Soccer

QPR edge out toothless Swansea to ease relegation fears

Steve Cook’s goal settled the contest in south Wales.

Steve Cook’s goal sank Swansea .
Steve Cook Steve Cook’s goal sank Swansea . (Bradley Collyer/PA)

QPR took a giant stride towards Championship safety with a smash-and-grab 1-0 win over Swansea in south Wales.

A 71st-minute goal by centre-back Steve Cook was enough for the Hoops to secure their fifth win in eight games and move six points clear of relegation trouble.

While Marti Cifuentes’ men struggled for a foothold in the game after a promising start, the result was all that mattered with just six matches left.

Swansea dictated the tempo for almost the entire match but paid the price for their bluntness in the final third.

Luke Williams’ side went into this clash having lost just once in their last six outings.

They remain well clear of danger, a point above their opponents, but victory here would have all but dispelled any lingering fears of the drop.

Rangers were bright and full of running in the opening 10 minutes.

Striker Lyndon Dykes twice came close to converting crosses which flashed across the Swans penalty box.

Morocco international Ilias Chair should have done far better in the 12th minute when set free down the left flank, his tame attempt at finding Dykes cut out by goalkeeper Carl Rushworth.

The home side grew more into the game as the first half progressed.

They came close to the opening goal when a fizzing Josh Tymon cross was volleyed just over his own bar by Rangers centre-half Jake Clarke-Salter.

While Swansea began to dominate possession and territory, Rangers fashioned the best opportunity in the 36th minute.

Swans defender Harry Darling squandered possession on halfway, allowing Chair to launch a counter-attack.

Midfielder Joe Hodge’s first effort on goal was blocked, but the Swans failed to clear and only escaped when Chair’s weak effort from six yards hit Darling on the goal-line.

Tymon stung the palms of QPR goalkeeper Asmir Begovic with a 20-yard volley just before half-time, but neither side could force a breakthrough before the interval.

The hosts increased the pressure during the early second-half exchanges and should have been ahead before the hour mark.

Swansea captain Matt Grimes hit the bar with a beautifully struck free-kick before midfielder Ollie Cooper scuffed a gilt-edged chance from 15 yards.

The Hoops sat deeper as the clock ticked down, looking content to take a point.

The Swans continued to knock on the door, but they found a clinical edge in the final third elusive.

Then, with 20 minutes remaining, they were hit by a classic sucker punch.

QPR, ever more reliant on the pace of substitute striker Sinclair Armstrong, won a corner from a rare attack.

Lucas Andersen’s deep delivery was headed back across goal by full-back Jimmy Dunne for unmarked Cook to plant a side-foot volley into the net.

Swansea threatened an equaliser without creating anything clear cut to complete a desperately frustrating day for the hosts.