NAHKI Wells was again at the double, as Rangers moved into the Sky Bet Championship’s play-off places with a fourth straight win in this London derby.
This was also QPR’s first-ever triumph at The New Den since Millwall took occupancy in 1992, with Wells following up his two goals against Luton Town last week with another brace in south east London.
Wells slammed home his first in the 56th minute to hand Rangers the lead.
And when Shaun Hutchinson drew Millwall level in the 71st minute, the Bermudan international capitalised on home goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski’s error only a minute later to bag Rangers all three points.
Following last weekend’s entertaining 3-2 home victory over Luton, R’s boss Mark Warburton made one enforced change to his starting XI for this cross-capital encounter.
Skipper Grant Hall missed out with a knock, so Geoff Cameron deputised in a Rangers back three.
In a 3-5-2 formation, QPR lined up as: Joe Lumley; Cameron, Toni Leistner (captain), Yoann Barbet; Todd Kane, Dom Ball, Ilias Chair, Ebere Eze, Ryan Manning; Jordan Hugill, Wells.
Unsurprisingly, this London derby against the Lions – who included former R’s striker Matt Smith among their starters – was typically tight and a little untidy early on.
Chances were extremely limited inside the first 15 minutes, with Hoops goalkeeper Lumley forced into the first real save of the contest in the 14th minute. Shane Ferguson’s cross-shot from the left darted towards the near post, but Lumley fashioned a smart catch.
At the other end, Millwall’s Alex Pearce produced an excellent block to keep out the R’s two minutes later. QPR broke through Eze and, when Chair’s right-flank centre eventually broke for Hugill in the box, his fierce low effort was bravely blocked by Pearce.
Rangers tried to get their passing game going, but clear opportunities remained scarce for the remainder of the first half. Just before the half-hour mark, Millwall’s Jed Wallace let fly from 20 yards following a home corner, but his shot flew handsomely over the crossbar.
Nine minutes before the break, Eze’s range attempt had a similar outcome, as the R’s tried to patiently play their way through the thirds.
QPR’s best spell came just before half-time, but the hosts stood firm to remain level ahead of the second half. Wells and Chair both saw box efforts blocked, as Rangers threatened on a couple of occasions before the referee’s whistle was sounded.
Millwall fashioned the first effort of the closing period. Wallace’s 20-yard blast was well held by Lumley.
Soon after, Rangers had appeals for a penalty turned away when Hugill – looking to meet Manning’s right-flank free-kick – went down in the box after jostling with Hutchinson.
However, there would be no denying the R’s of a second-half lead come the 56th minute – Wells doing the damage for his third goal in two games, much to the delight of 2,000 travelling R’s fans in the away end.
Hugill led the breakaway - which also included Chair and Wells - and when the ball eventually broke for the latter in the box, he leathered the ball into the bottom left-hand corner.
Lift-off at The Den – and QPR went close to making it 2-0 on the hour mark. Kane took a touch from Wells’ left-wing cross before shooting over from 16 yards.
Rangers took great confidence from their opening goal of the game, though Millwall went close to equalising in the 65th minute. Hutchinson got in front of his marker to head Ferguson’s free-kick towards goal, but Lumley responded with a fine catch.
Millwall would level matters in the 71st minute, though.
Another Ferguson set-piece, this time from a left-flank corner kick, caused a bit of a goalmouth scramble, before Hutchinson stabbed the ball home from six yards.
An obvious setback for the R’s – but the visitors were back in front only a minute later.
A ball from deep led to an almighty mistake by home goalkeeper Bialkowski, before Wells nipped in to take a touch and gratefully slide the ball into the unguarded net.
Thirteen minutes from time, Rangers spurned a decent opportunity to add a third. Cameron rose highest to meet Manning’s free-kick from the left, but could only head over.
In the 80th minute, Millwall wasted a good chance of their own to make it 2-2 – Wallace driving into the area before shooting just wide of the left-hand post.
In a bid to see out the game, the R’s made two subs late on, as two-goal Wells and Chair made way for Josh Scowen and Marc Pugh.
Thankfully, Rangers were able to do just that – comfortably surviving some five additional minutes at the death to register a 2-1 win in the end.