CAPTAIN Clint Hill scored his first goal in 78 appearances as QPR went back to the top of the Sky Bet Championship this afternoon.
Hill’s goal 15 minutes from time handed the R’s a 1-0 win at Leeds United’s Elland Road.
Boss Harry Redknapp kept faith with the same side that faced Bolton Wanderers in the R’s last league outing. That meant that winger Junior Hoilett – fit again – had to settle for a place on the bench.
Rangers first chance fell to Shaun Wright-Phillips in an advanced role as his back header from Clint Hill’s left-wing cross glanced into the arms of ex-R’s stopper Paddy Kenny after four minutes.
Five minutes later QPR did get the ball in the back of the net but were harshly denied an opener following an offside decision from the linesman. A neat passing move culminated in O’Neil sliding Barton in on goal - who duly converted – before a raised flag chalked the effort off with TV replays showing otherwise.
That proved a rare moment of action in an otherwise first half devoid of opportunities. Leeds enjoyed a number of corners but they failed to pose any real threat whilst QPR could only muster an effort wide of the target through Wright-Phillips just before half-time.
The second half got underway with Charlie Austin forcing Leeds stopper Kenny into a save from an acute angle as he broke, forcing a corner. Barton’s initial flag kick was cleared out for another before the second attempt broke down due to an offside decision.
Nedum Onuoha’s blushes were spared on the hour mark when he failed to head clear but Leeds substitute Dominic Poleon fluffed his lines at the first attempt before Rob Green got down well to save his second attempt.
15 minutes from time Austin’s side footed shot was dealt with comfortably by Paddy Kenny after R’s substitute Ale Faurlin’s corner arrived deep at the back post.
However, 60 seconds later QPR found themselves ahead through the most unlikely of outlets, captain Clint Hill. Joey Barton’s free-kick from deep on the left flank dropped nicely inside the six yard box for QPR. Onuoha went close to getting on the end of it, as did Austin, but Leeds stopper Kenny could only deflect it to the back post where Hill was on hand to score his first goal since 22nd February 2011 against Ipswich Town at Loftus Road.
Rangers nearly doubled their lead six minutes later as Johnson’s industrious work down the right allowed him to cross for Hoilett who’s brave header inside the six-yard box went wide of the post.
The R's were nearly caught out in the closing stages when a ball over the top to Poleon enabled the Leeds forward to test Green but he dealt with the tame effort easily.
Junior Hoilett could have put the game out of reach after he broke one-on-one following Barton's through ball but his shot was high and wide as Leeds themselves went close to equalising through captain Rodolph Austin as his long range shot clipped the cross bar with Green beaten.
However, despite that late pressure QPR held on to keep a third straight cleansheet in the league and complete their unbeaten opening month start in the Championship.