Loftus Road was the venue for a game in which both teams of late had struggled to fine consistency. Ian Holloway had taken over at QPR in November but his side had only won 1 in 6 and were struggling to find there form home or away. As for Steve Bruce at Aston Villa things had started rather better for his team having won 4 out of 5 at home but a recent dip had seen them win 2 in 5.
The game started at a slow tempo with Qpr making the early running, with Conor Washington going down under a clumsy challenge from Villa’s left back Jordan Amavi but no spot kick was awarded from referee Geoff Eltringham who incidentally had awarded a remarkable 8 penalties in his last 8 games. However he was true to form in the 33rd minute when he pointed to the spot as Jonathan Kodja was fouled in the Rangers penalty area under a pull of his shirt form James Bidwell. Kodja chose his normal right bottom corner but Alex Smithies in goal for the Hoops was equal to it and saved and the rebound when went wide of the Rangers goal.
One change for Rangers at the start of the 2nd half saw Conor Washington replaced by Idrissa Sylla. The second half started very disjointed from both sides with misplaced passes and frequent games of head tennis quietening both sets of supporters to a groan or two. An over hit free kick on the edge of the Villa box by Chery didn’t help either. QPR, as in the main in the first half, made most of the running but as with there opponents today were guilty of awful decisions in the final third leaving everyone frustrated. Kodja then with Villas real first chance saw his right foot low shot saved by Smithies, two corners then followed resulting in another save by Smithies forcing another corner in which Hall nearly took Jedinak’s shirt from his back as the ball came in but nothing doing from the referee’s point of view. Numerous offside decisions saw all of Villa’s attacks falter and a Kodja volley from a Jordan Amavi cross-shot went high and wide.
Ross McCormack’s lack lustre display was duly ended when he was replaced by Agbonlahor in the 71st minute with a view from Steve Bruce of adding a little more pace and intent into Villa’s attacks. In the 75th minute the game changed for Villa when Kodja’s tireless work paid off when he wriggled free of the Ranges defender and smashed home a right footed bullet which went through Smithies and into the net to put Villa ahead. Kodja was then replaced with his work done in the 83rd by Rudy Gestede. A good performance from the Villa striker doing everything you need your striker to do in a game and Villa will be relying on him to keep scoring throughout the remainder of the season.
So a 0-1 scoreline was to be enough for Aston Villa which lifts them up to 13th in the Championship just 6 points off the Play-Off’s going into the Christmas fixtures. QPR are an improving side but drop to 19th.