QPR 1-0 West Brom: Substitute Charlie Austin scores last-minute winner

QPR 1-0 West Brom: Substitute Charlie Austin scores dramatic last-minute winner that sees home side leapfrog Baggies into fourth in Championship table

  • QPR pulled off a thrilling last-gasp escape to beat West Brom 1-0 on Saturday
  • Substitute Charlie Austin turned in from a header in the 89th minute for victory
  • The win sees QPR leapfrog the Baggies into fourth place in the Championship 

It just had to be him, didn’t it?

Here was a story of West Brom strikers past and and present. One debut, one reunion. In the end, it was Charlie Austin, rather than debutante Daryl Dike, that had the last laugh for what is three massive points in the race for the Premier League.

‘This division is fine margins and you can talk about tactics all you like,’ QPR boss Mark Warburton said.

Charlie Austin scored a dramatic late winner to see QPR to a 1-0 victory over West Brom

Substitute Austin got to Chris Willock’s cross to head in from very close range for victory

‘But you have to be together, have unity and find ways to win when it is tough. There’s a togetherness and you saw how much it meant to them.’

While this was a day belonging to Austin, let’s start with the present, the shiny new thing in a Baggies shirt, in January signing Dike.

On he came, just before the hour, to a huge gladiatorial roar from the away end that West Brom were shooting towards in the second half. Big, strong and with a goalscoring touch. It was the late Christmas present Albion fans had been crying out for.

And yet it was the familiar face of Austin that came off the bench to take centre stage in a nip-and-tuck night when he nodded home in the 90th minute. Cue pandemonium in west London.

A tight encounter saw few clear cut chances and the game looked to be heading for a draw


QPR 3-4-1-2: Marshall 7; Dickie 6, Dunne 6 Barbet 6.5; Adomah 7, Johansen 6.5, Field 6, Wallace 5.5; Willock 7 (Ball 90+3); Dykes 5, Gray 6 (Austin 64 7.5)

Subs not used: Amos, Thomas, Dozzell, Odubajo, Walsh 

Bookings: Dickie, Field

Goals: Austin 89 

Manager: Mark Warburton 7 

West Brom 3-4-3: Button 6; Furlong 7, Clarke 6, Townsend 6; Gardner-Hickman 6, Livermore 6, Molumby 5.5, Reach 6; Robinson 6.5, Phillips 5.5 (Dike 59), Grant 7

Subs not used: Diangana, De Catro, Taylor, Ashworth, Palmer, Fellows

Bookings: Molumby

Manager: Valerian Ismael 6 

Referee: Simon Hooper 6

Attendance: 16,018

Austin made his permanent exit from the Hawthorns at the start of the season and made a return to QPR without much fanfare. He started on the bench here, behind Andre Gray and Lyndon Dykes in the pecking order for this one.

‘Charlie Austin, he left because you’re s**t,’ sang the away end. But when Mark Warburton turned to him with QPR in desperate need of a goal, and with all eyes on Dike, Austin wore a wry smile. There was plenty of time to exact his revenge.

On he came with 64 minutes played, replacing Gray, and as West Brom turned the screw there he was to put a dagger in their promotion hopes.

Chris Willock drove purposely down the right wing and he had the composure, something that was in short supply for both sides on the day, to look up and lift a sumptuous cross towards Austin in the six-yard box.

It was a move that almost played out in slow motion, Austin, eyes glued to the ball, stole a yard on Matt Clarke and nodded in past a helpless David Button.

So much for Fulham’s six goals down the road, this was as important as any of those and Austin knew it, racing over to Warburton who he embraced in a bear hug.

Mission accomplished. QPR knew a win would take them above their opponents and while this was no classic for 89 minutes, Austin’s winner could prove to be absolutely massive.

West Brom were furious, not so much at the defending for the winner but more for a penalty not given five minutes prior when Conor Townsend was bundled over.

West Brom’s new signing Daryl Dike (left) made his debut, coming on for Matt Phillips (right)

‘It is a clear penalty, it’s clear,’ a bemused Valerien Ismael said. ‘This is the second one now, after Cardiff, and that could be six points. It could look totally different.’

Ismael believes Dike is about ‘two weeks in’ to this January ‘pre-season’ after arriving from Orlando City but nonetheless, this was not how the striker envisioned his Championship return.

With 59 minutes on the clock, with chances at a real premium, Valerian Ismael turned to Sammy Lee, exchanged a few words with his assistant before giving the nod to his bench in the direction of Dike.

In a hurry to make his mark, Dike almost transformed the game with his first touch, flicking on a header to send Callum Robinson through on goal, only for Yoann Barbet to make a last-ditch challenge.

Things got heated when Dike (No 12) put in a rough challenge on QPR’s Yoann Barbet

Next he picked out Karlan Grant on the break and Grant’s shot squirmed under goalkeeper David Marshall, who was making his QPR debut after arriving from Derby in the week, and rolled along the line. It was so close it was hard not to think one intake of breath from the 2,679 in the away end might have sucked it in.


All eyes were on Dike, who set Albion back a reported £7million, and it was his duel with Barbet that almost brought his afternoon to an abrupt halt.

Jostling for the ball near the dugouts, Dike was livid when a shoulder barge sent Barbet flying over the advertising hoarding and the decision went in favour of QPR. Home fans called for a red as Ismael raced on with flat palms, pleading with his new arrival to keep his cool.

This is a West Brom side that arrived winless in four, and with just two wins on the road from their last 10 league games. Nerves felt understandable. And then came the dagger, the proof that this blip is going to cost them if Ismael cannot get a tune out of Dike quickly.

Austin sat on the bench for an hour itching for just one chance and with moments left he got it. If anyone doubted QPR were serious about promotion, here was a statement that will be hard to ignore.

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