RANGERS rounded off their home campaign in style – with this excellent 4-3 victory ending Millwall’s play-off hopes heading into the final round of fixtures in the Sky Bet Championship.
An entertaining affair that really came to life with six goals after half-time, Conor Masterson’s first career goal gave QPR a 43rd-minute lead.
Former R’s striker Matt Smith came on for Millwall at half-time and was on target only four minutes later thanks to an expert finish.
But both that goal and his introduction couldn’t deny the Hoops, who produced their best performance since football returned in June.
Ryan Manning (52 minutes) restored Rangers’ lead, then Ebere Eze made it 3-1 10 minutes later.
Shaun Hutchinson brought Millwall back within a goal in the 67th minute, before sub Todd netted for the R’s only a minute after his introduction on 73 minutes.
The Lions rounded off the scoring through Jayson Molumby in the fifth minute of added time.
Following Tuesday’s 1-1 draw at Luton Town, QPR boss Mark Warburton made two changes to his starting XI for the visit of Gary Rowett’s men.
Angel Rangel (Achilles) missed out through injury, while Bright Osayi-Samuel was also left out of Rangers’ matchday squad. So into the team came Masterson and Olamide Shodipo.
The R's lined up in a 4-2-3-1 formation: Joe Lumley; Ossie Kakay, Masterson, Yoann Barbet (captain), Manning; Dom Ball, Geoff Cameron; Shodipo, Ilias Chair, Eze; Luke Amos.
QPR enjoyed the better opening, even though clear-cut chances were at a premium early on.
Rangers fashioned the first effort of note on 16 minutes, with Chair firing into the side-netting following patient build-up play from the hosts.
Millwall went mightily close to edging in front three minutes later. Substitute Jon Dadi Bodvarsson – brought on after just 11 minutes following an injury to Mason Bennett – saw his far-post header strike the post, that after meeting Shane Ferguson’s left-flank centre from deep.
At the other end, Rangers threatened again on 22 minutes and were denied only by the reflexes of Millwall goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski, who pulled off a fantastic double stop to deny both Chair and Amos.
R’s custodian Lumley pulled off his first save of the match just short of the half-hour mark, getting down at his bottom right-hand post to keep out Tom Bradshaw’s deft header.
There weren’t many more opportunities before half-time. QPR – who had the better of the possession in the first half – would head into the break with a one-goal advantage, though.
Eze’s right-wing corner saw Barbet subsequently force a flying save from Bialkowski, before Masterson followed up to slam Rangers in front.
Now chasing the game and their play-off hopes with it, Millwall threw on Smith for Mahlon Romeo ahead of the second period.
Rangers so nearly doubled their advantage only two minutes into it, with Bialkowski pulling off yet another superb save to deny the impressive Chair, who let fly from 20 yards.
Millwall levelled things up only two minutes later.
Jed Wallace was the architect, stealing in down the right for the Lions before his cutback from the byline was finished off smartly by ex-R’s marksman Smith from eight yards.
However, the visitors were on terms for just three minutes.
Manning’s hopeful 20-yard effort carried no real power but somehow squirmed under the otherwise excellent Bialkowski, as Rangers restored their lead.
The home side spurned a plethora of opportunities after that.
In the 54th minute, Bialkowski pulled off a fine save to deny Kakay, after QPR broke forward in numbers. A minute later, meanwhile, Manning struck the bar from the edge of the box.
Just short of the hour, Chair fired wide from inside the penalty area when put clean through on goal by Manning. Then, on 60 minutes, Amos’ close-range shot was blocked bravely by Millwall skipper Alex Pearce, after Bialkowski spilled Shodipo’s right-wing centre.
Rangers finally struck a third goal in the 62nd minute. A free-flowing move saw Manning and Chair combine to free Eze down the left and, when the talented playmaker strode into the area unchallenged thereafter, he confidently slid the ball beyond Bialkowski and into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.
This topsy-turvy encounter wasn’t finished there, though, and after Millwall’s Pearce had an effort chalked off for offside in the 64th minute, Hutchinson’s glancing header from a corner reduced the deficit three minutes later.
The Lions appeared to take great encouragement from their second goal, but an inspired 72nd-minute substitution from Warburton helped to clinch the points in the 73rd.
Kane replaced Shodipo and scored with his first touch of the game to ultimately ensure all three points would remain this side of the capital – the right-back stooping to meet Ball’s left-wing cross at the back post with a fabulous finish.
The goalscoring action continued, with sub Molumby’s deflected effort deep into injury time giving Millwall a glimmer of hope.
But the hosts would survive a late scare – Hutchinson’s last-gasp attempt following a corner ruled out for offside, much to Rangers’ relief.
Four-three to the Super Hoops.