IN a game of two halves, Jordy de Wijs was the match-winner, as Queens Park Rangers come from behind to seal a dramatic comeback win over London rivals Millwall.
After going in at break two down, Rangers had it all to do, but second-half strikes from Charlie Austin, Stefan Johansen and then eventually de Wijs confirmed the 3-2 victory for the R’s.
The visitors led early on courtesy of Jed Wallace’s sixth minute strike and things got worse for the hosts on 39 minutes when Mason Bennett slotted home.
But a dramatic second half completed the unlikeliest comebacks for Rangers – sealing our ninth victory of 2021.
Heading into the R’s third home clash within in a week, Mark Warburton made three changes from the side that suffered defeat to Huddersfield town at Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium on Saturday.
These changes saw captain Geoff Cameron, Jordy de Wijs and Lyndon Dykes all returning to the starting XI. Whilst it meant Sam Field, Osman Kakay and Ilias Chair were rested, taking up a place on the bench.
Ultimately this saw Rangers lining up with Seny Dieng between the posts behind a back five from right to left, of Todd Kane, Rob Dickie, Jordy de Wijs, Yoann Barbet and Lee Wallace.
Stefan Johansen partnered Cameron in midfield behind Willock, who took up the No 10. role in Chair’s absence. With Dykes partnering Charlie Austin in attack.
Despite the vast number of games coming the R’s way this month, it was a quick start in W12.
Initially the visitors Millwall went close through Wallace, but it was Rangers who were able to carve out the first effort on target.
A nice move between Dykes, Wallace and Austin eventually saw the 31-year-old striking the ball towards Bartosz Bialkowski’s goal, only for his effort to be scuffed and comfortably collected by the Polish keeper.
However, with only six minutes on the clock Millwall took the lead.
Kane was caught on the ball, before Ryan Woods slid in Wallace, who slotted the ball home from a tight angle, for his eighth strike of the season.
After going behind the R’s looked for an instant reaction and despite getting into a couple of noticeable areas were unable to force the Lions keeper into action.
But, as we approached the 14th minute Rangers thought they were level.
A long throw from Dykes on the right-hands side, found de Wijs who was able to flick the ball on for Dickie to bundle it home, but the celebrations were quickly muted when the official raised his flag for offside.
Moments later another Dykes throw-in was able to cause more trouble to the Lions defence.
Dickie initially met it this time and his goal-bound header forced Bialkowski into a fine reflex save and the visitors dangerously clung on to their lead once again.
Rangers tried to push for an equaliser, but it was the visitors who looked more likely to double their advantage.
Mahlon Romeo and goal scorer Wallace both went close for the Lions.
And to the R’s dismay as we reached the closing stages of the first half, Millwall did double their tally for the evening.
Initially Mason Bennett found himself free in the six-yard box, with many almost assuming the offside flag would go up, thankfully R’s stopper Dieng was on hand to keep out the former Derby man.
But, from the resulting throw-in, Bennett quickly made amends.
Jake Cooper flicked it on for the 23-year-old, who emphatically volleyed the ball home for the Lions second of the night – giving Rangers a mountain to climb.
Warburton’s side looked to find a route back into the game before the half-time whistle, but were unable to trouble the visiting defence and knew that if they were to turn it round they had it all to do in the second half.
Following the restart, Rangers dominated possession early on and within only 6 minutes found that much needed goal and more importantly a way back into the game.
Cameron drifted in a great ball from the left, picking out Austin who was able to flick the ball past the out-stretched Bialkowski – for his sixth strike since returning in January.
This goal instantly gave the R’s a lift and full-back Wallace was almost on hand to capitalise on this.
After cutting in from the left, the Scott pulled the trigger, but his effort was weak and drifted wide.
Rangers had their tails up and continued to threaten in front of goal.
A counter attacking move, led by goal scorer Austin should’ve found Dykes for a simple tap-in, however before he could make that vital pass Cooper was there to clear the danger for the visitors.
Despite Rangers’ early dominance of the ball in the second-half, it wasn’t all one-way traffic.
Shaun Hutchinson probably should’ve wrapped up the game for the Lions on the hour mark.
The centre-half was able to meet Wallace’s out-swinging free-kick, but thankfully from a R’s persuasion could only fire over from close range.
In the 67th minute Rangers were level.
A direct run from Willock found Dykes, who was able to play in to the influential Wallace, who with once touch squared the ball across the six-yard box for Johansen and to the R's delight the Norwegian was able to squirm the ball past the Polish stopper for his second R’s strike – making it all square in W12.
After drawing level, Rangers gaffer Warburton was on hand to make a couple of changes, with Ilias Chair and Sam Field entering the field and 23-year-old Chair made an instant impact.
A great fizzed ball from QPR’s No 10. beat Dykes but found Austin at the far post and the in-form front man was able to connect well with the ball, only to be denied by a great save from Bialkowski.
As we headed into the remaining 15 minutes, the game began to open up and it was all to play for in west London and the arrival of substitutes Macauley Bonne and Albert Adomah signalled a huge amount of attacking intent from the R’s.
With five minutes of the 90 left, Rangers pushed for the winner.
Initially Adomah whipped in a great ball, which found Wallace at the far post only for the ball to get stuck under his feet at the last moment.
However, only a minute later and Rangers completed the comeback and were ahead for the first time.
The increasingly busy Dykes was able to win a flick-on and pick out substitute Bonne, only for the former Charlton Athletic man's effort to be deflected for a corner kick.
And it was from the resulting corner that the R’s found the winner.
Chair swung in a great ball which found the head of de Wijs and the looping header from the Hull City loanee beat everyone giving Rangers the lead in the most topsy turvy game.
Soon after referee Jarred Gillett added on an additional four minutes and a somewhat shell shocked Millwall tried to pull themselves level.
Thankfully to the R’s delight Dieng was on hand to calmly collect the ball and help see out the remaining seconds and Rangers held on to their ninth victory of the calendar year.