MARC Pugh and Jordan Hugill were on target, as Rangers shared four goals with Birmingham City in an entertaining encounter at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium.
Unbeaten in 12 games before this Sky Bet Championship fixture, Pep Clotet’s Birmingham took a 24th-minute lead through Scott Hogan, before the R’s roared back with two goals in four second-half minutes through Pugh (51) and Hugill (55).
However, QPR would be denied all three points nine minutes from time – Hogan notching both his and Blues' second goal from a visiting set-piece.
Following victory over Derby County in midweek that made it four games unbeaten for the R’s, boss Mark Warburton made two changes to his starting XI for the visit of Birmingham – one of them enforced less than an hour from kick-off.
Skipper Grant Hall was injured in the warm-up, so Conor Masterson deputised. Angel Rangel also returned to the team at right-back, with Todd Kane dropping down among the substitutes.
In a 4-2-3-1 formation, QPR lined up as: Liam Kelly; Rangel (captain), Masterson, Yoann Barbet, Ryan Manning; Dom Ball, Geoff Cameron; Bright Osayi-Samuel, Pugh, Ebere Eze; Hugill.
When the contest got underway, the first 10 minutes made for a relatively quiet opening.
The first real opportunity of the match arrived in the 12th minute, and it was a chance the visitors probably should have done better from.
Daniel Crowley’s hanging centre picked out the in-form Hogan on the penalty spot, whose subsequent header only just evaded the foot of the right-hand post.
Rangers responded by putting the ball in the net come the 19th minute – only for the linesman’s flag to deny the home side.
Osayi-Samuel’s cutting pass put skipper-for-the-afternoon Rangel in the clear down the right, before his low cross was touched home by Hugill. Video replays supported the fact that the R’s forward was indeed in an offside position.
Visitors Birmingham then compounded matters by taking the lead five minutes later.
Hogan timed his run well to beat the offside trap and race onto Maxime Colin’s ball over the top, before prodding past the onrushing Kelly and into the net.
Double disappointment for the R’s, who hadn’t exactly been second best.
Birmingham admittedly looked dangerous in attack, though the first half continued to be a closely-fought encounter up until the break.
Osayi-Samuel threatened four minutes before the interval, but his shot from an acute angle crashed into the side-netting.
Rangers would deservedly level matters, however, striking six minutes into the closing period.
Eze’s dinked free-kick from the right was headed back across goal by Hugill, before Pugh stole in to smash home the equaliser from point-blank range.
Four minutes later, the R’s were ahead.
Eze was heavily involved once again, combining with Osayi-Samuel down the right. The latter then sent in a dangerous low cross that saw Hugill get in front of his marker at the near post to poke the ball past former R’s goalkeeper Lee Camp for his 13th goal of the campaign.
In quick-fire fashion, Rangers now had the initiative – but the contest continued to be a tight one.
Jeremie Bela tested Kelly with a distance drive in the 65th minute, seven minutes before the former was stretchered off in the 72nd. Meanwhile, the R’s made a first sub on 74 minutes when Ilias Chair replaced Pugh.
QPR threatened a third goal in the 77th minute when Osayi-Samuel’s teasing low left-wing centre was cut out by the visiting defence in the six-yard box.
At the other end, Kelly was called into action to tip the ball away at his left-hand post in the 81st minute, after defender Marc Roberts headed goalwards from close range.
But Birmingham would restore parity from the resultant corner.
The Loft End set-piece was flicked on by Gary Gardner, before Hogan stooped to head home his second goal of the afternoon.
The R’s would now have to muster a third goal to win this game.
That goal should have arrived in the 85th minute, after Masterson’s defence-splitting pass from deep put Eze in the clear. The playmaker’s subsequent lofted attempt was too close to ‘keeper Camp, though, who palmed the ball away.
With time running out, Camp produced another fine save to deny Osayi-Samuel’s box attempt – just moments after penalty claims for a foul on sub Chair were turned down by referee James Linington.
Some eight minutes of stoppage time were added on at the death, mostly for the earlier injury to Birmingham’s Bela.
However, there would be no more scoring action – despite Hogan threatening a hat-trick in the 92nd minute, with Masterson fashioning a big block as the former shot from close range.