ON THE UP: QPR boss Harry Redknapp
QUEENS PARK RANGERS beat Birmingham City 1-0 to maintain their excellent start to life in the Championship.
The Hoops made a tentative start, in which they struggled to gain possession and make any impression as Birmingham passed the ball around neatly.
Six minutes into the game, Rangers' Junior Hoilett picked up the ball in his half and goes on a run. When he got into the box he shot but it was blocked.
Midway through first half new Ranger Charlie Austin hit a shot for the home team but it was just wide of Darren Randolph’s goal.
Moments later Birmingham were awarded a free kick, which was taken by Andrew Shinnie but Lee Novak’s header hit the post and rebounded back into play.
In the 32nd minute Austin had a gilt edged chance, but Dan Burn brilliantly blocked his shot.
With 10 minutes of the half remaining Birmingham had a chance to take the lead. They pressed the QPR defence into making a mistake and the ball fell to Shinnie who somehow missed the target inside the 18 yard box with the goal gaping.
Hoilett - who was QPR’s most creative player - had to be replaced by Matt Phillips due an injury.
Four minutes after the break, QPR took the lead. A shot hit the crossbar and rebounded nicely for Austin who could not miss from a yard out as he headed the ball in.
At the midway point of the second half Chris Burke twisted and turned his way into the Rangers box but his shot was blocked.
With 18 minutes of the game remaining Rangers should have been home and dry. Tom Carroll chased a loose ball and crossed to Austin, who could not keep his shot down and failed to hit the target.
In the dying minutes of normal time, Joey Barton tried an acrobatic scissors kick but Randolph comfortably saved his effort.
In stoppage time Barton was upended. He took the resultant free kick, which he curled past the Birmingham wall but his effort hit the post.
Although Birmingham dominated possession in the first half, they could not replicate it in the second and lacked a cutting edge.
As for QPR they have made an excellent start to life in the Championship as they have now accumulated 16 points in six games and are joint top with Blackpool.
However in Harry Redknapp’s programme notes he said: “Despite our excellent start we cannot get carried away.”
He also acknowledged that things were different compared to last season. “There’s a different feel about the place now, without a doubt. Just being on the training pitch, you can tell it’s a different football club.”