QPR bounced back from defeat on Saturday with an impressive 2-0 win over promotion hopefuls Derby County at Loftus Road.
Rangers suffered a disappointing loss against Milton Keynes Dons by the same scoreline at the weekend. However, on this occasion, a goal in either half by Tjaronn Chery and Gabriele Angella respectively was enough to see off the top-six Rams.
Chery scored with a splendid volley midway through the first half, following James Perch’s left-flank centre.
The R’s turned in a workmanlike display after that, and were eventually rewarded for their dogged efforts when they added a second in the 86th minute.
Matt Phillips sent over a lovely, inswinging free-kick from the left, and Angella stooped to head home his first Rangers goal.
Hoops boss Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink made five changes to his QPR team following the defeat at stadium:mk.
Injury ruled both Grant Hall (foot) and Massimo Luongo out, while Daniel Tozser, Nasser El Khayati and Conor Washington all dropped to the bench.
So in came Clint Hill, Ale Faurlin, Junior Hoilett, Phillips and Seb Polter.
On a bitterly-cold evening in west London, it took this contest a little while to get going.
Defences were certainly on top early on and, in truth, the first half of the opening period made for a lukewarm affair at best.
Derby’s Craig Bryson had R’s goalkeeper Alex Smithies scurrying across his goal-line in the sixth minute, after the midfielder let fly with a 25-yard blast that fizzed just past the left-hand post.
Rangers enjoyed a chance of their own only moments later.
Chery caught Derby in possession and when he subsequently fed Hoilett, the winger – who recently became father to a baby boy, hence his omission at MK Dons – shot straight at Scott Carson from 18 yards.
The next opportunity didn’t fall until the 23rd minute, but saw Rangers go mightily close. Polter created it for himself, turning on the ball 25-yards out before firing inches wide.
However, QPR didn’t have long to wait for another chance – only a minute, in fact – and, when it arrived, the home side took the lead in some style.
The hosts eventually worked the ball to Perch who crossed from the left – and Chery produced an acrobatic effort to volley past Carson in magnificent fashion.
It was a goal this contest needed, and Chery almost added a spectacular second four minutes later. His swirling shot from distance just missed the target.
Rangers’ opening strike lifted the Loftus Road crowd and the Hoops played with added confidence and conviction in their play after that.
Six minutes before the break, Hoilett did well to wriggle his way to the left-hand edge of the box before crossing for Phillips, who was just unable to connect with that particular centre to add goal number two.
Much like the first half, the second took time to come to life. In the 51st minute, Chery’s thumping effort went handsomely over the goal.
Meanwhile, at the other end, Rams striker Chris Martin fashioned the visiting team’s first shot on target in the 56th minute. His bouncing strike was caught by Smithies.
With over an hour gone, Derby opted to throw on another striker. Darren Bent replaced Bryson in the 67th minute.
It was an unsurprising move by the Rams, a goal down and chasing a top-six finish. Tom Ince soon went close with a free-kick effort that was deflected just over.
Substitute Bent forced Smithies into a smart save in the 74th minute, the goalkeeper tipping the ball away at his left-hand post following the former’s low 18-yard strike from a Cyrus Christie centre.
Rangers were now breaking sporadically on the counter attack. One such move, in the 75th minute, saw Hoilett shoot straight at Carson.
A minute later, Hasselbaink moved to throw on fresh legs, with Jamie Mackie brought on for goalscorer Chery.
Derby soon responded by throwing on a third forward in their final change, as Nick Blackman replaced Johnny Russell.
With 10 minutes left, and in some driving rain, this fixture was now on a knife-edge. Rangers were digging in, as visitors Derby attempted to find a way back into the encounter.
But QPR settled any nerves by adding a second goal to seal victory four minutes from time.
Phillips provided the assist, with his free-kick from the left met by the head of an unmarked Angella at the back post.
The perfect response to Saturday’s reverse in Milton Keynes.
Two-nil to the Super Hoops.