THERE was late heartbreak for Rangers against Reading, on a day QPR fans returned to the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium for the first time since February.
This contest was one of few clear chances and looked set to be heading for a goalless draw.
The visitors had other ideas, though, as Michael Olise struck as late as the 89th minute to win it for Reading.
Following Tuesday’s score draw at Millwall, QPR boss Mark Warburton made one change to his starting XI for the visit of the high-flying Royals. Chris Willock came in for Dom Ball, who dropped to the bench.
In a 4-2-3-1 formation, Rangers lined up as: Seny Dieng; Osman Kakay, Rob Dickie, Yoann Barbet, Niko Hamalainen; Geoff Cameron, Tom Carroll; Bright Osayi-Samuel, Ilias Chair, Willock; Lyndon Dykes.
Fifth-placed Reading – minus the services of their top two scorers through injury, Yakou Meite and Lucas Joao – included QPR academy product Josh Laurent among their starters.
Rangers were first to go close. In the 10th minute, Chair’s stinging 18-yard drive was beaten away by the fists of visiting goalkeeper Rafael.
At the other end, Reading first threatened on 14 minutes. After a left-flank corner, Michael Morrison’s far-post header dropped just wide of the far post.
A minute later, meanwhile, visiting attacker Sone Aluko shot marginally wide of the opposite post – that after dispossessing Chair just inside of QPR’s half.
Reading gained a degree of control as the first half progressed. Sam Baldock was inches away from connecting with Ovie Ejaria’s dangerous centre in the 21st minute, following Laurent’s defence-splitting pass.
There would be no goalscoring action before half-time, but the R’s tried their best to step things up ahead of the break. In the 35th minute, Carroll’s 20-yard drive was deflected behind courtesy of Royals skipper Liam Moore’s brave block.
Then, six minutes later, Kakay couldn’t quite get enough purchase on Osayi-Samuel’s cutback from the left, with Reading able to shepherd the ball to safety.
Reading made the stronger start to the second period, with Warburton subsequently opting to make a first change just short of the hour mark. Albert Adomah replaced Willock.
The final 30 or so minutes were finely poised. With clear opportunities largely limited throughout, could either side conjure up a late winner to edge this hard-fought encounter?
Rangers went mightily close 13 minutes from time, as Chair skipped into the visiting half before seeing his curling 20-yard effort crash back off the right-hand post.
A minute later, Osayi-Samuel – who picked up a knock – was replaced by Macauley Bonne.
The R’s would be beaten ultimately, though, after a fine individual effort from the visitors.
Olise struck only a minute from the end of normal time, curling home in spectacular fashion from 25 yards at the School End to win it late on for the Royals.