Scott Malone’s late strike saw the Bluebirds draw 2-2 with QPR in their maiden away trip of 2015/16.
DOWN THE CHANNELS
A vocal away following greeted the Bluebirds out of the tunnel for Saturday’s late kick-off in West London. They were up against a strong side, with the likes of Charlie Austin and Matt Phillips lining up alongside newcomers Massimo Luongo and Tjaronn Chery.
However, while the Hoops started brightly, two low crosses provided City’s best chances of grabbing the opener at Loftus Road. First Anthony Pilkington latched on to Alex Revell’s flick-on, worrying the Hoops’ defence with his deflected squared ball.
Then, the ever impressive Joe Ralls whipped the ball toward the far post. Pilkington had this time drifted in from the wing and was inches from connecting as the Bluebirds upped the ante.
HOOPS GO TWO UP
While Russell Slade's men looked bright in the final third, QPR’s creative forward players were causing some problems at the other end.
A defensive slip from Lee Peltier resulted in a QPR corner after 33 minutes. Unfortunately for City, they were punished as Phillips swung a pin-point delivery into the box. The ball was met by Clint Hill’s well timed run – the centre-half making no mistake as he headed the ball home.
The goal put the wind in the home side’s sails as they had a number of chances to double their lead before the interval. Charlie Austin went closest in the air, but the Bluebirds managed to hang on until the break – even threatening to equalise from Ralls’s in-swinging effort.
The Bluebirds enjoyed some possession in their opponents half at the beginning of the second period. However, they had to thank Simon Moore for a terrific save when Phillips broke down the right wing and fired towards goal.
Despite Moore’s superb one-handed block, the Hoops doubled their advantage from the resulting corner, as Hill again got to the ball first, directing the ball towards Austin who turned it home. The Bluebirds were somewhat undeservedly two goals behind, following two debatable handball decisions during the build up for QPR's second goal.
THE BLUEBIRDS DETERMINED FIGHTBACK
Corners were proving to be a the source of plenty of chances in West London, and the travelling City fans were next to celebrate as a result. Whittingham dropped his out-swinging delivery on the penalty spot for Sean Morrison to burst forward and direct a powerful header low into the Rangers goal.
Matt Connolly did superbly to get back on the goal line at the other end, preventing a Rangers’ third when Austin’s low effort looked certain to find the net. Indeed, opportunities were falling both ways as the match opened up completely – while City threatened from Whittingham’s corners, they soon needed another fine Moore save to keep Phillips out once more.
With the clock ticking down, goals seemed on the cards at both ends, as neither side were able to keep control of possession.
Fortunately for the Bluebirds, that goal came in front of their fans as Ralls found the run of the marauding Scott Malone. With the ball sitting up perfectly, the full-back hit a sensational, dipping half-volley past Green to equalise at the death - giving Russell Slade's side a deserved share of the spoils.
FINAL SCORE: QPR 2-2 CARDIFF CITY (Hill '33, Austin '56; Morrison '63, Malone '90)
QPR: Green; Perch, Onouha, Hill, Konchesky; Luongo, Henry, Chery (Doughty 55); Phillips, Gladwin (Emmanuel-Thomas 75), Austin (Polter 68). Subs Not Used: Lumley, Hall, Kpekawa, Faurlín.
Cardiff City: Moore, Peltier, Malone, Connolly, Morrison, Whittingham, Dikgacoi (Noone 68), Ralls, Pilkington (Ameobi 82), Mason, Revell (Jones 59). Subs Not Used: Wilson, Fabio, Gunnarsson, Doyle.