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Loftus Road (ATT 14,103) 20th December 2008 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: A Wiley

QPR Queens Park Rangers vs Preston North End Preston



R's see off plucky Preston

Blackstock on target as Lilywhites lose in London

Last Updated: 20/12/08 6:05pm

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Blackstock: Late winner

Blackstock: Late winner

Dexter Blackstock's 86th minute goal ensured Queens Park Rangers' play-off hunt is back on track with a 3-2 win over a plucky Preston North End side.

Paulo Sousa's side twice led through goals from Heidar Helguson, only for Preston to hit back in controversial circumstances.

Chris Sedgwick's effort cancelled out Helguson's opener, although the home fans were unhappy at the penalty award for Preston's second after Sean St Ledger was adjudged to have been fouled by Radek Cerny.

However, it mattered not as Blackstock's late winner ensured The R's claimed all three points from a five-goal thriller.

The hosts, who have been in fine form at home this season, almost went ahead inside the opening two minutes only to be denied by a superb double save from Andy Lonergan.

The goalkeeper hurled himself to his right to keep out Lee Cook's curling shot, and then managed to block the follow-up from former Preston striker Patrick Agyemang.

They took the lead after quarter of an hour when the impressive Cook swung in a cross from the left and Helguson darted in front of St Ledger and headed past Lonergan.

First meaningful attack

But 12 minutes later Preston hauled themselves level with their first meaningful attack.

Skipper Paul McKenna was given far too much space in the penalty area and he picked out Sedgwick, who planted a firm header past Cerny and into the corner of the net.

The visitors should have gone ahead moments later, but Youl Mawene blasted over the crossbar from close range following a corner.

And Rangers went back into the lead 10 minutes before half-time when Agyemang brought down Martin Rowlands' corner and Helguson prodded the loose ball over the line.

They almost had a third when Agyemang played in Cook, but the on-loan Fulham midfielder missed his kick in front of goal.

Good chance

After the break, Lonergan saved well from Cook and Agyemang, while Eddie Nolan skied a good chance for Preston.

But the game exploded in controversy on the hour when Wiley adjudged Cerny to have brought down St Ledger in the area despite not a single Preston player appealing for a foul.

After the protests from the hosts had died down, Davidson stepped up to thump the ball down the centre past the diving Cerny.

Substitute Mikele Leigertwood and Hogan Ephraim fizzed shots wide as Rangers went in search of a winner.

And the breakthrough came when Rowlands swung in a free-kick which Blackstock met with a glancing header to give Lonergan no chance.

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Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Middlesbrough 35 66
2 Derby County 35 65
3 Watford 35 65
4 Bournemouth 35 63
5 Norwich City 35 62
6 Brentford 35 61
7 Ipswich Town 35 60
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 35 57
9 Nottingham Forest 35 50
10 Blackburn Rovers 35 48
11 Sheffield Wednesday 35 46
12 Charlton Athletic 35 45
13 Birmingham City 35 45
14 Cardiff City 35 44
15 Leeds United 35 44
16 Huddersfield Town 35 42
17 Bolton Wanderers 35 41
18 Reading 35 41
19 Brighton and Hove Albion 35 40
20 Fulham 35 39
21 Rotherham United 35 37
22 Wigan Athletic 35 31
23 Millwall 35 31
24 Blackpool 35 22