Preston 1-0 QPR Five Things: Hugill downs 10-man Rs

Jordan Hugill – bbc.co.uk

Preston beat 10-man QPR 1-0 at Deepdale on Saturday afternoon, but they were made to wait a long time for Jordan Hugill’s winner. Here’s five things from the game.

Lively start

Both teams threatened in the opening exchanges. Callum Robinson caused problems for Pawel Wszolek down the left for Preston, crossing for Alan Browne to head over from close-range, seconds after the same player had been denied by Alex Smithies. QPR won a couple of free-kicks, though the execution of them from Josh Scowen and Jake Bidwell wasn’t the best, highlighting the absent Luke Freeman’s importance.

Mackie’s red card

While Jamie Mackie’s 22 minute challenge on Tom Clarke was on paper worthy of the red card brandished, it was only because his opponent got to the ball a split-second quicker. Had the roles been fractionally reversed, we could easily be discussing Clarke’s sending off for a bad lunge and QPR’s victory against 10 men. Instead, Preston got the break – although they didn’t make the most of it initially.

Patient Preston

Alex Neil signalled to his players to stay in shape and remain patient despite the red card, but perhaps they were too patient. Either Ben Pearson or Browne were always between Clarke and Paul Huntington in the build-up play when both were needed further up the pitch, with the players in front of them showing a lack of ambition to force the issue. Indeed, the likes of Robinson and Hugill had looked more efficient when faced with 11 men than with 10 for the rest of the first period.

The Baptiste show

Half-time substitutes Josh Harrop and Kevin O’Connor helped up the tempo of Preston’s play and they created numerous openings. Alex Baptiste, who had bailed out his teammates and seemingly did the work of a whole back four on his own at times, had the answer to every cross or shot that came his way. After Jack Robinson was caught overplaying in the box, he blocked Robinson’s effort as QPR had their backs to the wall. They did give Preston’s defence one or two anxious moments, mainly through the occasional breakaway and Ilias Chair’s set pieces, one of which curled narrowly wide.

Hugill’s winner

A spirited display was not enough to preserve a valuable away point for QPR. Jordan Hugill had had a quiet afternoon but he raced onto a through ball before slotting past Smithies, who himself did not deserve to be on the losing side. The goal was a bitter pill to swallow for Baptiste – who was sent off for dissent after the final whistle – and the Rs – who have picked up just four points from a possible 30 on the road. Hugill’s strike was though a timely boost for the Lilywhites: with key men returning from injury, Neil’s side are beginning to rediscover their early-season form.