Match report: QPR 2-1 Huddersfield

Charlie Austin grabbed the winner. Photo: PA

A Charlie Austin double fired QPR back into the automatic promotions places at Loftus Road.

QPR’s top scorer had seen his 54th minute opener cancelled out by Huddersfield’s record signing Nahki Wells, but Austin headed home with 12 minutes remaining to help Rangers leapfrog his former club Burnley.

Following some tense opening exchanges, the match burst into life after five minutes.

Olivier Norwood’s simple through ball split QPR’s defence open, but Danny Ward could only scuff his effort past Rob Green’s post.

Andy Johnson headed across goal from Niko Kranjcar’s corner moments later, while a powerful Norwood free-kick was pushed over impressively by Green.

Benoit Assou Ekotto floated a cross into the box, which Anthony Gerrard could only head back towards Gary O'Neill after 15 minutes. Fortunately for Gerrard, the former West Ham midfielder blazed his effort into the upper tier.

Huddersfield set up with a 3-5-2 formation, and the opposing styles made for an exciting encounter.

The away supporters rose to their feet on 18 minutes when Jonathan Hogg found space in the area; only to see the midfielder’s weak goal-bound shot comfortably saved.

Midway through the first half, Niko Kranjcar fed Andy Johnson – making only his seventh league start of the season – and he blasted straight at Smithies from a tight angle.

QPR have never lost with Johnson in the starting line-up this season, but they were fortunate to be level when Huddersfield missed a glorious chance in the 26th minute.

Paul Dixon found acres of space down the left flank and fed Adam Hamill, but his low cross fell straight into Rob Green's arms via Daniel Ward.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto fired wildly over with Charlie Austin unmarked inside the penalty box after half hour, and three minutes later the home side should have been in front.

Nakhi Wells scored on his first start for Huddersfield. Credit: PA

Charlie Austin headed Niko Kranjcar's corner onto the bar and Huddersfield could only clear as far as Karl Henry, whose guided header also came back off the bar.

Matt Phillips replaced Gary O’Neill during the interval and Huddersfield’s top scorer James Vaughan returned from injury in Daniel Ward’s place five minutes into the second-half.

But it was QPR who took the lead four minutes later.

Clint Hill's long ball was headed on towards Andy Johnson by Niko Kranjcar, and the Croatian international nodded the ball into Charlie Austin's path.

QPR’s top scorer held off his marker to fire an unstoppable shot into the top corner and bag his 12th league goal of the season.

Huddersfield hit back on 68 minutes when Adam Hammill's cross was headed into the far corner by record signing Nahki Wells, making his first start since joining the club for £1.3m.

Harry Redknapp considered signing Wells this month before deciding that Bradford’s asking price was too much of a risk and focusing on other targets.

With fifteen minutes remaining, Matt Phillips powered forward in search of a winning goal, but somehow failed to find a team-mate in the penalty box.

Moments later, Phillips again found space on the right and his powerful shot was pushed away by Smithies.

From the resulting corner, QPR took the lead for a second time in the match.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto’s in swinging ball was headed in by Charlie Austin with Smithies left stranded on his line.

Rob Green comfortably collected James Vaughan’s header in injury time, as QPR saw out the final ten minutes with relative ease.

The Super Hoops leapfrog Burnley into second spot and remain five points behind leaders Leicester. Huddersfield drop to 13th, seven points adrift of the play-off places.