EFL

QPR beat Preston to all but secure safety as Lyndon Dykes ends goal drought

By Sports Desk April 20, 2024

QPR beat Preston 1-0 at Loftus Road to all but secure Championship safety as Lyndon Dykes ended his goal drought with a first-half winner.

Scotland striker Dykes pounced at the far post after keeper Freddie Woodman spilled Chris Willock’s cross to net his first QPR goal in 16 matches and only his fifth in the league this season.

Victory took Rangers to 50 points, six clear of the relegation zone with two matches of the campaign remaining, but their superior goal difference means the win almost certainly keeps them up.

Results elsewhere earlier on Saturday meant Marti Cifuentes’ side kicked off knowing that a win would effectively end fears of dropping into League One.

They started in determined fashion, with Lucas Andersen firing wide and both Dykes and Ilias Chair shooting well over.

A period of Preston pressure followed and Liam Millar was denied at point-blank range by Rangers keeper Asmir Begovic after exchanging passes with Ben Woodburn.

QPR were suddenly struggling, but were gifted a goal after 20 minutes.

Willock cut in from the left and delivered a cross which seemed like a routine take for Woodman, who inexplicably fumbled the ball to the grateful Dykes.

Woodman somewhat atoned by preventing a Rangers second, diving to his left to push away Willock’s fierce strike.

However, the North End keeper was guilty of another error shortly afterwards when he fumbled Andersen’s corner, but Jake Clarke-Salter’s attempt to force in the loose ball was blocked and Preston managed to scramble it clear.

As Rangers continued to threaten, Dykes won the ball in midfield and was sent through by Chair, but opted to shoot early rather than continue towards goal and his effort went harmlessly wide of the target.

Preston had another let-off in the opening minutes of the second half when Dykes and Kenneth Paal were just unable to get a decisive touch to Willock’s low cross from the right.

The visitors rode their luck again when R’s defender Steve Cook scuffed a shot wide after Preston had failed to deal with Andersen’s corner, and when Woodman flapped at another Andersen corner and his defenders were able to clear.

It was certainly a day to forget for the hapless Woodman, although he did manage to parry headers from Chair and Sam Field before QPR appealed in vain for a penalty when Chair’s cross hit Jordan Storey’s hand.

Preston threatened in the closing stages but the hosts defended well and Cifuentes can now almost allow himself to celebrate a job well done.

Rangers were second bottom of the table, six points from safety and had lost six matches in a row when the Spaniard took over as boss at the end of October following the sacking of Gareth Ainsworth.

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