Queens Park Rangers 2-0 Bolton Wanderers

  • February 17, 2018 | By Chris Mann
  • URL Short URL: http://b-ac.es/85064

Mark Little was sent off as Bolton fell deeper into relegation trouble with a 2-0 defeat at Queens Park Rangers.

With the game goalless, Little was dismissed nine minutes into the second-half at Loftus Road after lunging into a challenge with his studs raised, leaving referee Scott Duncan with little option but to brandish a straight red card.

Despite a tactical shuffle, Wanderers fell behind with 18 minutes to play as Joel Lynch headed home from close range, before a Man of the Match performance from Matt Smith was rewarded with a goal in added time as Rangers put some gloss on a comfortable victory.

Phil Parkinson made three changes to the Bolton side that started at Cardiff City on Tuesday, as David Wheater, Little and Tyler Walker came in at the expense of Dorian Dervite, Filipe Morais and Adam Le Fondre, all of whom were named amongst the substitutes.

With the action underway in the capital, it was Wanderers who created the first opportunity of the afternoon.

After Sammy Ameobi had been pulled back 30 yards from goal, the home side failed to deal with a free-kick into their box. A poor clearance fell kindly back to the feet of Ameobi, who picked out Derik Osede, but his shot was charged down as the danger was cleared.

Rangers responded brightly and came close to breaking the deadlock on six minutes, with Jack Robinson's low strike finding a way through a pack of players before being clutched down low by Ben Alnwick in the visiting goal.

Osede thought he had opened the scoring on 10 minutes as he rose highest to nod a Josh Vela corner towards goal, but QPR goalkeeper Alex Smithies stuck up a hand to tip the ball over the crossbar.

Alnwick was then called into action again at the other end, keeping out a close-range effort from Luke Freeman moments later, before repeating the trick to deny Massimo Luongo with his feet.

The Bolton 'keeper was fast becoming the star of the show, keeping out a looping header from Matt Smith on 20 minutes, and when he was beaten midway through the half the goal was disallowed due to an offside flag in the build up.

With the clock ticking over the half-hour, Smithies was called into action to save from Walker, but it was the hosts who ended the half in the ascendency, with Luongo and Smith both narrowly missing the target as the sides went in goalless at the break.

There was one change in personnel as the players arrived back on the field for the start of the second period, with Vela's afternoon coming to an end as he was replaced by Jem Karacan - who was appearing for the first time since September.

With the action back underway, Wanderers came close to opening the scoring within three minutes of the restart as Wheater's header from an Ameobi free-kick was tipped behind by Smithies.

Their new-found threat was suddenly curtailed on 54 minutes, however, as Little was given his marching orders for a two-footed lunge on the touchline - despite appearing to make minimal contact with the Rangers player.

Going down to 10 men forced Parkinson into a tactical switch, forcing Burke to drop in at right-back in a 4-4-1 formation.

Momentarily, it appeared to work and Bolton almost went ahead on the hour as Karacan fed Walker through on goal, only for him to drag his strike narrowly wide of the far post.

QPR came back in to the game from that point on, though, and were denied an opener of their own midway through the half as Alnwick pushed a stinging drive from Luke Freeman over his own crossbar.

But the deadlock was finally broken with 18 minutes to play, as Smith's header from a free-kick looped up and over Alnwick, allowing Lynch to nod home from on the goal-line.

Lynch almost doubled his tally for the afternoon moments later, just failing to get the desired touch at the back stick that would have resulted in a certain goal, but the game was to end in a 2-0 scoreline as Smith, provider of the first, got himself on the scoresheet in stoppage time, beating Alnwick with a powerful header to seal the points.

Defeat for Bolton sees them drop below Birmingham City to 20th in the Championship table and looking cautiously over their shoulders, with both Hull City and Barnsley within two points of the Trotters and with a game in-hand.

Sunderland, who take 23rd, above Burton Albion in goal difference, are next up for Parkinson's side when they make the trip to Macron Stadium on Tuesday.

Queens Park Rangers: Smithies, Onuoha, Lynch, Robinson, Wszolek, Luongo, Scowen, Freeman, Bidwell (Smyth 64), Smith, Washington (Eze 82)
Subs Not Used: Ingram, Furlong, Baptiste, Chair, Osayi-Samuel
Goals: Lynch 72, Smith 90+1

Bolton Wanderers: Alnwick, Robinson, Beevers, Wheater, Burke, Little, Osede (Morais 81), Henry, Vela (Karacan 46), Ameobi, Walker (Le Fondre 69)
Subs Not Used: Howard, A Taylor, Dervite, Clough
Booked: Henry
Sent Off: Little

Referee: Scott Duncan
Attendance: 12,638

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Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
19 Rochdale 34 36
20 AFC Wimbledon 35 35
21 Tranmere Rovers 34 32
22 Southend United 35 19
23 Bolton Wanderers 34 14
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Poll

Who is Bolton's 2018/19 Player of the Year?
34.62% Gary O'Neil
19.38% David Wheater
18.92% Pawel Olkowski
9.27% Joe Williams
5.33% Jason Lowe
4.13% Sammy Ameobi
2.85% Josh Magennis
2.75% Mark Beevers
1.19% Jack Hobbs
1.01% Ben Alnwick
0.28% Andrew Taylor
0.28% Craig Noone