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Jimmy Dunne volley earns QPR last-gasp win over relegation rivals Birmingham

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 29 Mar 2024

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Jimmy Dunne’s sensational stoppage-time goal gave QPR a crucial 2-1 victory at home to fellow strugglers Birmingham which took them four points clear of the relegation zone.

Dunne headed on goalkeeper Asmir Begovic’s long kick and then, after Sinclair Armstrong had challenged Deon Sanderson, the defender controlled the loose ball near the edge of the penalty area and sent a spectacular left-footed volley into the top corner.

It consigned Blues to defeat in their first match since Gary Rowett’s return as interim boss.

Juninho Bacuna’s 62nd-minute goal had put the visitors within sight of a first win in seven games, but Steve Cook equalised three minutes later and Dunne’s late cracker gave Rangers the points.

Rowett, back at the club he played for and previously managed, will have been encouraged by a spirited performance, but the result means Birmingham remain above third–from-bottom Huddersfield only on goal difference.

QPR created a number of openings in the first half and almost went ahead when Kenneth Paal’s cross from the left just evaded Michael Frey and was nudged on to the bar by Lucas Andersen.

Danish playmaker Andersen also missed a great chance when he shot wide of the target from near the edge of the six-yard box after being found by Ilias Chair.

Another Chair delivery from the left led to Dunne’s header being saved by keeper John Ruddy, who also produced a fine stop to keep out Chair’s header from Chris Willock’s cross.

At the other end, Tyler Roberts sent an effort narrowly over and the home side survived a scare when Begovic had to scramble to clear after seemingly failing to anticipate Cook’s back-pass.

There was another let-off for the hosts early in the second half when Jay Stansfield shot wide of the near post from close range.

With his team needing some impetus, Rangers boss Marti Cifuentes made a change up front on the hour mark, sending on youngster Armstrong in place of the ineffective Frey.

But it was Birmingham who broke the deadlock. Bacuna played the ball to Ethan Laird on the right and collected the full-back’s return pass before firing into the top corner.

Rangers quickly hit back. Andersen’s lofted free-kick was headed down by Dunne and, after Birmingham were unable to clear their lines, Cook blasted home after his first effort had been blocked.

Cifuentes’ side should then have gone ahead when Willock volleyed over from eight yards out after Chair’s ball in from the left had been headed on by Cook and then Dunne.

However, they eventually found a winner, with Dunne the unlikely hero.

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