Vaughan header earns first point of the season
James Vaughan’s first half header earned Mark Robins’ men their first Championship point of the season at home to QPR.
Vaughan notched his third goal of the season from close range after Adam Hammill and Oliver Norwood had worked an opening.
Town weren’t ahead for long, though, conceding just three minutes after going ahead when Junior Hoilett stabbed home from close range.
Both teams exchanged efforts during the second half, but neither created any decent openings of note as Town posted their first point of the season.
Mark Robins elected to stick with the 3-5-2 formation which earned his side victory over Bradford during the week; but was forced to make one change with Adam Hammill replacing the injured Jack Hunt.
Queens Park Rangers – who were aiming for a third win to complete a perfect first week back in the Championship – began in the ascendancy with Clint Hill heading over Joey Barton’s free-kick in the fourth minute.
Rangers were making all the running and had it not been for a superb block by Anthony Gerrard on Andy Johnson, the former England international may have put his side ahead.
QPR’s hopes of promotion this season may hinge on the form of summer signing Charlie Austin, however, if his effort in the 13th minute is anything to go by they may have to rethink those plans. The former Burnley man was given a clear sight of goal courtesy of strike partner Johnson, but failed to connect cleanly with his shot, which trickled through to Alex Smithies.
The striker went a lot closer seven minutes later, though, with an effort that nestled into the side netting of Smithies’ goal.
Town’s persistence to keep the ball on the deck was evident, but it wasn’t until the 25th minute that it started having some effect in the final third. Oscar Gobern shot wide from range before Martin Paterson flashed a shot past Robert Green’s post after turning Clint Hill expertly.
The breakthrough came on 35 minutes with James Vaughan notching his first league goal of the season after Hammill and Norwood had done excellently down the right to work an opening.
Town’s celebrations lasted all of three minutes, though, when Junior Hoilett took advantage of some poor defending to poke his side level from eight yards.
Joel Lynch and Hoilett exchanged efforts before referee Haines brought a close to an entertaining half of football.
The combination of Johnson and Austin had caused Town problems all game and they very nearly put their side ahead in the 57th minute when Austin’s flick header, from Johnson’s cross, rebounded off Smithies’ crossbar. Barton headed the rebound over under the close attentions of Hammill.
QPR continued to enjoy the share of possession as the half wore on and with twenty minutes to go almost went ahead. Hammill – who had been fantastic going forward for Town – overplayed in his own half, losing the ball to Austin who crashed a shot into the side of Smithies’ goal. Hammill’s loss of possession proved to be his last act in the game as he was replaced Danny Ward.
Barton found Smithies with a drive before substitute Jermaine Jenas fired over as Harry Redknapp’s men looked the more likely to snatch the victory during the final exchanges.
Despite Rangers’ dominance it was Town who very nearly nicked it when Sean Scannell bundled an effort just wide of Rob Green’s goal.
Town’s team (3-5-2):
Alex Smithies; Joel Lynch, Peter Clarke (c), Anthony Gerrard; Jake Carroll (Jack Hunt, 63), Oscar Gobern (Sean Scannell, 81), Adam Clayton, Oliver Norwood, Adam Hammill (Danny Ward, 72); Martin Paterson, James Vaughan
Ian Bennett, Murray Wallace, Matt Crooks, Jon Stead
Bookings Town: Joel Lynch, 74
Bookings QPR: Esteban Granero, 15;