QPR ran out comfortable winners at Birmingham City as goals from Grant Hall and Bright Osayi-Samuel made it seven points from a possible nine for Mark Warburton’s men.
After a first-half of few clear-cut chances for either side, the visitors took the lead on the stroke of half-time when Hall slid home from close range to end a goalmouth scramble.
Osayi-Samuel doubled the advantage with a stunning solo effort mid-way through the second period to ease the nerves amongst the travelling faithful at St Andrews.
R’s boss Warburton made one change from the side that beat Preston at the weekend, bringing in Luke Amos for Jordan Hugill.
It meant the R’s lined up with Joe Lumley between the sticks behind a back four of Ryan Manning, Toni Leistner, Grant Hall and Todd Kane.
Amos sat in front of them alongside Geoff Cameron, while Marc Pugh, Ebere Eze and Bright Osayi-Samuel were in a more advanced position.
Nahki Wells led the line for the visitors.
Rangers went into this game looking to build on a positive draw at Derby and our home win over the Lilywhites, while Blues were aiming to extend their unbeaten run to five matches.
Both sides knew that victory would take them within three points of the top six.
After a quiet opening period with no chances made at either end of the pitch, the hosts created the first opportunity of the night on nine minutes and it was all of Jacques Maghoma’s own making.
The Birmingham midfielder jinked his way through a couple of challenges before firing just wide of Lumley’s far post from 20 yards.
In a game that really struggled to burst into life, Birmingham’s Alvaro Gimenez saw his header loop onto the top of Lumley’s goal from eight yards on 22 minutes while just after the half-hour mark, Jeremie Bela got in down the right side before flashing his low shot just wide of the far post.
As half-time approached, Eze got his first real sight of goal when Kane’s delivery from the right fell into his path but after controlling it neatly, the R’s No.10 could only send his effort high and wide, much to his own frustration.
But on the stroke of half-time, Rangers took the lead with as scrappy a goal as you are likely to see – not that anyone of a QPR persuasion cared!
Eze’s free-kick from the right caused a chaotic goalmouth scramble in the six-yard box before the ball eventually fell to Hall who found the back of the net from close range.
The half-time whistle blew moments after the restart. While it wasn’t a classic opening 45 minutes from either side, the visitors went into the break with the lead.
The second period began much like the first with few real chances of note created. The hosts had a free-kick just before the hour mark from the edge of the area which Josh McEachran took but Amos was well positioned to deflect the ball to safety.
There were almost 700 R’s fans in attendance doing their bit to cheer the lads on as the R’s focused on a disciplined performance, both in and out of possession.
And on 67 minutes they were given a goal their travelling backing deserved with a stunning solo goal from Osayi-Samuel.
The pacey winger picked the ball up deep in his own half before turning and winning a footrace with Maxime Colin.
Once he got into the area, he still had plenty of work to do as Blues keeper Connal Trueman came out to close down the angle – but it wasn’t a problem for the former Blackpool man who thrashed the ball into the roof of the net.
The R’s fans behind the goal celebrated deliriously as Osayi-Samuel was joined by his ecstatic team-mates.
For the closing 20 minutes, the typically hard-working Wells was replaced by Jordan Hugill, while the industrious Pugh came off for Dominic Ball.
Osayi-Samuel grew and grew as the game wore on and in the 77th minute ran 50 yards to put in a fantastic defensive tackle, which saw technical director Chris Ramsey in the stands rise to his feet and applaud.
The organisation of the R’s set-up was clear to see. It was limiting what the hosts could create, much to the home crowd’s frustration while Warburton’s men always posed a threat on the break.
Hugill saw an effort from distance go wide while at the other end Jutkiewicz had a shot deflected just beyond the post.
QPR comfortably closed the game out to not only seal back-to-back wins but also back-to-back clean sheets.