SUBSTITUTE Tom Hitchcock came off the bench on his debut to hit a 90th minute winner against Ipswich Town this afternoon.
The 20-year-old forward turned in the rebound inside the six-yard box as QPR recorded a second home win of the season.
It could have easily have been more for the R’s as Clint Hill and Charlie Austin both struck the Ipswich Town crossbar.
Injuries and departures forced Rangers to make three changes to the starting line-up from the side that drew 1-1 at Huddersfield. Richard Dunne made his league debut whilst there were also recalls for Bobby Zamora and Shaun Wright-Phillips.
A clash of heads between Wright-Phillips and Aaron Cresswell inside the opening minute stopped the flow of the match before it had even started but proceedings soon warmed up when good link up play from Zamora brought Charlie Austin into play but he could only find the side netting from an offside position.
It was a rare moment of action as neither side managed to take a foothold on proceedings until the match finally sprung into life in the 28th minute. Joey Barton’s corner from the right picked out Dunne who failed to connect properly with his head. The ball dropped to Wright-Phillips 12-yards from goal but his shot deflected over for a corner.
The resulting flag kick came to nothing but seconds later Rangers were turning defence into attack as Danny Simpson burst down the right hand side to pick out Austin unmarked in the box. The R’s talisman struck a sweet volley from around the penalty spot but Ipswich keeper Scott Loach was equal to his strike pushing behind anD alleviating the danger.
At the other end Robert Green pulled off his own vital save to keep the R’s in the game as the ex-Norwich stopper got down to his left to save Darryl Murphy’s effort from close range after Cresswell’s cross from the left was flicked on by Town’s David McGoldrick in the 36th minute.
Ipswich made a change at the break as Tunnicliffe replaced Cole Skuse and injury forced QPR to substitute Junior Hoilett 11 minutes after the restart with the tricky winger being replaced by Gary O’Neill.
O’Neil’s introduction proved a catalyst for QPR when Joey Barton free-kick delivery picked out Clint Hill unmarked, on his 100th league appearance for the R’s, only the Ipswich bar could prevent Rangers from taking the lead as his header looped back off the horizontal before Dunne poked wide from inside the six-yard box.
A good exchange between Barton and O’Neil released Austin but he was well marshalled and his low shot inside the 18-yard area was comfortably gathered by Ipswich keeper Loach at the second attempt.
Another flowing move - started by O’Neil – saw Simpson ping a cross to the far post to Austin but he was adjudged to have been offside despite Loach’s reaction block in the Town goal before the 24-year-old failed to convert the R’s best chance of the match.
Wright-Phillips cut in from the flank 12 minutes from time to drop an inviting ball over the top of the Ipswich back-four. Austin peeled off his man, controlling the ball with a deft touch, and with time on his side he opted to crack a fierce volley almost immediately off the underside of the Town crossbar as the visitors escaped intact.
Youngster Tom Hitchcock was thrown into the fray as a late substitution for Zamora and his impact was almost immediate as he found himself in the right place at the right time to grab the winner.
Shaun Wright-Phillips jinked down the wing, cutting the ball back for Austin. His side footed effort was blocked by a Town defender but with the ball rebounding to Hitchcock he coolly side footed it into the empty net as Loftus Road erupted as the R’s recorded a 1-0 win.