Adel Taarabt struck a spectacular individual effort and was later sent off, as ten-man QPR recorded an excellent 1-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in W12.
In yet another breathless contest witnessed at Loftus Road this season, the magical Moroccan was on hand to fire Rangers in front with a wonderfully-struck free-kick from fully 30-yards out in the 24th minute.
Chances were aplenty for both sides throughout but it was Taarabt's dismissal 12 minutes from time that set up a grandstand finale, after the R's ace was shown his marching orders for a second bookable offence for unsporting behaviour.
But the Hoops held firm to take what could be three crucial points - and with it move themselves three points clear of the dreaded drop-zone.
Hughes named an unchanged side from last weekend's slender defeat at West Bromwich Albion, sticking to a 4-5-1 formation in the process.
Djibril Cisse, meanwhile, was named on the bench after serving a four-match suspension.
Paddy Kenny was in goal for Rangers, behind a back four of Nedum Onuoha, Anton Ferdinand, Clint Hill and Taye Taiwo.
Samba Diakite, Shaun Derry and skipper Joey Barton made up a three-man central midfield, with Jamie Mackie and Taarabt operating from the wide positions.
Bobby Zamora led the line for Rangers in attack.
With relegation-threatened rivals Blackburn Rovers and Bolton Wanderers both picking up points before the R's had even kicked a ball, Hughes's men were only too aware of the need to get something from this late kick-off.
Backed by a vibrant Loftus Road crowd, Rangers certainly started like a team intent on doing just that.
It took QPR just three minutes to fashion their first opportunity.
Mackie's perseverance saw him dispossess Luka Modric, before the Scot beat two men and dragged an effort past the post.
Rangers really had made a positive start and it was Diakite's effort that saw the hosts go close again on 11 minutes, riding a number of challenges before pulling an effort wide of the target.
Despite that bright opening the R's had Kenny to thank for keeping them on terms when he produced a stunning stop to deny Gareth Bale in the 20th minute, after the Welsh international rose to meet a Rafael van der Vaart corner.
Just a minute later, the Dutch playmaker would go close himself.
A Tottenham corner was worked to van der Vaart on the edge of the box, before his resultant effort forced another fine save from Kenny.
The deadlock was broken in style on 24 minutes, much to the delight of the majority of a capacity crowd inside Loftus Road.
Sandro was penalised for a handball 30 yards from goal and when Taarabt stepped up to take the subsequent set-piece he didn't disappoint, curling an splendid effort into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.
What noise that strike created, and the volume was turned up another notch a minute later when the Moroccan muscled his way past two Spurs bodies before firing a shot straight at Brad Friedel.
The visitors almost levelled on the half-hour mark.
van der Vaart was again involved, seeing his stinging effort parried back into the path of Jermain Defoe, who - under pressure from Hill - looped a header just over the bar.
Rangers went close to doubling their advantage just seconds after the restart.
Diakite's barnstorming run took him into the box, before the R's midfielder sent an effort with the outside of his right foot into the side-netting.
It was that man who was again involved ten minutes after the break.
Patient build-up play from the home side saw the ball eventually find Diakite 25 yards from goal, who saw an effort sail wide.
Two minutes later, Defoe - on the turn - dragged an effort past the post, before Taarabt sliced an effort wide at the other end.
Spurs missed a golden opportunity to equalise in the 71st minute.
Derry cleared a ball into the box only as far as van der Vaart on 12 yards, who could only blaze an effort over the bar.
A nervy finish was ensured when Rangers were reduced to ten men for an eighth time this season on 78 minutes.
Scorer of the only goal of the game, Taarabt was sent off for unsporting behaviour after Tottenham won a free-kick.
Rangers, however, showed tremendous grit to hold out for the win.
QPR: Kenny, Diakite (Buzsaky 70), Hill, Derry, Taarabt, Mackie, Barton, Taiwo, Ferdinand, Onuoha, Zamora.
Subs not used: Cerny, Gabbidon, Traore, Helguson, Cisse, Wright-Phillips.
Goals: Taarabt (24)
Bookings: Zamora (22), Taarabt (42 & 78), Onuoha (75), Hill (78)
Red Cards: Taarabt (78)
Tottenham Hotspur: Friedel, Bale, Parker (Giovani 84), Van der Vaart, Gallas, Modric, Defoe, King, Walker, Sandro (Lennon 46), Assou-Ekotto (Rose 66).
Subs not used: Cudicini, Livermore, Khumalo, Smith.
Referee: Mr M Clattenburg
Attendance: 18,021 (3024 away)