he jumped to connect with the free-kick.
City were looking out of sorts but it was to their credit that they refused to give up on the half, with Flint determined to make amends. His header from a Bryan corner was blocked, with his defensive partner Baker flashing the follow-up off target.
City knew they had it all to do to in the second half and certainly came out fighting.
Flint went close with a header over the bar and Josh Brownhill struck a low shot beyond Smithies, only to be denied by the inside of the post. The ball was then cleared for a corner, from which Taylor’s goal-bound header had to be cleared off the line from Josh Scowen.
The Loftus Road faithful were trying their best to lift the home side and Fielding was alert to tip away a low, fierce Wszolek strike to deny the hosts a second.
Johnson brought Marlon Pack and Hordur Magnusson into the game, as City continued to press for an equaliser, with long-range, drilled effort from Pack matched by the QPR keeper.
Smithies was again called into action, with 15 minutes on the clock remaining, as he pushed away Magnusson’s free-kick.
Fulham loanee Cauley Woodrow proved to be Johnson’s last roll of the dice, with Flint pushed up to support the attack, as City began to get on top of their opponents.
And Woodrow almost made the difference. Bryan burst down the left, before producing a magnificent cross which was met by Reid’s header. Smithies flicked the ball away with a superb save and when the ball made its way back to Woodrow, the striker could only place his close-range follow-up over the bar.
REID STEPS UP
City were due an equaliser for their second-half performance and Reid duly delivered from 12 yards after referee Andrew Madley awarded a penalty for a push on Flint. Reid stepped up and placed his strike down the middle for his 12th goal of the season.
The travelling side wanted more with Woodrow almost the provider again; his effort placed inches wide of Smithies' left-hand post as the minutes ticked by.
QPR threatened little towards the end and the full-time whistle extended City's unbeaten run to six matches; 12 consecutively on the road this season.
City return to Sky Bet Championship action when they face Reading on Boxing Day (3pm kick-off).