SUBSTITUTE Junior Hoilett’s equaliser ensured QPR shared the spoils with Blackpool on Saturday.
The R’s winger came off the bench to level proceedings 12 minutes remaining after David Goodwillie’s early opener handed the Seasiders a surprise lead.
It was an otherwise frustrating afternoon for Harry Redknapp’s men at Loftus Road, where a flurry of late Matt Gilks saves denied Rangers a third success in seven days.
Redknapp – making three changes from Tuesday night’s win over Wigan Athletic – recalled Karl Henry and Benoit Assou-Ekotto in place of injured midfield duo Joey Barton and Niko Kranjcar. Will Keane returned to the R’s frontline alongside Bobby Zamora, while midweek match-winner Yossi Benayoun served a one-match suspension.
After a lacklustre opening at Loftus Road, it was those in orange shirts who took a surprise lead inside 10 minutes. Chris Basham’s flick-on from the first corner of the afternoon gave Goodwillie, unmarked at the back post, the simple task of stooping to head home from close range.
Andrew Halliday had the visitors next effort, firing harmlessly over from 25 yards as Rangers struggled in the early stages.
Ravel Morrison threatened a response on 23 minutes, well placed from Clint Hill’s pull-back on the left by-line. The midfielder, despite feinting to shoot twice, saw his eventual effort blocked.
Meanwhile, Basham received the first booking of a forgettable first half for a tug on Keane ten minutes before the break.
Moments later Rangers were relieved to see Goodwillie pass up a chance to double his tally. The striker raced onto Basham’s through ball but sliced well wide of Green’s goal.
There was reason to cheer for the R’s fans seven minutes before the interval, albeit for a substitution. Aaron Hughes limped off, allowing Danny Simpson to make his long-awaited return from injury.
Simpson didn’t take long to make an impact, coming close to bringing the R’s level in first-half stoppage time. His diving header from Assou-Ekotto’s cross was heading for the bottom corner before Gilks’ intervention pushed the ball away to safety.
Redknapp made a second switch for the second half, introducing Hoilett at the expense of Nedum Onuoha.
The R’s winger wasted no time in trying to restore parity. But, after running at the heart of the visiting defence, Hoilett’s shot flew just wide of Gilks’ left-hand upright.
Gilks was called into action with the R’s next attempts, clutching a couple of long-range strikes from Morrison in quick succession with relative ease.
At the other end, Jack Robinson threatened an unlikely second on the hour mark but could only find the side netting from a tight angle.
Moments later Morrison felt aggrieved not to be awarded a penalty after being upended following a mazy run in the box. Referee Carl Boyeson, though, thought otherwise.
Modibo Maiga was brought on for Zamora in the R’s final change 25 minutes from time, as Redknapp altered his attack in search of an equaliser.
The Mali international made his presence known soon after, seeing a blistering drive flash inches over the crossbar.
It would prove to be another of the R’s second-half additions who brought the R’s level, as Hoilett finally found a way through. The winger stepped inside from 25 yards before arrowing a shot into the bottom corner.
The equaliser gave the home faithful renewed belief, while Rangers poured forward in search of a second.
Morrison tried his luck again on 88 minutes but again Gilks came to Blackpool’s rescue, beating away the playmaker’s latest ferocious drive.
Worse almost followed for the home side as substitute Thomas Barkhuizen spurned a gilt-edged opportunity from eight yards. The striker blazed over after wriggling free from Richard Dunne, while David Perkins’ shot swerved over.
Three added minutes couldn’t change the outcome either way in W12, as Rangers were left frustrated in their quest for a late winner.