EVERTON 3 QUEENS PARK RANGERS 1
ENCOURAGED QPR boss Harry Redknapp refused to condemn his side’s performance despite slumping to an eighth successive Premier League away defeat against Everton at Goodison Park last night.
The Hoops are the only team in England yet to record a point on the road this term and an exquisite strike from Ross Barkley together with goals from Kevin Mirallas and Steven Naismith rendered Bobby Zamora’s late intervention nothing more than a consolation.
Victory ended Everton’s run of three winless top-flight matches as Roberto Martinez’s side moved 10th, while defeat keeps QPR firmly ensconced in the relegation mire, one place and one point adrift of 17th-placed Burnley.
Three home games in their next four fixtures, against West Brom, Crystal Palace and Swansea, could provide welcome respite for Redknapp, who will be able to call on the services of eight-goal top scorer Charlie Austin at this weekend following a one-match suspension.
“I thought we got on the front foot, pressed them well and worked hard. I felt we deserved more than we got from the game, I really did,” said Redknapp.
“[First-team coach] Glenn Hoddle was sat upstairs and he said he was looking that way [towards the attacking third] tonight when, especially in the early away games, he was looking at us defending nearly all half.
“We were disappointed to come in 2-0 down and I’m sure Roberto [Martinez] will look at that first half and think they didn’t actually do an awful lot to be two up. I felt they got the breaks at the right time.”
Everton opened the scoring in the 33rd minute when Ross Barkley exchanged passes with Romelu Lukaku, progressed to the edge of the box and rifled left-footed into the top corner to open his season’s account.
The hosts doubled their lead shortly before the break when Mirallas’s whipped free-kick was inadvertently deflected into the opposite corner of his own goal by Eduardo Vargas.
The omens were not good for QPR. Everton have never lost in the Premier League while leading by two goals at half time and the Toffees effectively settled matters when Naismith’s header was forced over the line by retreating centre-half Nedum Onuoha.
QPR pulled a goal back with 10 minutes remaining, Zamora stabbing home his first goal since May’s play-off final at Wembley after Everton stopper Tim Howard parried Jordan Mutch’s initial attempt – QPR’s first away goal of the season not scored by Austin.