REDA Khadra’s late strike saw Rangers slip to defeat in this promotion clash at Ewood Park.
Backed by more than 1,000 travelling fans from west London, both QPR and hosts Blackburn Rovers spurned good opportunities to lead in the first half.
But it was Rovers who ended their recent goal drought to take all three points, as Khadra’s 78th-minute free-kick got the better of substitute goalkeeper David Marshall.
R’s boss Mark Warburton was minus the services of Dion Sanderson for the trip to Ewood – now serving a three-match ban for his straight red card against Blackpool in midweek – though was able to welcome back Rob Dickie who acted as a direct replacement in central defence.
That was Rangers’ only change to the starting XI after the Blackpool win on Wednesday, with Sam McCallum named on the bench following a long-term absence through injury.
Charlie Austin missed out altogether with a knock, while Lee Wallace and Lyndon Dykes remained unavailable with their own respective injuries.
Hosts Blackburn came into this contest winless in five and without a goal in all of those fixtures – with the absence of star striker Ben Brereton-Diaz really being felt.
But Tony Mowbray’s men began with intent and looked to pin the R’s back in the opening stages.
Rangers struggled to get out of their own half and arguably should have been behind come the 14th minute.
As the R’s protested that the ball had gone out of play around the halfway line, Blackburn quickly broke and, when the ball was fed through to Khadra, his subsequent low attempt was repelled by Dieng.
It took Rangers half an hour to really settle, but the visitors were much better in possession after that – producing two fine opportunities to take the lead before half-time.
First, in the 35th minute, Jeff Hendrick’s defence-splitting pass was latched onto by Albert Adomah, whose low effort was blocked by goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski.
Then, just two minutes later, skipper Stefan Johansen teed up Ilias Chair to slice wide from 12 yards.
Blackburn also spurned their own chance to take the lead on the stroke of half-time.
As Rangers attempted to play the ball out from the back, Sam Field was caught in possession but Rovers couldn’t capitalise – Bradley Johnson shooting straight at Dieng from the penalty spot.
Unfortunately, that proved to be the QPR ‘keeper’s final contribution of the afternoon.
Dieng was involved in a collision towards the end of the first period and, deemed unable to continue at the break, was replaced by Marshall ahead of the second half.
Marshall was soon called into action.
In the 48th minute, the Scotland international pulled off a fine save to deny Khadra, pushing the ball past his far post after the former’s fierce effort from the left-hand side of the box.
After that, there was a lengthy stoppage in play as Ryan Nyambe was eventually stretchered off following an innocuous challenge with Rangers’ Jimmy Dunne.
Play got back underway just short of the hour, with Warburton making a second sub on 62 minutes. Andre Gray replaced Chris Willock.
The game continued to open up and, in the 68th minute, a final R’s change arrived. McCallum deputised for Adomah.
But just as Rangers were beginning to see more of the ball heading into the closing stanza, Blackburn seized the initiative in the 78th minute.
The Hoops conceded a free-kick out on the left and, from what looked like the perfect crossing position, Khadra bamboozled Marshall by firing the ball straight into the net.
Suddenly, the R’s were firmly up against it – and Marshall subsequently pulled off two important saves to deny both Tyrhys Dolan and Ryan Giles.
At the other end, Hendrick threatened in the 89th minute when his deft header, from Chair’s inswinging cross from the left, whistled past the right-hand post.
But there would be no Rangers reply, ultimately.
Six minutes were added on at the death, but the R’s were unable to conjure up a reply as Blackburn jumped above QPR and into third in the Championship table.