QPR grabbed their first win of the season in incredible fashion at Wolves on Wednesday night, with goals from Charlie Austin and a Matt Phillips brace.
Having fallen 2-0 behind through goals from Benik Afobe and Kevin McDonald, the R’s showed incredible grit, character and battling spirit to turn the game on its head and emerge 3-2 victors.
Austin halved the deficit with a bullet header from the imperious Phillips’s cross, before the provider turned match-winner.
After the break, Phillips curled a low effort into the far corner to draw matters level before he stunned Molineux with a venomous 30-yard strike to win the game for Chris Ramsey’s side.
Ramsey made two changes from the team that drew 2-2 with Cardiff City at the weekend, with Grant Hall and Ale Faurlin replacing Clint Hill and Ben Gladwin respectively.
It meant a first competitive start for Faurlin in 12 months, having suffered the third ACL injury of his career last August in a League Cup tie at Burton Albion.
So Rob Green lined up between the sticks, with a back four – from left to right – of Paul Konchesky, Hall, Nedum Onuoha and James Perch.
Faurlin joined Karl Henry in a holding-midfield role, while Tjaronn Chery started on the left, Massimo Luongo in the middle and Matt Phillips on the right.
Austin continued for the R’s in attack.
Meanwhile, Wolves named an unchanged side from the team that drew 1-1 with Hull City on Sunday.
The hosts went into the game looking to extend their unbeaten start to the season to three fixtures, after kicking off the campaign with a 2-1 win at Blackburn.
And in only the second minute Kenny Jackett’s side had a great chance to take the lead, the in-demand Afobe heading just wide from six yards after a great delivery from the left by Dave Edwards.
In the sixth minute Chery had a chance to showcase his set-piece ability, but his free-kick hit the top of the Wolves wall from 20 yards after Austin had won the free-kick.
Less than a minute later, Luongo came incredibly close to opening the scoring when his curling effort from 25 yards seemed to escape Wolves stopper Emiliano Martinez, but the keeper managed to get hold of the ball at the second attempt just as it appeared to be dribbling over the line.
But on 17 minutes Rangers were behind. James Henry found space down the right and centred for Edwards, whose low drive on the edge of the box was blocked by R’s midfielder Henry, but only into the path of Afobe who slammed home from close range.
After a frantic and open start to the game, Rangers seemed to have settled into the match, but the goal gave the hosts a huge lift in front of a partisan Molineux support.
Chery worked Martinez in the 20th minute after a good passing move by the R’s, but the Dutchman’s shot from the edge of the area was well gathered by the Argentinian.
But in truth, Wolves were on top and in the 24th minute they doubled their advantage when Kevin McDonald slammed home from the edge of the area after the R’s rearguard failed to clear their lines.
It was a bullet of a strike, and the R’s were finding it difficult against a confident and free-flowing Wolves team.
Ramsey switched Phillips to the left and Chery to the right as he looked to find a way back into the game, and on 37 minutes the move paid off.
Phillips got to the byline and produced a brilliant cross, which Austin powered home with his head into the roof of the Wolves net.
With Rangers pushing forwards looking for a leveller before the break, Wolves nearly caught them out on the counter-attack, but the impressive Hall was on hand to deny Afobe with a great block at the near post.
Luongo and Phillips had long-range efforts which failed to trouble Martinez as the R’s finished the half strongly.
There was one change at the break, with Adam Le Fondre replacing Nouha Dicko in attack for the hosts.
Early after the restart, Green had to be at his best to deny Afobe his second of the night after he got in behind the Rangers defence. The QPR keeper raced off his line to smother the shot of the Arsenal youth product when he looked set to restore the hosts’ two-goal lead.
But in the 52nd minute it was 2-2. Phillips, back on the right, picked the ball up after good work from Luongo. With few options available, he cut onto his left foot and guided into the far bottom corner to the delight of the travelling R’s faithful.
Having given away a two-goal lead to Cardiff at the weekend, it was an incredible show of character by Ramsey’s men to work their way back into this game after falling behind to two early goals.
And three minutes later the visitors nearly took the lead. Phillips’ brilliant delivery to the far post found Onuoha, but the R’s skipper’s header was well saved at the near post by Martinez.
In an end-to-end game, it was then the turn of Wolves to go close – and how! After Onuoha’s foul on the edge of the area, Afobe’s curling free-kick looked to have found the back of the net. Molineux celebrated, but it was actually the side netting the forward had hit, to the relief of the R’s supporters.
And then Chery was sent clear of the Wolves defence with a clever Austin header, but the Dutchman’s low shot was stopped by Martinez. The R’s forward held his head in his hands, clearly feeling he should have done better.
Incredibly, Phillips slammed home another for Rangers to make it 3-2 to the R’s. With 72 minutes on the clock, Austin won possession in the middle of the park before playing Luongo in. The Australian cleverly fed the ball back to Phillips who took one touch before powering home from 30 yards, with Martinez unable to keep it out, despite getting a hand to it.
Three minutes later, Chery went ever-closer to opening his account, this time seeing his free-kick acrobatically tipped round the post by Martinez.
It was his last involvement in this game. With 15 minutes on the clock, Ramsey made the change, bringing Michael Doughty on in his place.
With little more than ten minutes remaining, McDonald thought he had levelled when his shot from 12 yards took a deflection. With Green beaten, the ball drifted thankfully just wide of the upright.
Back down the other end, and Austin was again the creator, sliding Luongo in. One on one with the keeper, his low shot was well saved by the over-worked Martinez in what was proving to be an unbelievable game of football.
In the closing stages, Rangers really had to work to preserve their lead – and work they did, on a thoroughly enjoyable evening in the Midlands.