QPR’s unbeaten home record came to an end this afternoon against Leicester City as they suffered a 1-0 defeat.
Jamie Vardy’s goal five minutes before half-time was all that could separate the two sides on a frustrating afternoon in W12 for the R’s.
Matters were compounded in the closing stages when Rangers were reduced to ten men as Joey Barton was shown a red card for a second bookable offence.
Redknapp made one change to the side that started against Blackpool last weekend. Croatian playmaker Niko Kranjcar replaced Jermaine Jenas in Rangers five man midfield with the rest of the side remaining unchanged.
Rangers skipper Clint Hill handed the visitors their first opportunity inside the opening two minutes when he fouled Jamie Vardy just outside the R’s box. Anthony Knockaert took responsibility for free-kick duties but shot high over Rob Green’s bar before Tom Carroll responded at the other end by firing over Kasper Schmeichel’s horizontal.
A moment of quality saw Gary O’Neil force a save from Schmeichel next as a clever one-two between Phillips and Kranjcar enabled the former Blackpool winger to pick out O’Neil advancing on the City penalty area but Schmeichel got down to his right to claim his side footed shot.
A nutty moment then saw play held up for nearly five minutes as a rogue squirrel ran amuck on the Loftus Road pitch. Referee Paul Tierney called a halt to proceedings with QPR waiting to take a corner. Hill eventually chased off the bushytailed fiend as play resumed with the R’s skipper seeing his header cleared off the Foxes line.
The saved in quick succession then denied Rangers on the half hour mark as they continued to create the better of the opportunities. First up Austin was prevented by Schmeichel who charged down his stab at goal. The ball rebounded to O’Neil who then watched his lob cleared off the line by Liam Moore before Matty Phillips had his volley pushed behind for a corner.
The pressure was not finished there however as Richard De Laet nearly headed the resulting set piece into his own net as the score remained 0-0.
That only lasted as long as five minutes before the break it was Leicester who went ahead. Nugent flicked on City’s goalkick into the path of Vardy who made no mistake burying into the far left hand corner of Green’s goal.
As the fourth official signalled five minutes of additional time at the end of the first half Rangers squandered a golden opportunity to level proceedings up. Austin played in Phillips - who opted to take an extra touch rather than shoot - before lifting the ball over Schmeichel and unfortunately the crossbar.
Lloyd Dyer gave Rangers an early scare after the restart as he sliced wide of the post but it was QPR who enjoyed large spells of possession thereafter. That counted for little though as Redknapp’s side failed to carve out any clear cut chances, the only notable effort being Austin’s high and wide shot in the 65th minute.
Yossi Benayoun then made his QPR debut as Tom Carroll made way for the Israel international in the 69th minute but it was the visitors who went closest to a second goal of the game when QPR gave away possession just outside the area Matty James capatilised for Leicester striking the crossbar as QPR luckily escaped.
QPR were then reduced to ten men as Joey Barton was shown a red card for a second bookable offence in quick succession. Referee Tierney booked him for a foul on Gary Taylor-Fletcher before being shown a second yellow straight after for kicking the ball away.
Austin tried to find a late equaliser forcing a save from Schmeichel at his near post as the top of the table clash ended in defeat.