Middlesbrough boss Neil Warnock refuses to tear into misfiring strikers after they draw blank against former side QPR

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NEIL WARNOCK refused to tear into his forwards and instead begged for some good fortune after Middlesbrough drew another blank in the dismal home defeat to QPR.

Jordan Hugill returned to haunt his old club with the only goal of the game to leave Boro a point adrift in the drop zone with just five games remaining.

And after Ashley Fletcher and Lukas Nmecha both squandered good chances to earn a point, Warnock says it is a lack of belief and the rub of the green that is hindering his new team in their fight for survival.

He said: “Fletcher’s chance was the best of the game and I think Fletch knows nine out of ten times he would slide that in but he just rushed it.

“The chance Lukas had, he put every one of them away in training this week, but he just flashed at it and I think it just comes down to confidence.

“Football is cruel and you get kicked in the teeth now and again but you have to keep fighting and that’s what we have to do on Wednesday at Millwall.

“We just need something to drop for us and that’s what we need.”

QPR’s Eberechi Eze provided the warning signs twice early doors with two dangerous runs before Fletcher’s vicious strike was clawed away at the near post up the opposite end.

But Boro should have fallen behind on half hour when Jonny Howson was caught out on half way as Bright Osayi-Samuel pinched possession to send Hugill clear only for him to be denied by stoper Dejan Stojanovic.

But he made no mistake moments later and struck a dagger through the heart of his hometown team with his 15th of the campaign.

The West Ham loanee, who spent last season at Boro, raced away from George Friend down the right after a diagnagal from Ryan Manning and brilliantly lobbed the keeper from 25 yards – his final touch of the game as he damaged his hamstring in the process.

Manning almost made it two before the break as Stojanovic tipped away his low free-kick.

Warnock’s stagnant side returned unchanged for the second period but Ravel Morrison’s long range drive over the bar was all they could muster before the manager shuffled his pack.

And it was sub Nmecha who wasted a golden opportunity to level.

The on-loan Manchester City forward blazed over at the near post from Howson’s cross late on, which even led to frustrated skipper Friend screaming “That has to be a goal!”

Britt Assombalonga was booked for diving in a desperate attempt to get a penalty but QPR hung on to end their three-match losing streak and virtually secure their Championship status.

R’s boss Mark Warburton said: “It was a big away performance and three points.

“We wanted that win and thought we played really well at Fulham and deserved something but didn’t, but we deserved the win today.”

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