LATE, late drama at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium saw Rangers denied victory by Charlton Athletic as late as the 95th minute.
The R’s looked to be on course for a 2-1 win through goals from Geoff Cameron (six minutes) and Marc Pugh (70) – the latter on target on the back of some fine individual skill by substitute Bright Osayi-Samuel.
Sandwiched in between those two QPR goals was Lyle Taylor’s first levelling effort (56), the visiting hotshot turning in Albie Morgan’s initial low shot.
And the Addicks had a second equaliser at the death, Naby Sarr eventually latching onto a free-kick from deep before keeping his composure to shoot low and beyond Joe Lumley.
Following our 5-3 reverse against Barnsley seven days ago, QPR boss Mark Warburton made two changes to his starting XI for this capital clash.
Pugh and Nahki Wells were both drafted into Rangers’ line-up, with Lee Wallace and Osayi-Samuel dropping down among the substitutes.
In a 4-2-2-2 formation, the R’s began as: Lumley; Todd Kane, Toni Leistner, Grant Hall (captain), Ryan Manning; Cameron, Luke Amos; Ebere Eze, Pugh; Jordan Hugill, Wells.
Looking to bounce back from that disappointing defeat at Oakwell last weekend, Rangers made the perfect starting to this London derby – hitting the front after only six minutes.
Eze’s flighted free-kick from just inside Charlton’s half was cleared only as far as a waiting Cameron on eight yards, who duly volleyed the ball into the bottom left-hand corner.
R’s fans on their feet, then, and the home crowd were also appreciative of a Lumley save a minute later that denied an instant visiting reply.
Ben Purrington’s left-flank cross was met by Taylor at the near post, whose subsequent low effort at point-blank range was kept out by the feet of Lumley.
A close shave for Rangers, who themselves so nearly added a second goal on 14 minutes.
Eze led the home breakaway and, when his right-wing centre was nodded back across goal by Hugill, Wells – albeit under pressure from his marker – could only direct his five-yard header onto the top of the crossbar and over.
If the home side should have doubled their lead then, they certainly should have done come the 23rd minute when Wells spurned the definition of a gilt-edged opportunity.
Charlton’s Purrington got his backpass all wrong but, when Wells bore down on goal, his subsequent low attempt was turned around the post by a fine save from goalkeeper Dillon Phillips.
Rangers worked one more decent opportunity nine minutes before half-time. Eze’s corner kick from the right picked out an unmarked Hall at the near post, whose glancing header only just evaded the opposite upright.
At the other end, Charlton also threatened an equaliser, in the 39th minute.
Conor Gallagher's initial box effort was repelled by Lumley, before the ball eventually looped up off visiting forward Macauley Bonne and into the arms of the grateful QPR 'keeper.
For all their chances, Rangers should have gone in at the break leading by a greater margin.
Warburton’s men also began the second half with intent. In the 54th minute, Pugh drove at the visiting defence before releasing Eze, whose low shot was parried by Phillips before Charlton managed to usher the ball to safety.
But Rangers were made to pay for not making the most of their opportunities – the visitors drawing themselves level in the 56th minute.
A Charlton corner was cleared only as far as substitute Morgan on the edge of the penalty area and, when he blasted the ball back towards goal, a waiting Taylor turned it home from inside the box to restore parity for Lee Bowyer’s team.
An obvious blow for the R’s, who waited for 10 minutes before bringing on Osayi-Samuel at the expense of Wells as they went in search of that so far elusive second goal.
That change had the desired impact – QPR back in front only four minutes after Bright’s introduction.
The winger’s brilliant display of strength and trickery in equal measure allowed him to eventually free himself of the Charlton defence down the right, before his pullback was tapped home by Pugh at close range.
This contest really opened up from that moment on.
Shortly after Rangers regained their lead, Charlton went mightily close through Taylor and Alfie Doughty – the former heading against the bar.
At the other end, meanwhile, Phillips was twice called into action to fashion impressive stops from Osayi-Samuel and Eze. In between those attempts, the R’s used their final two subs when Josh Scowen and Ilias Chair deputised for Amos and Pugh.
That looked to be that in terms of goalscoring action, even though the Hoops had further opportunities to add a third.
Instead, the visitors dealt Rangers an almighty blow with almost the last kick of the game.
Sarr raced onto the ball following a free-kick from deep, and subsequently buried his low attempt past Lumley to earn Charlton a point.