Charlton Athletic boosted their hopes of Championship survival with a victory over Queens Park Rangers that leaves their London rivals cut adrift of the play-off spots.
Darren Pratley’s early header from a Josh Cullen corner put the hosts in front just moments after Eberechi Eze curled a shot narrowly wide at the other end.
Dillon Phillips made a fine reflex save immediately after the break to deny Jordan Hugill a close-range equaliser from what was the visitors’ best chance of the game.
Victory lifts Lee Bowyer’s side to 17th in the table, four points and five places above the relegation zone with seven matches remaining, although the five teams immediately below them in the table are yet to play this weekend.
For Charlton, it was the first time since August that they have managed back-to-back victories, having overcome relegation rivals Hull City a week earlier.
QPR’s second defeat in as many weeks since football’s restart after the coronavirus-enforced break sees them fall 10 points behind Cardiff in the fourth and final play-off spot in sixth after their win at Preston on Saturday.
QPR concede early – again
For the second-time in as many weeks, QPR conceded from the first effort on target.
While goalkeeper Liam Kelly was able to get a hand on Pratley’s header, it was not enough to stop the effort from sneaking in off the inside of the post.
It was not until the opening seconds of the second half that QPR seriously threatened to level – Hugill forcing Phillips into action for the first time after finding space in the area to get onto the end of a chipped cross from Angel Rangel.
QPR, as they did against Barnsley seven days earlier, played with more endeavour after the interval. But again Mark Warburton’s side failed to breach the resistance of a side fighting to avoid the drop.
Instead it was Charlton, a side whose top scorer Lyle Taylor has elected not to play for the Addicks again this season as he does not want to risk injury before his contract expires on Tuesday, looked the most likely to add to their advantage.
Tom Lockyer had a header safely caught by Kelly, who did well to keep a low shot from Alfie Doughty out two minutes from the end of a London derby of high stakes for two sides with vastly different ambitions.
More to follow.