RANGERS stormed back from two goals down to return to winning ways with a thumping 4-2 victory over Stoke City at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium.
Winless in their previous five encounters, things didn’t look good for the R’s when the visitors raced into a two-goal lead through Sam Clucas (27 minutes) and Tyrese Campbell (31).
But after Mark Warburton’s charges restored parity before half-time thanks to Jordan Hugill (34) and Ebere Eze (38), two more goals in the second half from Bright Osayi-Samuel (71) and sub Ilias Chair (90+1) made the points safe in what were difficult conditions in the capital.
Following Tuesday’s goalless draw at Swansea City, R’s boss Warburton named an unchanged starting XI and substitutes’ bench for the visit of Stoke.
In a 4-2-3-1 formation, Rangers lined up as: Liam Kelly; Angel Rangel, Grant Hall (captain), Yoann Barbet, Ryan Manning; Dom Ball, Geoff Cameron; Osayi-Samuel, Eze, Marc Pugh; Hugill.
When the game got underway, Stoke made the brighter start.
City striker Campbell, currently in a rich vein of goalscoring form having scored four goals in his previous seven league outings, tried his luck in minutes three and four – first shooting wide from 18 yards before forcing R’s goalie Kelly into a smart low take, after Barbet was dispossessed close to his own penalty area.
At the other end, Rangers had claims for a penalty turned down on the quarter-hour mark – that after Hugill tangled with his marker in the box – before twice going extremely close.
On 19 minutes, Hugill somehow skied over from point-blank range, after tidy approach play resulted in Manning crossing low from the left.
Then two minutes later, Manning was again the architect – linking well with Eze and producing a deft back-heel into the path of Pugh, whose box attempt was too close to England custodian Jack Butland.
Despite the inclement west London weather, Rangers continued to create chances, threatening again in the 26th minute. Eze fired wide from the edge of the area, following another dangerous Manning delivery from a free-kick down the left.
However, it was Stoke who opened the scoring – hitting the front on 27 minutes.
An intricate visiting move sent Clucas racing away into QPR’s penalty box, before the attacker kept his cool to wrong-foot Hall and shoot home into the bottom left-hand corner.
With Rangers reeling from going behind, Stoke duly capitalised to strike a quick-fire second goal in the 31st minute.
Nick Powell fed the in-form Campbell, who subsequently strode into the area before sending a low effort into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.
The R’s were left stunned – but battled back in fantastic fashion to score two goals of their own and level matters within seven minutes.
First, Manning – who had already been involved in much of Rangers’ positive attacking play – produced a sublime low pass that sent Hugill in behind Stoke’s defence for him to hammer beyond Butland in the 34th minute.
And four minutes later, another clever ball – this time from Pugh – enabled Eze to race in and coolly slot beyond the City goalkeeper.
Rangers pressed for third goal ahead of the break, though couldn’t find a way past Butland and co. once more before the end of an entertaining opening period.
Skipper Hall spurned a fine chance on the stroke of half-time, prodding wide from all of a couple of yards out following a home corner kick.
Stoke fashioned the first attempt of the second half, as Powell acrobatically shot over the crossbar on the turn in the 50th minute.
Rangers responded two minutes later, with Hugill’s low effort forcing Butland into an impressive one-handed save away to his left.
A first change followed, in the 61st minute, as the R’s sought to add a third goal. Pugh made way for Chair.
Stoke also made a first sub shortly after, with former QPR midfielder Jordan Cousins replacing Jordan Thompson.
The Potters applied some pressure of their own in the following minutes, though were almost caught out from a counter attack which ended with Butland tipping over in magnificent fashion from Eze in the 69th minute.
Rangers would ultimately find a third goal, though, on 71 minutes.
Barbet’s stunning long pass put Osayi-Samuel in the clear, who subsequently raced into the area, cut the ball back past Danny Batth and slammed home from the acutest of angles.
From two goals down, the R’s now found themselves in front heading into the final stages.
There was a hair-raising moment for the hosts 13 minutes from time, as ‘keeper Kelly – amid some swirling W12 wind and rain – spilled a Joe Allen cross before retrieving the ball in the nick of time as it trickled towards goal.
Then up the other end, on 81 minutes, Osayi-Samuel forced Butland into yet another smart stop, as the R’s worked the chance patiently.
The exciting winger really should have added a Rangers fourth a minute later, scuffing wide on the goal-line as Rangel’s right-wing centre presented him with an open goal.
Thankfully, Warburton’s men weren’t left to rue those missed opportunities – eventually scoring again in the first minute of stoppage time to close the game out.
Manning’s range effort was spilled by Butland, then Chair followed up to slam in the Rangers fourth.
Four-two to the Super Hoops.
The below report was written by 15-year-old Lukas Ross for the club’s inaugural Junior Hoops Takeover Day…
The first chance of the game fell the way of Stoke after three minutes. Tyrese Campbell fired well wide after a positive move from Stoke.
Stoke then had the first shot on target, with Campbell forcing a save from Liam Kelly on five minutes.
QPR’s first real half chance came after a quarter of an hour, when Jordan Hugill got outmuscled on the edge of the box and he then then missed a good chance from three yards out on 19 minutes.
Tom Ince shot straight at Liam Kelly a minute later. Marc Pugh did the same against Jack Butland one minute after that.
Sam Clucas fired home for Stoke to give them the lead with the help of some suspect QPR defending. Campbell then made it two. QPR were reluctant to get a block in and that enabled Campbell to make it 2-0.
QPR get back in it! Jordan Hugill cleverly lifts his effort above Butland and into the Stoke net.
That’s more like it! Eze calmly curled the ball around Butland in the Stoke goal to make it 2-2.
Big chance for QPR at the start of the second half! QPR break quickly on the counter, with Eze forcing a smart stop from Butland.
THE TURNAROUND IS COMPLETE! Bright Osayi-Samuel latched onto a beautiful long ball from Barbet and left a Stoke defender on his backside before curling one in! Limbs in the home end!
Angel Rangel fed the ball inside to Bright as QPR lookd for goal number four but he somehow missed from close to the goal.
A corner is worked to Manning, who goes for goal. The shot is well saved but Ilias Chair is on hand for the rebound to score and seal the points!