New Year, but no new dawn for Cardiff City. Their Christmas crumbling continues and the surprise Championship charge is fading.
Neil Warnock’s team have now lost four on the bounce, a barren run that has taken them out of the automatic promotion places.
Their manager spoke last week of how his team had outperformed expectations - but now they are glancing downwards again.
Cardiff City took the lead against QPR after 54 minutes when Joe Ralls scored a penalty
However Rangers target man Matt Smith powered an effort past Brian Murphy for 1-1
Paul Smyth scored the winner on his QPR debut, finishing an individual effort via a deflection
QPR (3-5-2): Smithies; Baptiste, Onuoha, Robinson; Cousins, Scowen, Luongo, Freeman, Bidwell (Lynch 85); Smyth (Oteh 77), Smith
Unused subs: Lumley, Chair, Osayi-Samuel, Sylla, Wszolek
Goals: Smith 62, Smyth 72
Bookings: Smyth 70, Freeman 90+3
Cardiff City (3-4-1-2): Murphy; Manga, Bamba, Connolly; Paterson, Peltier (Damour 58), Ralls, Bennett; Zohore; Healy (Mendez-Laing 67), Hoilett
Unused subs: Etheridge, Richards, Halford, Pilkington, Tomlin
Goal: Ralls pen 54
Bookings: Connolly 18, Peltier 50
Referee: Tim Robinson
This latest stumble, a defeat at Queens Park Rangers, saw the manager make five changes but find little hope of a solution to the current malaise.
Cardiff went ahead through Joe Ralls’ penalty, but then proceeded to collapse to goals from Matt Smith and debutant Paul Smyth.
The joy in 20-year-old former Linfield forward’s face as he wheeled away in celebration was in stark contrast to the visitors’ mood: dour with very little festive cheer to speak of.
They even had a late equaliser ruled out for offside. The fumes from a premature smoke bomb in the away end drifted into the west London sky. Cardiff must hope that was not a metaphor for