DEBUT strikes from Kevin Doyle and Modibo Maiga earned QPR a priceless point against promotion rivals Burnley on Saturday lunchtime.
Doyle – one of five deadline day signings – opened his R’s account less than 24 hours after arriving to fire Rangers in front within seven minutes.
Despite Danny Ings’ leveller, Richard Dunne thundered Rangers deservedly into a half-time lead.
Harry Redknapp’s side were undone twice either side of the hour mark, though, as Sam Vokes’ double threatened to knock Rangers out of the automatic promotion spots.
There was to be one final twist, however, as Maiga came off the bench to secure a share of the spoils from a pulsating six-goal thriller.
Redknapp made three changes from Tuesday night’s triumph over Bolton Wanderers. Deadline day recruit Doyle – one of three new faces named in the squad – was handed his R’s debut in attack while Nedum Onuoha and Joey Barton both returned from injury.
Rangers – who began three points ahead of Saturday’s visitors – were forced into an early reshuffle. After Matty Phillips limped off within six minutes, Junior Hoilett was introduced into the action.
The setback did anything but unnerve the R’s, though, who made the crucial breakthrough in W12 moments later.
After Andy Johnson’s header was pushed over by Tom Heaton in the Clarets goal, Rangers made their early dominance count from the resulting corner. Niko Kranjcar’s centre was met by debutant Doyle, connecting decisively with a deft header into the far corner.
Rangers, buoyed by the opener, went in search of a second from the re-start. Hoilett fired just wide of Heaton’s left-hand post from 25 yards while Doyle followed suit on the quarter hour mark, flashing a rasping effort just off target.
Burnley fought their way back into the encounter, however, and levelled the scores with their first clear sight of goal on 25 minutes. After Kieran Trippier found room to cross from the right, Ings steered his first-timed volley expertly past Rob Green’s despairing dive.
Rangers recovered and, having weathered a spell of Clarets pressure, restored their lead from an unlikely source 11 minutes before the break. After another Kranjcar corner was flicked on by Clint Hill at the front post, centre-back partner Dunne struck a thunderous left-footed volley into the roof of the net.
At the other end, Benoit Assou-Ekotto ensured Rangers headed into half-time in front. Michael Kightly bore down on goal from Ings’ flick, only for the R’s full-back to cover the danger.
The lead lasted just nine minutes into the second period, though. Kightly this time turned provider, feeding Vokes to stab the Clarets level for a second time at the front post.
Worse almost followed for Rangers, lucky not to fall behind on the hour mark. After Scott Arfield raced onto a quick throw, his pull-back was turned over from six yards by the usually clinical Ings.
The visitors wouldn’t be so wasteful next time, however. After Assou-Ekotto was robbed off possession by Ings, the frontman gave strike partner Vokes the simplest of tap-ins to edge the Clarets ahead for the first time.
Rangers responded and felt aggrieved not to be awarded a penalty when Hoilett was upended by Jason Shackell in the area. Despite the winger’s protests, referee Roger East was uninterested.
Redknapp introduced Modibo Maiga off the bench with half an hour left as Johnson made way for the Malian’s debut.
But it was Burnley who carved out a chance to take a commanding two-goal lead. Ings raced clear, latching onto Vokes’ chip but agonisingly skewed wide to the relief of the home faithful.
Rangers made their visitors pay as Hoilett created a chance out of nothing. The winger dispossessed the Clarets backline before squaring for Maiga to net his first for the club from close range.
Hill almost provided a fourth goal for the R’s late on but scrambled Assou-Ekotto’s corner inches wide of the near post, while Junior Stanislas was wayward with an ambitious lob in stoppage time with the final action of a breathtaking afternoon.