QPR 1 Brighton 2: Chris Hughton's side on the brink of promotion thanks to late rearguard

Sam Dean
The Telegraph
Brighton's Sebastien Pocognoli celebrates scoring at Loftus Road  - Rex Features
Brighton's Sebastien Pocognoli celebrates scoring at Loftus Road  - Rex Features

And so the baton passes back to Brighton. At times this Championship season has resembled more of a relay than a title race, with Brighton and Newcastle taking turns to lead the way, but with each passing week Chris Hughton’s side move closer to the promised land.

This victory takes them back to the summit of the table, and 12 points clear of third-placed Huddersfield. The Premier League surely awaits for a side that once again showed they can dig deep when it is required of them.

Goals from Glenn Murray and Sebastien Pocognoli secured the three points, while a desperate defensive rearguard ensured victory did not slip away at the death.

The second-half drama came despite a scrappy, stodgy start to the game, into which even the returning Ravel Morrison failed to inject any magic.

Making his first start since rejoining QPR on loan from Lazio, Morrison remains as fleet-footed as he was when he briefly lit up the Premier League for West Ham United, but it would be a serious understatement to say the 24-year-old has been in better shape, and he soon tired.

<span>Brighton's travelling fans celebrate closing in on promotion</span> <span>Credit: Rex Features </span>
Brighton's travelling fans celebrate closing in on promotion Credit: Rex Features

His side was up for a fight, though, and limited Brighton to shooting from range before eventually coming under sustained pressure. Twice Brighton put the ball in the net, through Murray and then Tomer Hemed, but twice they were denied by the linesman’s flag.

The breakthrough came shortly after the break, when Hemed set Murray free to bury his 21st goal of the season. Their lead was doubled barely five minutes later, as Sebastien Pocognoli whipped the the most aesthetically pleasing of free-kicks into the top corner.

As the game looked set to turn into a procession, QPR’s giant striker Matt Smith headed in from a corner to set the nerves jangling in the Brighton end, but they clung on. The end is in sight.


QPR (3-4-1-2): Smithies; Onuoha, Hall, Lynch (Sylla 77); Perch, Luongo, Manning, Robinson (Ngbakoto); Morrison (Freeman 66); Smith, Washington

Substitutes: Ingram (g), Bidwell, Goss, Wszolek

Brighton (4-4-2): Stockdale; Bruno, Huenemeier, Dunk (Tomori 45), Pocognoli; Knockaert (Norwood 83), Sidwell, Stephens, March; Murray, Hemed (Murphy 78)

Substitutes: Maenpaa (g), Skalak, Forren, Akpom

Bookings: Pocognoli

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