Super-sub Lyndon Dykes helped QPR go second in the Championship with a 2-0 win over Coventry City at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium this afternoon.
Dykes was introduced into the fray in the 67th minute and broke the deadlock less than a minute later, with Yoann Barbet doubling their lead eight minutes later.
Mark Robins’ side had looked bright in the first half but they were undone by two goals in quick succession from the R’s, who continue their unbeaten start to the season.
Mark Warburton made six changes from the side that beat Oxford United in midweek, while the visitors made just the one from the XI that were victorious against Reading last week.
Seny Dieng was among the players to return and the first of the two goalkeepers forced into a save after five minutes when Ian Maatsen lashed a shot from a tight angle after a quick breakaway.
That effort seemed to spark the visitors into life and Robins’ side had a string of chances in the proceeding few minutes but some heroic blocks and another save from Dieng ensured things stayed level.
Their hosts were not without dangerous raids forward of their own in a breathless opening 15 minutes though a long-range Rob Dickie strike in the opening stages, which flew high and wide for once, was their best chance of the period.
From the start, it looked as though Dickie’s duel with Coventry forward Viktor Gyokeres could be pivotal and the Swedish striker proved to be perhaps the R’s star defender’s toughest battle of the season so far in the first half.
The game calmed after a frenzied opening 20 minutes but we nearly had an opener just past the half-hour mark when Ilias Chair produced a moment of magic that would’ve given his side the lead were it not for a flying Simon Moore, who tipped his whipped free-kick over the bar.
Summer signing Martyn Waghorn is still without a goal for Coventry and that record should’ve been put right inside the last five minutes of the half but Callum O’Hare was uncharacteristically sloppy and sent his low cross off the back rather than to his teammate waiting unmarked at the back post.
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In the opening seconds of the second half, it was Dieng’s turn to deny Waghorn’s pursuit of a first goal, pushing the striker’s powerful shot over the top after O’Hare had slipped him through.
Chances were hard to come by for both sides as the half wore on and by the hour mark, Robins had seen enough as he threw on Tyler Walker and Matt Godden in place of Gyokeres and Waghorn.
Warburton responded by replacing Chair with Dykes and the Scottish forward made an instant impact, batting to win a corner and then firing his side into the lead after finding himself in space at the top of the box from the resulting set-piece.
The corner was headed away but recycled by the R’s and Dykes produced a classy touch and outside of the boot finish, which shaped away from the diving Moore and into the bottom corner.
The home support didn’t have to wait long for a second as eight minutes later Barbet hammered a ferocious strike from deep before chasing his effort into the box and grabbing his first goal of the season from the resulting goalmouth scramble.
That destructive eight-minute period proved the difference between the two sides in the end, in a result that sees the R’s rise to second and Coventry drop out of the top six.
FULL TIME: QPR 2-0 Coventry City