Source: Daily Mirror (Michael Regan)
An electric encounter at Villa Park finished 3-3, and although an excellent spectacle, both teams will be disappointed not to have taken all 3 points from the game. A point moves both teams up 1 place in the table, but they have both now played 1 more game than those around them and have just 6 games left to ensure their Premier League survival.
It was all smiles prior to kick off, with friends and former colleagues Tim Sherwood and Chris Ramsey embracing on the sidelines before taking their position in opposing dugouts. The action came thick and fast from the getgo, and like many predicted it was a full-blooded, thrilling affair and a great game for the neutrals. Much of the focus has been at the top of the table in recent weeks, but this served as a reminder that there is plenty of drama and excitement at the other end too and it was a terrific advert for the Premier League.
Source: Daily Mirror [Michael Regan)
It was QPR who struck first, finding the back of the net after just 7 minutes when Phillips headed home from Zamora’s cross. Christian Benteke then fired back almost immediately via a deflection from Steven Caulker, and he then added a second just after the half hour mark by coolly slotting past Rob Green. Tim Sherwood’s men went in 2-1 up at the half and looked the better team going forwards, but it was clear that this game was far from over.
QPR clawed their way back in to the game and levelled through Clint Hill’s 55th minute header, and then Charlie Austin stunned Villa Park with his 17th goal of the campaign which restored their lead and temporarily lifted them out of the relegation zone.
Source: Daily Mirror (Matthew Lewis)
It would be Benteke that came to the rescue again, completing his hat-trick with a stunning free-kick with just 7 minutes remaining. It was his 2nd hat-trick for Villa, and he will be delighted to be back in form after a difficult period earlier in the season.
The game came to a close after both teams had traded heavy blows, with Villa now sitting in 16th on 29 points and QPR rising to 18th on 26 points, 2 adrift Hull and safety. Villa created the majority of the chances and will feel they should have won the game, but their frailties at the back were punished QPR who were once again efficient in front of goal. QPR will also be disappointed not to take all 3 points having taken the lead late in the game, but Chris Ramsey will be pleased with 4 points from 2 tough games on the road.
The 6 goal thriller which resulted in a point for each team means that they both remain very much in the battle for survival with 6 to play. Villa still have to face Spurs, Man City, Everton, West Ham, Southampton and Burnley, whilst Chris Ramsey’s team close out the season against Chelsea, West Ham, Liverpool, Man City, Newcastle and Leicester. A challenging run-in for both teams, they will need to dig deep in each game and play with the same attacking intent that they did in this pulsating encounter.