BY EDMUND BRACK
Sinclair Armstrong’s contact lenses almost got in the way of his first goal for QPR last weekend.
The 20-year-old bagged his first goal for the west Londoners as they picked up their first three points of the Championship season following a 2-1 win at Cardiff.
Armstrong tapped Paul Smyth’s cross past Jak Alnwick in the 34th minute at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Former Shamrock Rovers youngster Armstrong had made 25 appearances for the club before getting off the mark. He revealed afterwards that QPR boss Gareth Ainsworth had told him to “go out there and play with freedom.
Armstrong told the club’s YouTube channel: “We were at the hotel and the gaffer said: ‘You’re going to score your first goal today’.
“I was looking at him thinking: ‘If this first goal comes, I don’t even know what I’ll do.’
“If I’m being honest, I could barely see. My contact [lense had moved]. But I saw Smyth running with it and thought ‘try to get into the middle of the goal’.
“Thankfully I just stuck my foot out and it went in. This is something I have been waiting a long time for.
“Last season it didn’t happen, but I just kept praying for one opportunity to come. I’m delighted with the result and hopefully more to come.
“It was a very good performance from myself and the boys.”
Republic of Ireland youth international Armstrong also set up Kenneth Paal in the 65th minute for QPR’s second of the afternoon.
Armstrong said: “When Ilias Chair gave me the ball, I saw the defender was going to slide in, so I pushed it forward a little bit.
“I knew there was no room to shoot, so I had to wait. I saw Kenny coming in and he did the rest.
“The finish was spectacular. I have never seen him do that before in training, but what a player he is.”
The Hoops suffered a heavy 4-0 defeat at Watford on the opening day of the campaign and came into the season on the back of a 5-0 thumping in their final pre-season friendly against League One side Oxford United.
Cardiff pulled one back through Ike Ugbo in the 78th minute, but QPR held on to secure all three Championship points.
“We let ourselves down (at Watford) – it wasn’t our best performance,” said Armstrong. “It was crap, to be honest. But we had to forget about it. You don’t want to dwell on it.
“Our reaction (at Cardiff) was top. We went out there and played without fear.
“Once that final whistle blew, I was full of emotion, happiness and joy. I was buzzing.
“The fans mean so much to me. When they chant my name, it’s something different. I never thought I would have a chant of my own.
“I’m grateful for them. We won’t stop here.”
PICTURES: ROB AVIS
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