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17:05 26th December 2015


JUNIOR Hoilett’s second goal in a week couldn’t save Rangers from defeat, as fellow promotion-chasers Ipswich Town snatched a 2-1 Sky Bet Championship victory in second-half stoppage time.

Hoilett was on target at the end of the first period to hand QPR the initiative at Portman Road.

However, just as it looked like Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink was on his way to a first win as R’s boss, the home side turned this fixture on its head late on.

First, Jonathan Douglas restored parity with a goal 13 minutes from time, before Town skipper Luke Chambers headed beyond Rob Green in the 92nd minute to inflict defeat on Rangers at the death.

Hasselbaink named an unchanged side for the trip to Suffolk, following last weekend’s 1-1 draw at Bristol City.

A hamstring injury ruled top scorer Charlie Austin out once again, so Sebastian Polter retained his place in the starting XI.

However, Sandro did make the bench after missing out at Ashton Gate with an injury of his own.

There was barely anything to report on inside the opening quarter of an hour, apart from the home side forcing a series of corners.

Ipswich probably just about shaded the possession count early on, but it was a relatively-tight opening nevertheless.

Rangers had appeals for a penalty waved away in the 17th minute when Polter went down after tussling for possession in the box.

Meanwhile, two minutes later, Ale Faurlin’s free-kick effort from range was held well by Town goalkeeper Dean Gerken.

While both players eventually continued, Hoilett and home defender Christophe Berra received treatment for injuries in the first period. That did little to help what felt like a disjointed opening half in general.

Ipswich spurned a good opportunity just before half-time. Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ expert corner from the left looped over R’s goalkeeper Green and was met by Chambers, who somehow headed wide of the target.

Four minutes of stoppage time were added on at the end of the first half – and Rangers edged in front just moments before the break.

It was a neat move that led to the opening goal. Polter touched the ball out to Leroy Fer on the right wing – and his darting cross was powered home by the head of Hoilett.

The perfect way for Rangers to end the half and, only seconds later, the half-time whistle was sounded.

Things opened up when the second half commenced. 

In the 51st minute, Fer shot over for QPR. However, the hosts went closer four minutes later.

Brett Pitman’s lovely effort on the half-volley seemed destined to find the bottom right-hand corner – but the ball struck the post and bounced wide.

At the other end, Rangers broke at pace and wasted an excellent chance to extend the lead in the 66th minute.

Matt Phillips drove at the home defence and when he put Fer in the clear, the Dutchman rounded Gerken – but couldn’t beat two Ipswich men on the goal-line.

The hosts were now throwing bodies forward at every opportunity and Hasselbaink reacted by bringing on Sandro in the 71st minute, for Fer.

But Rangers were eventually undone in the 77th minute. QPR couldn’t clear their lines and when the ball eventually leapt up into the path of Douglas in the penalty area, the former Brentford man produced an improvised effort to equalise.

After that, Hoilett soon forced a smart save from Gerken following a mazy dribble, before Tjaronn Chery replaced Phillips.

This contest was now finely poised and Gerken was called into action again to tip wide from Nedum Onuoha’s headed effort a minute from time.

That looked to be the last opportunity of note – but the hosts inflicted heartache on Rangers in the dying embers.

In the second minute of second-half stoppage time, Ipswich launched a ball into the box from deep, and Chambers rose highest to head home beyond the despairing dive of Green.
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