Kyle McFadzean headed home his first goal for Coventry City to hand Mark Robins’s a brilliant first Championship victory in eight long years.
The stand-in skipper, who conceded a first half penalty to hand QPR the lead, turned hero to add to goals from Matty Godden and Callum O’Hare in a pulsating opening game at St Andrew’s
City struggled to impose themselves in the opening half when the Rs dominated with close to 70 per cent possession, moving the ball about the pitch a speed as they looked for an early advantage.
But for all their dominance of the ball, the visitors were gifted the lead when McFadzean conceded a penalty in the 40th minute, leaving Lyndon Dykes to slam home from 12 yards.
Coventry, however, got themselves back on level terms little more than three minutes later when Ryan Giles made a terrific run to the byline and sent in a deep cross to the back post where the unmarked Matty Godden beat the keeper with a downwards header that bounced over the line.
Callum O’Hare then gave Mark Robins’s men the lead early in the second half, wriggling free in the box and hitting a cool finish past the keeper as the Sky Blues finally began to impose themselves on the opposition.
City then conceded from a late set piece for the second league game running, allowing Yoan Berbet to hit a rising and powerful finish at the far post from an Ilias Chair corner.
But the players’ never-say-die spirit shone through as McFadzean popped up with a late header to secure a brilliant victory.
STARTING FORMATION: 3-4-2-1
MARKO MAROSI: 7.5
Despite Rangers’ early dominance, the keeper only had two shots to deal with in the first 45 minutes – both of which were straight at him – before finally being beaten from the penalty spot. Kicked well, including a superb 60 yard pass to send Giles on the attack.
LEO OSTIGARD: 8.5
Impressive in the air, the Brighton loan man had a busy night, defending stoutly for long periods. Again a threat at set-pieces, the Norwegian displaying his excellent leap
KYLE McFADZEAN: 9
Dominant and organising in the middle of the back three, the experienced head had to be on top of his game to keep Rangers at bay, which he did admirably for the first 39 minutes. But the stand-in skipper conceded the penalty with a foul on chief dangerman Osayi-Samuel. Scored a brilliant winner with his head – his first for the club.
DOM HYAM: 8.5
Had his work cut out helping Ryan Giles keep tabs on leggy wide man Osayi-Samuel but defended superbly throughout to help protect Marosi’s goal and see out the win.
FANKATY DABO: 8.5
Thrown in for his first Championship start, the fans’ favourite competed well on a difficult night for the Sky Blues. Got forward more after the break when he sent in the ball for O’Hare to score.
GUSTAVO HAMER: 7.5
Struggled to make his influence felt in the first half when the visitors were in firm control but began to dictate the play more after the break when City finally came to life.
JORDAN SHIPLEY: 7.5
Worked his socks off in the middle of the park doing his level best to win possession and more than played his part in a much improved second half when City started to assert their authority.
RYAN GILES: 8.5
Forced to defend for long periods early on as QPR took the game to City from the first whistle but once again showed his threat going forward when he raced to the byline and sent in an inch perfect cross for Godden to score. Terrific outlet on the left and nice balance to Dabo’s threat on the right.
JAMIE ALLEN: 7.5
Spent most of the first half pressing and chasing shadows, defending from the front but was a real threat after the break with some impressive and clever running.
CALLUM O’HARE: 8.5
A frustrating first half for the exciting forward who spent more time tracking back than attacking but showed brilliant quick feet in the box and cool head to slot home to give City the early second half lead.
MATTY GODDEN: 8.5
Like the rest of his team-mates, forced to put in a real shift off the ball as Rangers bossed the ball but popped up with a brilliant downward far post header from a Ryan Giles’ cross to pull City level before the break.
BEN SHEAF (89 mins, for Shipley): 6
Helped see out the game.
Subs (not used): Tom Billson (GK), Michael Rose, Brandon Mason, Josh Pask, Amadou Bakayoko, Tyler Walker.
QPR (4-2-3-1): Joe Lumley; Osman Kakay, Rob Dickie, Yoan Barbet, Lee Wallace; Geoff Cameron, Tom Carroll (71 mins, for Paul Smyth); Bright Osayi-Samuel, Luke Amos (82 mins, for Dominic Ball), Ilias Chair (82 mins, for George Thomas); Lyndon Dykes.
Subs (not used): Liam Kelly (GK), Todd Kane, Conor Masterson, Aramide Oteh.
SKY BLUES: Godden (44), O’Hare (50), McFadzean (85)
QPR: Dykes (40 mins, pen), Barbet (76)
REFEREE: Stephen Martin
NEXT UP: Barnsley (A), Saturday, September 26 (3pm).