IF QPR needed some inspiration this season to avoid relegation from the Barclays Premier League it came at Stamford Bridge tonight.
Shaun Wright-Phillips' 78th minute strike earned a dogged Rangers side the most unlikely of wins against their local rivals in their own backyard.
It handed Harry Redknapp's troops three vital points in their bid to avoid the drop but more importantly confidence that could be the catalyst for operation survival.
QPR made four changes to the starting line-up that lost 3-0 at Liverpool on Sunday. Rangers boss Redknapp handed starts to Shaun Derry, Esteban Granero, Fabio Da Silva and Junior Hoilett at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea were fortunate to keep 11 men on the pitch inside the opening four minutes when a strong – late - challenge from Marko Marin on Rangers Stephen Mbia resulted in just a yellow card from referee Lee Mason. Marin had lost the ball under pressure from Fabio before smashing into the Cameroonian midfielders shin with his studs.
And it was the home side to register the first real opportunity as Shaun Derry gave position away in midfield in the 14th minute. Chelsea broke wide and Victor Moses picked out David Luiz on the edge of the R’s penalty area but his volley down into the turf looped over Julio Cesar’s crossbar.
QPR were then forced into a change of personal as Junior Hoilett limped off to be replaced by Chelsea old boy Shaun Wright-Phillips. It was the Chelsea players needing treatment next though as David Luiz smashed heads with teammate Oscar in the middle of the park much to the wincing of the Stamford Bridge crowd.
A good first touch from Wright-Phillips then allowed him space to shoot wide from distance after Spaniard Granero had picked the diminutive winger out from inside the R’s own half.
And two minutes before half-time and Cesar was forced to make a save with his feet to keep the scoreline at 0-0 in an uneventful first half.
Brazilian Oscar had time to shoot from outside the Rangers penalty area and a deflection off of Granero along the way left the custodian going the wrong way. Fortunately he was able to keep the ball out of the net with an outstretched boot with Moses firing over from the rebound.
A solid, if uneventful, opening 45 minutes for Rangers saw Chelsea enjoy two quick fire corners at the start of the second half. The first came to nothing but the second saw Cesar’s punch find Fernando Torres inside the 18-yard box. The Spanish forward shifted the ball out wide to Marin but Moses was unable to direct his cross on target inside the six-yard box as QPR survived a scare.
Branislav Ivanovic then went closest to opening the scoring as his header from Marin’s corner shaved Cesar’s bar before the Brazilian keeper pulled off a wonder save for Redknapp’s side.
The Rangers penalty box was under pressure from the home side and the ball found its way back to David Luiz hovering 18-yards from goal. His shot ricocheted off Hill and then Mbia before finding its way to Torres. With Chelsea’s number nine baring down on the R’s goal Cesar made himself big at his near post to deny a certain goal.
Buoyed by their keepers’ heroics QPR broke soon after at the other end. Taarabt picked out Granero who curled a shot with the right foot outside the area and forced Ross Turnball to stretch and claim the effort – an inch higher and a goal looked certain.
Derry was next to test the Chelsea stopper as he met Granero’s corner at the back post but was unable to beat him before a rising shot from Moses struck with venom from 18-yards went narrowly over.
Chelsea then got the ball in the back of the net in the 66th minute but fortunately for Rangers it was chalked off. Moses picked out Frank Lampard on the left hand side of the penalty area but despite beating Cesar from 12-yards he was fractionally offside.
Having held off Chelsea for 78 minutes Rangers then took a shock 1-0 lead in finest of fashions. A corner from Granero was cleared to Taarabt who laid that ball to his right for the waiting Shaun Wright-Phillips. He looked up and with nothing on he smashed a 25-yard shot past Turnball to send the travelling Rangers supporters ecstatic.
Chelsea threw everything at QPR in a bid to grab an equaliser, Ivanovic going closest, and with three minutes of injury time it was a nail biting 180 seconds of action.
However, a determined Rangers held on for the three points.