Team: Smithies, Bidwell, Lynch, Onuoha, Furlong, Hall, Manning (Doughty), Luongo, Wszolek, Mackie (Comley), Sylla (LuaLua)
Subs Not Used: Ingram, El Khayati, Shodipo, Ngbakoto
Attendance: 12,655 (including 963 R’s fans)
Jamie Mackie’s first-half strike was enough to secure all three points for QPR as Ian Holloway’s side stunned Jaap Stam’s promotion hopefuls at the Madejski Stadium.
The victory takes Rangers up to 15th place in the Championship – providing a eight-point cushion above the drop zone – as the West Londoners recorded a third successive win on the bounce for the first time this season.
The Royals missed the chance to cut the six-point gap to the automatic promotion places as Mackie secured Rangers’ third victory in a row in the league with a goal midway through the first-half.
It was the former Reading loanee’s first strike of the season, having only returned in December following eight months out with an ankle injury.
The hosts under-performed throughout, but Yann Kermorgant almost levelled in the second-half when his firm header struck the crossbar.
A minute’s applause in memory of former England manager Graham Taylor, who died aged 72 on Thursday morning, was held prior to the start.
The heavy snow of three hours before kick-off had ceased, leaving the pitch comfortably playable.
Reading opened more positively, with Kermorgant setting up a chance with a clever chest-down. But Garath McCleary, positioned on the edge of the area, blazed his 20-yard shot too high.
QPR soon replied, with Mackie taking advantage of a mix-up between Joey van den Berg and Jordan Obita.
However, Mackie wasted the time and space that he had afforded when sending over an angled drive. Mackie was instrumental in another QPR opening, when drilling over a low cross, but with the Reading rear-guard exposed, Idrissa Sylla was unable to make a firm connection on it.
QPR tackled strongly in midfield and, with their five-man defence showing no weaknesses, Reading’s frustration began to grow.
Rangers were rewarded, when they went ahead in the 28th minute after good work by Pawel Wszolek and Ryan Manning. It left Mackie with little to do and he tucked the ball home from close range at the far post.
Mackie almost added another three minutes later but his goal-bound attempt was deflected narrowly wide.
Reading improved marginally after the break – in front of a crowd of only 12,655, their lowest league gate of the season, but Kermorgant had no one in support when breaking clear.
QPR had chances to increase their lead but Liam Moore blocked a Sylla effort on the goal-line and Mackie shot tamely at home keeper Ali Al Habsi.
Reading did go close to an equaliser on a rare break but Kermorgant nodded against the bar from a free header from McCleary’s cross.
Kermorgant was narrowly off target with another header, from a Roy Beerens cross, but QPR held on with relative ease.
Richard Parry – Evening Standard
I set off on the Club coach and it wasn’t long before James Luck was passing on weather updates from the Reading area. However, upon arrival at the Madejski Stadium, it was pretty much clear of snow.
Well done Jamie Mackie, well done Ryan Manning, well done Darnell Furlong, well done Pawel Wszolek, and well done all. A well-deserved victory and a superb all-round team performance, against a side sitting in third place, who had won 8 out of their last 10 league games.
There was that song that continued for most of the time he was on….
‘He’s So Good, They Named Him Twice, LuaLua, LuaLua…..’
As we celebrated at the final whistle, the players clapped us, Birch was giving it large…we were as one.
Ryan Manning’s superb assist to Jamie Mackie looked even better when I got home and saw it close-up on Sky Sports from various angles.