RANGERS slipped to a late defeat against Doncaster Rovers – that despite taking a first-half lead.
Charlie Austin’s fortuitous strike handed QPR the advantage in the 43rd minute, after Ross Turnbull spilled the striker’s shot.
But Rovers responded and, after Theo Robinson curled home three minutes after the break, Paul Quinn headed in the winner for the home side just a minute from time.
Harry Redknapp named an unchanged starting XI for the trip to Doncaster, following last weekend’s home victory over Charlton Athletic.
The R’s boss was also able to call on the services of Tom Carroll and Hoilett once again, both named on the bench after recent injuries.
There was little in the way of clear-cut chances inside the opening 10 minutes, though Rangers did enjoy the better of the possession.
QPR defender Clint Hill fashioned the first attempt of the contest in the 13th minute, rising highest from a Joey Barton corner to head wide of the left-hand upright.
Hill’s effort was as close as any side had gone come the midway point in the first half. A tame Mark Duffy effort in the 17th minute, followed by Matty Phillips skewing wide five minutes later, was as good as it got.
Niko Kranjcar was gifted the best opportunity yet come the 26th minute.
Patient build-up play from the R’s ended with Danny Simpson’s intercepted pass falling to the feet of the Croat who, just inside the box, blasted high and wide of the target with his weaker left foot.
However, chances were still far from forthcoming for the remainder of the first period, and it looked as though the teams would go in level as half-time approached.
But that all changed when Rangers forged ahead just two minutes before the interval.
Sublime control from Kranjcar saw him trap a high ball and when Jermaine Jenas was subsequently dispossessed on the edge of the box, Austin unleashed a low blast that Turnbull was unable to hold.
The goal was rather fortunate, in truth, though Austin didn’t care, wheeling away after bagging his ninth of the campaign.
Rovers had little time to respond in the first half but were level come the 48th minute.
Robinson took possession of the ball out on the right and when he cut in to cross, the attacker’s centre evaded everyone – instead creeping into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.
The second half was already being played at a much higher tempo, with Doncaster buoyed by their equalising goal. Both sides seemed keen to push forward at every available opportunity.
Rangers made their attacking intentions clear when they brought on striker Andy Johnson in place of Gary O’Neil in the 63rd minute.
Johnson looked bright and was unlucky not to get on the end of a quickly-taken, low corner soon after his introduction that was instead smothered by Turnbull.
The former Crystal Palace forward also played a lovely through ball to Austin, who was unable to get enough conviction on a subsequent shot.
Hosts Doncaster went close with an effort in the 73rd minute, with former Rangers loanee Federico Macheda shooting into the left-hand stanchion behind the goal.
QPR opted to make a second change three minutes later, with Junior Hoilett replacing Kranjcar.
The Hoops enjoyed more possession as the half wore on, and Phillips’ dangerous centre from the right 10 minutes from time somehow flashed across goal without a touch.
The contest, however, was very much in the balance towards its conclusion. Dean Furman struck wide for Doncaster in the 84th minute, while Robinson headed just over shortly after.
At the other end, substitute Hoilett saw a shot deflect over, while R’s captain Hill looped an effort on to the roof of the net from a corner.
But there was to be a winner, as Rovers stole victory with only a minute to spare.
Quinn was the hero for the hosts, heading home a hanging corner from the left.