Hatters' wretched run against bogey side QPR continues as visitors hit back in the second half to triumph

Championship: Luton Town 1 QPR 2

By Mike Simmonds
Sunday, 13th March 2022, 3:21 pm
Updated Tuesday, 15th March 2022, 1:02 pm
Jordan Clark nips in to win the ball for Luton
Jordan Clark nips in to win the ball for Luton

Luton's wretched record against QPR was painfully extended at Kenilworth Road this afternoon as the visitors ran out 2-1 winners in a contest the Hatters can feel massively hard done by not to have picked up at least a deserved point from.

After a run of just one league victory in their last 21 meetings against their west London opponents, it had looked like Town would finally put that to bed, leading 1-0 at half time through Cameron Jerome's strike.

However, the visitors equalised through former Luton striker Andre Gray's penalty early in the second half, and won it late on when Rob Dickie flicked home from a corner as the Hatters also lost a game at home under Nathan Jones when opening the scoring for the first time since November 2016 when beaten 3-1 by Portsmouth in League Two.

Jones had made four changes to the side that won 1-0 at Coventry City on Tuesday night, James Shea fit enough to take his place in goal, meaning the end of Alex Palmer's emergency loan deal from West Bromwich Albion.

Kal Naismith, Allan Campbell and Jerome all returned too, as Dan Potts, Luke Berry and Harry Cornick dropped to the bench.

Town made a bright start, with the recalled Campbell showing his confidence to have a go from range, David Marshall gathering low down, before on eight minutes he was sprung by a clever Jordan Clark touch, slicing wide from a decent position.

Jones was forced into an early change on 15 minutes, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu appearing to injure himself and despite trying to continue, had to make way for Henri Lansbury.

Rangers went close themselves, Moses Odubajo having a crack from outside the box and Shea shovelling away from danger.

Town thought they had the lead on 25 minutes when a glorious spin and through-ball by Clark saw Adebayo go through and cheekily poke past Marshall, but unfortunately the offside flag was raised, Luton's top scorer going a fraction too early.

Campbell then had his blushes spared by the linesman as Naismith's cross was met by Adebayo, Marshall making a stunning reaction save from point blank range and the midfielder heading wide of an open goal from two yards, although it wouldn't have counted, his team-mate once more caught well offside.

There was no need to worry about the officials on 37 minutes though as Bree's cross rebounded out to Jerome, whose snapshot from 22 yards should have been stopped by Marshall, the Scottish international getting a good hand to it, but unable to prevent it finding the net.

Town almost had a second when Adebayo's knock back found Clark who saw his two efforts charged down.

QPR were lucky to not start the second period with 10 men as a frustrated Ilias Chair raised his hands to Tom Lockyer on the stroke of half time, but despite being called back by referee Josh Smith, he somehow escaped with a yellow.

Luton should have extended their lead within a minute of the restart, Campbell teed up on the edge of the box, his shot too close to Marshall who was able to beat it away.

The Hatters were pegged back on 55 minutes somewhat against the run of play too, as with the hosts just starting to look a little sloppy at the back, Naismith needlessly slid in on Gray inside the area for a penalty that the forward coolly converted, not celebrating the leveller.

Jones threw on Cornick for the final 15 minutes as he looked to try and get the winner, as picked out by Lansbury's excellent pass, he was blocked off, Bell firing into the side-netting.

However, the visitors then won it with eight to go when a corner from the left by Chris Willock was flicked into the net by Rob Dickie for Rangers to win it.

Late sub Robert Snodgras put his curler too close to Marshall as the hosts, who started the day with the chance of going fourth, ended up slipping down to seventh.

Hatters: James Shea, James Bree, Amari'i Bell, Tom Lockyer, Reece Burke, Kal Naismith, Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu (Henri Lansbury 15), Allan Campbell, Jordan Clark (Robert Snodgrass 81), Cameron Jerome (Harry Cornick 74), Elijah Adebayo.

Subs not used: Harry Isted, Luke Berry, Dan Potts, Fred Onyedinma.

Rangers: David Marshall, Lee Wallace, Rob Dickie, Yann Barbet, Stefan Johansen ©, Ilias Chair (Charlie Austin 60), Sam Field, Andre Gray (Chris Willock 78), Jimmy Dunne, Moses Odubajo, Jeff Hendrick (Luke Amos 74).

Subs not used: Sam McCallum, Andre Dozzell, Albert Adomah, Murphy Mahoney.

Booked: Chair 45, Barbet 86, Wallace 90.

Referee: Josh Smith.

Attendance: 10,073 (1,032 QPR).