The Wokingham Paper

Al-Habsi error hands QPR late victory against Reading FC

Nedum Onuoha scored the only goal at Madejski Stadium (Pic by Vivienne Johnson)
Nedum Onuoha scored the only goal at Madejski Stadium (Pic by Vivienne Johnson)

A LAST MINUTE Ali Al-Habsi error cost Reading a point as Queens Park Rangers snatched a 1-0 win at Madejski Stadium.

The contest, which featured very few clear cut chances, seemed destined to drift towards a goalless conclusion, only for Nedum Onuoha to pop up with a back post header in the 90th minute.

Although it was on target, the effort should not really have found the net as it was heading straight for goalkeeper Al-Habsi, but he got his attempted stop horribly wrong and the ball crept over the line.

Royals tried to respond but ended the evening with no shots on target and slipped to a third loss in four matches.

Steve Clarke made three changes to the side which lost 3-1 at Nottingham Forest.

With captain Paul McShane missing due to a head injury, Anton Ferdinand came into the side while Alex Fernandez and Garath McCleary earned recalls with Lucas Piazon and Orlando Sa dropping out.

The two sides met in the Premier League as recently as 2013 but there was a distinct lack of top class attacking threat throughout with neither goalkeeper severely tested.

Michael Hector missed the first clear chance of the game, heading an Oliver Norwood free-kick off target and in truth that was about as good as it got for either side in a very forgettable first half.

And it was stand-in skipper Hector who was on the end of the first chance of the second period when he met a McCleary corner, only to head over the crossbar.

QPR upped the ante on the hour mark, introducing talismanic striker Charlie Austin, but in truth both goals were still under little threat.

That was until Nick Blackman stepped up from around 25 yards with a free kick just past the hour mark.

Using his left foot, the Championship’s third top scorer lined up an effort and saw his swirling effort leave Rob Green rooted to the spot and the ball crashed back off the crossbar.

It was a set piece again which almost led to the opener at the other end with a deep free kick going all the way through to Onuoha but the defender headed over.

Substitute Hal Robson-Kanu, returning from injury, found space in the box and latched onto a McCleary pass but dragged a shot harmlessly wide.

So with both sides seemingly set for a point apiece, up popped Onuoha at the back post to escape Sa and head back across goal and after Al-Habsi tried to complete a catch, he misread the flight of the ball and saw it bounce agonisingly off his hand and over the line to hand Neil Warnock a victory in his final game in charge before Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink takes over.

Reading put a couple of balls into the box to try and rescue a point, but Green remained unworked as Royals poor form continues.

Clarke now has nine days to prepare his side for their next game, a trip to Preston North End on December 12.

Reading: Al-Habsi; Gunter, Ferdinand, Hector, Taylor; Norwood, Williams, Fernandez (Robson-Kanu 73); McCleary, Vydra (Sa 80), Blackman (John 80).
Subs not used: Bond, Cooper, Obita, Hurtado.
Yellow cards: Norwood (69)

QPR: Green, Perch, Onuoha, Hall, Konchesky, Sandro, Faurlin, Petrasso (Austin 63), Hoilett (Chery 76), Fer, Phillips.
Subs not used: Smithies, Angella, Tozser, Henry, Luongo.
Goal: Onuoha (90)
Yellow cards: Fer (29), Hall (41)

Referee: Andy Madley
Attendance: 16,365

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