‘Experienced pro’ Charlie Austin has lifted QPR spirits – Mark Warburton
QPR boss Mark Warburton hailed the impact of striker Charlie Austin after the on-loan West Brom forward marked his second debut with the first goal in a 2-0 win at Luton
The 31-year-old was on the scoresheet some six years after his last strike for the R’s back in December 2015, nodding home a corner from close range.
It put QPR on their way to a first league win for 10 games, with Macauley Bonne adding the second late on.
Warbuton said: “Whenever you bring in an experienced pro like Charlie it always lifts the squad.
“The way he communicated to Lyndon (Dykes), the early partnership developed immediately and he just talked his way through the game.
“He’ll help all the players undoubtedly, but it’s a tough league and we’ve got to get him fit.
“His quality shone tonight early on and to get 60 minutes out of him is really pleasing.
“It’s three points, it’s a tough place to come Luton, they’re very good at home.
“They score goals freely, they’ve put good teams to the sword here, so we knew what we would face, but I thought we were very good in the first half.
“We controlled it, got the goal, but in truth should have had two or three more.
“Second half, they’re going to commit bodies forward, but we dropped off a little bit too deep and were on the back foot but were always going to break on the transition late in the game.
“I’m really pleased for the team, a tough place to come and a good three points.”
Austin pounced in the 38th minute, heading home when a corner was flicked on by Geoff Cameron.
A disappointing Luton side still had a glorious chance to level moments after half-time, leading scorer James Collins slicing wide when one-on-one.
The visitors came on strong again though, Bonne sealing all three points in the final minute after a break involving Albert Adomah.
Hatters boss Nathan Jones added: “It’s really disappointing, we started really well, front-footed, then for the rest of the first half we were really passive.
“We dropped right off, allowed them to do what they wanted with the football, no aggression, no pressure on the ball and that‘s been absolutely the polar opposite of how we’ve been here, and that’s been the really disappointing thing.
“Second half we came out, we wanted to step on to them, we went back to the original gameplan, and we did.
“We had a glorious chase straight away, we had a lot of opportunities in and around their box, without having the quality to punish them.
“Then we were hit by a sucker punch when we were chasing, but it’s really disappointing as this was a game we felt was a real opportunity.”