Premier League: QPR claim vital 3-1 victory over Sunderland in relegation fight
By Graeme Bailey - Tweet me: @graemebailey. Last Updated: 09/03/13 8:16pm
Andros Townsend: Scored stunning goal against Sunderland
Queens Park Rangers secured a precious second win in succession after coming from behind to claim a 3-1 victory over Sunderland at Loftus Road.
Harry Redknapp's side secured their first back-to-back wins since they returned to the top-flight in 2011.
Sunderland had gone ahead midway through the first half when Steven Fletcher side-footed home from close range, but that lead lasted just 10 minutes with Loic Remy firing home.
The win came courtesy of two more of Redknapp's January signings. They went ahead with 20 minutes left as Andros Townsend, on-loan from Tottenham, brilliantly fired home a left-footed half-volley from 25 yards into the corner of the net.
Best of the Match:
- Man of the Match: Andros Townsend grabbed a stunning goal and had hand in the opener to take the honours. Junior Hoilett was also very good.
- Goal of the Match: Townsend's strike was a brilliant half-volley from long range.
- Move of the Match: Sunderland's opener was excellent as Fletcher's back-heel fed Sessegnon on the counter.
- Talking point: Is the Great Escape on for Harry's men?
The three points were sealed as substitute Jermaine Jenas, another arrival from Spurs, smashed home from edge of the box.
The win means QPR remain bottom, but they are now level on points with Reading and still four points from safety, while Sunderland are just a further three points better off.
Rangers had been the better side throughout the opening 45 minutes with Junior Hoilett in fine fettle. The opening chance came for him just four minutes in when he skipped into the box before lashing his shot just wide.
The former Blackburn star then struck another effort across goal as Sunderland struggled to contain him. He almost turned provider just moments later too, but his ball into the six-yard box was tantalisingly just too strong for Bobby Zamora to make a connection with.
Suddenly, and very much against the run of play, Sunderland were ahead and it was a brilliant counter attack.
Fletcher started the move with a back-heel to find Stephane Sessegnon - he drove into the box and crossed to the unmarked Adam Johnson, who fired the ball into the six-yard box where Fletcher had arrived to side-foot home from close range.
Danny Graham headed over from just eight yards out not long after as QPR stirred themselves and were level on the half-hour as Townsend's shot deflected off John O'Shea and into the path of Remy, who made no mistake in beating Simon Mignolet.
QPR could and should have been ahead before the break but Remy volleyed over, whilst Mignolet was forced to save from Zamora and Stephane M'Bia.
Sunderland had the opening chance of the second half as Johnson fizzed a shot just over the crossbar. The ineffective Graham was replaced by Danny Rose which saw the away side alter their system and they looked better for it.
However, it was QPR who claimed the crucial third goal of the contest and it was a special strike. Fletcher's clearance came to Townsend 25 yards from goal, he took it on his chest, allowed it to bounce before striking an exquisite left-footed strike beyond the helpless Mignolet.
The Belgian was again powerless in the final minute when another Sunderland clearance fell for Rangers, this time Jenas - who smashed it into the bottom corner to seal the win.
Rangers boss Harry Redknapp was delighted with the win, and he hailed his team's performance - but he insists that they need to continue this run if they want to survive.
Redknapp eyes run of results
"It was a good performance to come from 1-0 down," he told Sky Sports.
"I felt we didn't deserve to be one down as we started well with a good tempo, we passed the ball well - better than I have seen us play since I came here, in an attacking sense.
"It was a good team performance, but we have to do that week in, week out and we have to have a real run of results like that if we are to get out of this, we need 36 or 37 points and that six points in two games has made a real difference to us."
O'Neill - We have a fight on our hands
Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill, meanwhile, recognised his side are in danger of being dragged into the relegation places ahead of games against Norwich City and Manchester United.
He said: "It's a tough old set of fixtures for us between now and the end of the season. We need to get some points on the board.
"The players in the dressing room are disappointed but we're looking to respond as we have done before. It's a big game next week."
Barclays Premier League
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QPR v Sunderland
Martin O'Neill knows Sunderland must fight to be sure they do not get dragged into the relegation places.
Following their defeat to QPR in the Premier League. Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill admits his side still need to battle to secure their Premier League status for next season.
Paul Merson says Harry Redknapp will have been targeting back-to-back wins and now have a good chance of Premier League survival.