RANGERS rose to within a point of the Sky Bet Championship play-off places thanks to an emphatic 4-2 victory over Blackburn Rovers at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium.
After 15 previous winless encounters against Rovers, this was QPR’s first success over the Lancashire side since 1999 – and the first at home since way back in 1993!
However, that record was sent tumbling in west London, where Nahki Wells got the ball rolling for the hosts with the opening goal in the 30th minute.
Further strikes from Ebere Eze (49 minutes), Bright Osayi-Samuel (60) and Jordan Hugill (77) rubberstamped this W12 triumph over Rovers, whose goals came through Bradley Dack (57, penalty) and Adam Armstrong (86).
Following Wednesday night’s 3-0 defeat at Cardiff City, R’s boss Mark Warburton made two changes to his team for the visit of Blackburn.
Yoann Barbet returned from a one-game ban to regain his place in a Rangers back four, while there was also a start for Wells. Dom Ball and Hugill dropped down to the substitutes’ bench.
QPR, in a 4-2-3-1 formation, lined up as: Liam Kelly; Angel Rangel, Toni Leistner (captain), Barbet, Ryan Manning; Geoff Cameron, Josh Scowen; Osayi-Samuel, Ilias Chair, Eze; Wells.
When the game got underway, the first half an hour made for a somewhat uninspiring Championship affair.
Chances were virtually non-existent – with Cameron’s low second-minute effort for the R’s comfortably held by Rovers custodian Christian Walton – and visitors Blackburn had much more of the possession during the opening stages.
However, Rovers’ superior possession count mattered little come the 30th minute – Rangers pressing ahead following a well-worked team move at the School End.
Tidy approach play from the Warburton’s men led to Manning crossing from the left and, when Osayi-Samuel guided the ball back across goal with his head, Wells arrived to strike home on the half-volley from eight yards.
Rangers were in front and, 10 minutes later, spurned a decent chance to make it 2-0. Chair played a neat one-two with Wells before slipping in Osayi-Samuel, who blasted over from 16 yards.
That opportunity proved to be the last of the half. QPR had also taken confidence from their opening goal and, once half-time arrived, the possession statistics were relatively even.
Rangers started the second half as they finished the first.
And just four minutes after the break, the R’s doubled their tally for the afternoon.
More neat football ended with Manning feeding Eze and, when the latter knocked the ball past Greg Cunningham and strode into the area, he confidently slid the ball past Walton from 10 yards.
It looked like Blackburn now had it all to do – at least they did until they won a 57th-minute penalty when Barbet went through the back of Dack just inside the area.
The visitors’ top goalscorer subsequently dusted himself down to coolly dispatch from 12 yards, stroking the ball home into the bottom right-hand corner with what was Rovers’ first shot on target.
But Rangers regained their two-goal lead and authority only three minutes later.
Osayi-Samuel, with his back to goal six yards out, took control of Scowen’s pass into him before turning and shooting low past Walton at the Loft End.
R’s fans were obviously on their feet again and, before the re-start could even take place, Osayi-Samuel was given a standing ovation as he left the field to be replaced by Hugill.
Team-mate Chair was also given a similarly-positive reception in the 72nd minute, with Marc Pugh taking his place.
Rangers so nearly added a fourth in the 74th minute. From the left-hand touchline, Hugill knocked the ball past his marker before charging into the area – only to be put off by visiting ‘keeper Walton, who rushed off his goal-line. In the end, Hugill poked wide from six-yards out.
But the R’s striker would soon get himself on the scoresheet to make it 4-1 to the Super Hoops.
Manning crossed from the left and, when Hugill rose highest in the box, he then planted his header into the left-hand corner of the net.
Rovers replied in the 86th minute when Armstrong slid home Elliott Bennett’s right-wing centre at close range.
But it was Rangers who went into the international break in perfect fashion – running out 4-2 winners in the end.