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Luongo looks on QPR put four past Blues

Press Association logoPress Association 18/02/2017

Socceroos midfielder Massimo Luongo was an used substitute as Matt Smith inspired QPR to a 4-1 success at struggling Birmingham while a double from Sam Baldock fired Brighton to the top of the Championship with a 2-0 win at Barnsley.

The 196cm striker put Rangers on the road to victory with a first-half goal - his first strike since September.

Smith, who only joined Rangers last month from Fulham, was a persistent threat in a win which was sealed by a 46th-minute goal from Conor Washington and two more by Idrissa Sylla and Yeni Ngbakoto in the final 10 minutes.

Manager Ian Holloway was delighted with a vital morale-boosting win which eases their relegation fears but it was another sad defeat for a Birmingham side who have now collected only six points from a possible 36 under Gianfranco Zola.

Birmingham went into the game showing five changes from the side beaten at Preston, with Craig Gardner suspended, and the disruption was always evident.

But it was the hosts who carved out the best opening to go ahead. Jerome Sinclair whipped over a cross but Emilio Nsue was unable to make a clean contact from a few yards and the ball bounced wide.

Smith's threat was evident when he cleverly lobbed Birmingham goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak but Ryan Shotton was on the line to prevent Rangers going ahead.

The persistent Smith, however, could not be denied as he put Rangers ahead in the 19th minute, rising high and unchallenged to head home Luke Freeman's corner.

A minute into the second half Birmingham's back three was exposed when they failed to clear a relatively simple cross. The ball bounced to Washington who scored with an unstoppable shot.

Birmingham made an attempt to rescue a dire situation but Rangers remained in control despite a couple of efforts from Sinclair which were brilliantly saved by Smithies.

Cardiff City were ruthless in a 5-0 win over bottom-placed Rotherham. A brace from Kenneth Zohore and goals to Kadeem Harris, Junior Hoilett and Craig Noone made it three wins on the trot for the first time this season.

Sheffield Wednesday won 2-1 away to Nottingham Forest while Burton were successful by the same margin at home to Norwich and Wigan and Preston played out a scoreless draw.

Brighton are two points clear of Newcastle who host Aston Villa on Monday.

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