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Report: Rovers 2-1 Queens Park Rangers

First half goals from Adam Armstrong and Darragh Lenihan earn a vital victory on a chilly night at Ewood Park

28 January 2020

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All the action occurred in the first half as Rovers managed to earn a second successive victory on a chilly night at Ewood Park to overcome a stubborn Queens Park Rangers side.

Adam Armstrong's early opener breathed life into Rovers inside the opening 10 minutes, only for ex-Preston North End striker Jordan Hugill to level for the visitors soon after.

But the equaliser lasted only eight minutes as Man of the Match Darragh Lenihan rose highest to smash home a header on the half hour mark.

Rovers had to hang on late into the encounter, but defended stoutly to bag the points on home turf and march on to Middlesbrough on Saturday.

In a quiet opening, the game sprung into life in the 10th minute thanks to in form frontman Armstrong.

The forward collected a great ball from Joe Rothwell, took it inside and unleashed a terrific effort that flew past Liam Kelly and into the back of the net to hand the hosts a perfect start in the Lancashire chill.

Things nearly got better for Mowbray's men seconds later, but after Kelly spilled a deflected strike from Lewis Holtby, Lewis Travis poked towards goal, but a Rangers defender got back at the right time to flick the ball off the line.

Armstrong was becoming a nuisance for QPR, and his cross picked out Sam Gallagher at the back post, but his header was relatively comfortable for Kelly to grab.

A moment or two later and the equaliser arrived with the visitors' first foray into the Rovers box.

Hugill found space, and although his touch didn't look the greatest, the West Ham United loanee delicately dinked it over the onrushing Christian Walton and into the back of the net.

The score could have been turned around a couple of minutes later, but Luke Amos smashed over the upright after latching onto the end of a cross from ex-Rovers loanee Todd Kane.

It was a set piece routine that led to Rovers regaining the advantage on the half hour mark through Lenihan's second goal in as many games.

Rothwell was again involved; his corner drifting towards the back post and inviting the Irishman to punch a thumping header into the back of the net that was too strong for Kelly.

A half time change saw Rothwell, who had picked up a knock towards the end of the first half, replaced by Elliott Bennett at the break, with the skipper taking his place on the left flank.

The momentum continued for the hosts after the break, with Tosin Adarabioyo going for goal from the edge of the box and seeing his low effort brilliantly turned behind by Kelly.

Stewart Downing was next to try his luck, but his free kick just before the hour mark floated onto the roof of the net and never troubled Kelly.

For Rangers, the advanced Kane sent a teasing ball into the area a moment later, but Bright Osayi-Samuel's glancing header dropped a few yards wide of Walton's right-hand post.

At the other end, Gallagher hung in the air for what felt like an age, but he could only head Armstrong's right wing cross past the post.

Mark Warburton's visitors pressed for a late equaliser, with Osayi-Samuel in particular being more influential.

There were only three minutes of normal time remaining when substitute Olamide Shodipo got on the end of Lee Wallace's deep cross, but the youngster's headed attempt was easy for Walton to claim.

That was to be the last of the action as Rovers saw the game out without too many clear scares.

Rovers: Walton, Nyambe, Lenihan (c), Adarabioyo, Bell, Travis, Downing (Johnson, 79), Gallagher, Holtby (Rankin-Costello, 79), Rothwell (Bennett, 46), Armstrong.

Unused substitutes: Leutwiler, Williams, Graham, Brereton.

Goals: Armstrong, 10, Lenihan, 30

Booked: Lenihan, 74

Queens Park Rangers: Kelly, Kane, Wallace, Hall (c), Cameron, Amos (Pugh, 66), Hugill, Eze, Chair (Shodipo, 80), Osayi-Samuel, Masterson

Substitutes: Lumley, Manning, Rangel, Leistner, Clarke.

Goal: Hugill, 22

Booked: Chair, 57, Cameron, 58, Amos, 61

Attendance: 11,505 (292 away)

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