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QPR 1-1 Fulham Cham 27 1617 - The Sun

last updated Monday 23rd January 2017, 2:40 PM

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Queens Park Ranger (1) 1-1 (0) Fulham

Fulham striker Chris Martin rescued Fulham in this feisty West London derby which saw R’s No2 Marc Bircham sent to the stands.

But Martin still became the THIRD Fulham player to miss a penalty this season against QPR.

The Scot, who had gone on strike to try and end his loan move from Derby, turned in Tom Cairney’s shot late on.

It chalked off the opener from whizkid Ryan Manning, who had netted his first senior goal to celebrate signing his new two-and-a-half-year contract this week.

The 20-year-old’s strike was after Martin had seen his spot-kick saved by Alex Smithies.

The penalty woe added to the misery of the reverse fixture in October which QPR somehow won 2-1 as Cairney and Sone Aluko both missed penalties.

The game turned ugly in the final minutes as Slavisa Jokanovic clashed with members of QPR’s dug-out in a rush to retrieve the ball – sparking a furious response by R’s assistant Bircham who was dismissed.

And that was before Cairney was lucky to escape a red card for pushing Manning to the floor, before a melee ensued.

The result kept extended Ian Holloway’s unbeaten run to four games while Jokanovic’s play-off-chasers gained a bit of ground on sixth-placed Sheffield Wednesday.

Holloway has been reshaping his squad since taking over in November, shipping out the lazy big-earners who don’t want to be there and handing opportunities to hungry kids like Manning.

And the R’s started like a train, with Idrissa Sylla and Jamie Mackie wasting early half-chances.

Yet inside six minutes, they had conceded a penalty as ref Keith Stroud deemed Jake Bidwell’s contact on Sone Aluko enough to point to the spot.

It was harsh to say the least, and arguably justice was done as Smithies excellently pushed away Martin’s low effort to his right.

Amazingly, it was the fourth penalty in the last five that Smithies has not conceded, while it meant that Fulham have missed SIX of their eight spot-kicks this campaign.

SunSport interviewed Tom Cairney in the build-up to the game and the creative midfielder revealed how the Fulham squad have been revelling in the fact that their football surpassed Barcelona last weekend.

Stats showed that Jokanovic’s side made more successful passes in their 2-0 win over Barnsley than Barca did in their 5-0 battering of Las Palmas.

So how ironic it was that their conceded the opener from a misplaced backpass.

Kevin McDonald, normally Fulham’s Mr Reliable at the base of midfield, got it horribly wrong as he tried to lay it back to his keeper but left the ball well short.

Manning, who shone in the recent win over Reading and making only his fourth senior appearance, nipped in and fired past David Button.

QPR had the ball in the net just past the hour but Stroud correctly deemed Sylla to have deliberately turned it in with his hand and was promptly booked.

Fulham have arguably been playing the best football in the Championship this year and they were not going to lie down – particularly with this being a local derby.

And eventually their superior style told as Martin expertly flicked in Cairney’s drive from the edge of the area on 76 minutes.

Aluko almost hit a winner moments later but his curler was brilliantly tipped over by Smithies.

While counterpart Button had to be at his best to deny sub Conor Washington’s low shot before Grant Hall headed over.

Frustrations boiled over at the death with Jokanovic’s scuffle with the opposite dugout which saw Bircham sent to the stands before the players clashed over Cairney’s push in the final moments.

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