LATE, late drama saw ten-man Rangers suffer a cruel defeat in another important relegation clash, this time against Hull City at the KC Stadium.
Goals from Nikica Jelavic and Dame N’Doye helped the hosts to victory, the latter netting in the 89th minute.
Up to that point, it looked like QPR were heading to an unlikely point. Joey Barton was dismissed after clashing with Tom Huddlestone, before Charlie Austin drew Rangers level before half-time.
But it wasn’t to be, N’Doye having the final say – despite the late heroics of visiting goalkeeper Rob Green.
Darnell Furlong - the son of R's legend and Under-18s boss Paul - made his senior Rangers debut on Humberside.
The youngster started the fixture in an accustomed right-back role, as QPR made two changes in total to the side which defeated Sunderland away from home 11 days ago.
Leroy Fer and Mauricio Isla (both knee) were ruled out, but there was better news with top scorer Austin returning from injury. Austin’s inclusion meant that this was a 4-4-2 formation, as opposed to the 4-4-1-1 deployed at the Stadium of Light, with the striker paired with Bobby Zamora in attack.
Rangers were cheered on by over 2,000 supporters in the visiting end. They were in good voice early on, with neither team really on top inside the first 10 minutes.
David Meyler had an effort blocked away for the home side in the sixth minute.
Hull, however, would take the lead come the 16th minute.
Huddlestone’s free-kick from deep was headed by Steven Caulker only as far as Jelavic on 12 yards, who smashed home on the volley to leave Green with little chance.
Five minutes later, that advantage was almost extended. Goalscorer Jelavic held the ball up on the edge of the area before laying it off to Jake Livermore, who blasted just inches over.
After falling behind, it was important Rangers now stayed in the game.
But their claims were dealt another almighty blow when captain Barton was dismissed in the 32nd minute.
After Furlong was penalised for a challenge on Jelavic, Barton clashed with Huddlestone as tensions flared – and referee Anthony Taylor brandished a straight red card.
A man up, Jelavic nodded just wide for Hull soon after.
Despite the numerical disadvantage, the R’s responded in emphatic fashion to equalise six minutes before the half-time interval.
Phillips – who produced both goals in the win at Sunderland – was on hand to provide yet another assist, this time crossing for Austin from the right who headed home wonderfully well past the despairing dive of Allan McGregor.
Rangers settled well in the second half. Michael Dawson flashed a header wide for Hull in the 50th minute, but clear-cut chances were at a premium in the opening stages.
The match opened up as a contest as time wore on. QPR manager Chris Ramsey opted for a change in the 64th minute. Michael Doughty replaced Zamora.
Rangers were frustrating Hull in their attempts to take advantage of having a man more, defending stoutly. The travelling R’s contingent were doing their best to keep the team going.
Another substitution arrived in the 75th minute. Austin was replaced by Mauro Zarate. Traore then came on for the tireless Niko Kranjcar three minutes later.
Caulker’s tame header was comfortably collected by the Hull goalkeeper 10 minutes from time.
The home side, meanwhile, signalled their intentions to go all-out attack by bringing on a fourth forward in Sone Aluko in the 82nd minute. He replaced Meyler.
That philosophy paid dividends just a minute from normal time, as the home side took all three points in a grandstand finish.
Green pulled off a quite stunning save to thwart Aluko. However, in the same attack came the decisive strike.
Robbie Brady hung up a cross from the left, before N’Doye nipped in to head home past Green.
With five minutes of added time signalled, the R’s tried for an equaliser – but it was ultimately beyond them.