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Loftus Road Stadium (ATT 14,079) 10th December 2010 - Kick off 19:45 Ref: D Deadman

QPR Queens Park Rangers vs Watford Watford

QPR 1

T Smith (89)

ft

Watford 3

D Graham (26, 48)
J Mutch (30)

Leaders stung by handy Hornets

Last Updated: 11/12/10 9:34am

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Graham (r): Bagged a brace at Loftus Road

Graham (r): Bagged a brace at Loftus Road

QPR's hot streak ground to a halt as the Championship leaders suffered a surprise 3-1 defeat to Watford at Loftus Road on Friday night.

A brace from Danny Graham, either side of Jordon Mutch's fortuitous strike, secured a surprise win for Watford as Rangers blew the chance to go seven points clear at the top.

There was a silver lining for manager Neil Warnock, though, after he promised early in the season to continue to wear shorts on the touchline until they lost their first league game.

The 62-year-old probably did not envisage he would still be bare-legged in mid-December, some 19 matches later.

But he can finally pack some warm trousers after watching Watford tear his side apart in front of the TV cameras at Loftus Road.

The hosts actually twice came close to opening the scoring in the first five minutes when Jamie Mackie shot inches wide and former Hornet Heidar Helguson's volley brought a fine save from Scott Loach.

Warnock's temperature rose considerably moments later when John Eustace appeared to handle a cross in the area but referee Darren Deadman was not interested.

Rangers survived a scare in the 11th minute when Will Buckley scampered through on goal but Paddy Kenny spread himself well to keep out the shot.

But the Hornets took a 26th-minute lead when Andrew Taylor overlapped down the left and his deflected cross fell at the feet of Graham to fire home.

Four minutes later the visitors were two up when Mutch's speculative curler deceived everyone, including Kenny, and ended up in the back of the net.

Rangers captain Adel Taarabt was having one of his more eccentric evenings, but he came close to pulling one back when his curling free-kick flew narrowly wide.

However, Rangers were indebted to a brave block from Clint Hill, who flung himself in front of another Mutch shot from eight yards out to keep the deficit to two just before the break.

But the Hornets did grab a third three minutes into the second half when, with Rangers appealing for an offside, Graham burst clear again and tucked his shot past Kenny.

It could have got worse for the hosts, with Shaun Derry heading another Mutch effort off the line with Kenny beaten and Graham somehow shooting over from underneath the crossbar.

Ex-Watford striker Tommy Smith sidefooted a consolation for the hosts with two minutes left but the Football League's only remaining unbeaten record had long since been shattered.

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Matches

Table

Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Bournemouth 21 39
2 Middlesbrough 21 39
3 Derby County 21 38
4 Ipswich Town 21 38
5 Brentford 21 37
6 Watford 21 35
7 Norwich City 21 33
8 Blackburn Rovers 21 31
9 Nottingham Forest 21 30
10 Charlton Athletic 21 30
11 Cardiff City 21 30
12 Wolverhampton Wanderers 21 30
13 Sheffield Wednesday 21 28
14 Fulham 21 25
15 Birmingham City 21 25
16 Reading 21 25
17 Huddersfield Town 21 24
18 Bolton Wanderers 21 23
19 Leeds United 21 23
20 Millwall 21 23
21 Rotherham United 21 21
22 Brighton and Hove Albion 21 18
23 Wigan Athletic 21 17
24 Blackpool 21 13