QPR went down 2-1 against Peterborough United at Weston Homes Stadium.
Despite taking the lead on 50 minutes when Ilias Chair’s corner deceived everyone and ended up in the back of the net, the R’s were pegged back just six minutes later when Harrison Burrows fired home from close range beyond Seny Dieng.
And as the R’s pushed on in search of a winner, they were caught by the ultimate punch when the hosts broke on the counter attack and Siriki Dembele kept his head to grab all three points.
It was a tough pill to swallow for Rangers but credit must also be given to a Peterborough side who themselves were only interested in winning this game.
Mark Warburton made two changes from the side that beat Blackburn Rovers on Tuesday night, with Stefan Johansen and Charlie Austin coming in for Andre Dozzell and Chris Willock.
It meant the R’s lined up with Seny Dieng between the posts behind a back three of Rob Dickie, Jimmy Dunne and Yoann Barbet. Albert Adomah continued on the right flank following his impressive mid-week display against Rovers, while Sam McCallum operated on the left side.
Johansen, back following his one-match suspension after collecting his fifth yellow card of the season against Fulham, partnered Dom Ball in the middle of the park.
Ilias Chair operated in the hold behind the strike duo of Austin and Lyndon Dykes.
The R’s were backed by almost 4,000 travelling fans while the hosts, buoyed by their win over Hull City on Wednesday evening, were also in good voice at Weston Homes Stadium.
And it was Peterborough who flew out of the blocks, and thought they had taken the lead in the opening minute from the first corner of the match.
After Harrison Burrows’ centre was tipped over by the retreating Dieng, the subsequent corner was stabbed home from close range after being flicked on at the near post, but the assistant’s flag was up to the relief of the visitors.
QPR soon grew into the game and a brilliant ball from the right by Adomah almost allowed Austin the opportunity to convert from five yards but Dai Cornell in the Posh goal did well to flick the ball to safety.
It was a lively affair with strong challenges from both sides which the referee was happy to allow as he sought to let the game flow.
McCallum burst down the left and appeared to be upended as he burst into the penalty box but, again, complaints – and appeals for a spotkick – were waived away.
Midway through the half Adomah found space on the right but his floated centre alluded Austin at the far post.
At the other end of the pitch, Peterborough looked dangerous in attack and played some great quick-passing football as they bid to make it back-to-back wins in the Championship.
On 39 minutes, QPR had three chances in quick succession to take the lead but were unable to take the opportunities. Chair’s initial shot from the edge of the area was parried by Cornell into the path of the Dykes. The Scotland striker’s effort from eight yards was saved, and Austin’s follow-up from a tight angle flew wide of the far post.
In an end-to-end game, Peterborough were next to go close – and how close they were! Jorge Grant took aim from 20 yards and the ball fizzed inches wide with Dieng rooted to the spot.
As the half came to an end, both sides could rightly feel they should be in front which suggested a draw was a fair reflection at this point of the contest.
The game carried on right where it had left off after the interval with both sides only interested in looking to win this match.
Peterborough were first to go close again, this time a low ball into the centre was destined for the foot of the onrushing Siriki Dembele but Dieng was there to get a vital touch.
The R’s went straight down the other end and won a corner when Chair’s effort was deflected wide – and it was from this set piece that Rangers would take the lead.
Chair delivered from the left and the ball seemed to evade everyone before bouncing into the back of the net.
Chair took the acclaim from his team-mates as well as the 4,000 R’s fans at that end of the stadium.
The lead lasted just six minutes, however. Peterborough moved the ball well down the right before pulling it back and it fell into the path of Burrows unmarked at the far post who slammed the ball beyond Dieng.
The hosts were in the ascendancy now and just moments later a great ball across the face of goal found substitute Idris Kanu in space but his first-time effort hit the side netting.
Warburton introduced Luke Amos for Dom Ball as he looked to wrestle control of the game.
Adomah picked out Austin with a neat delivery just after the hour mark. The R’s striker did well to divert the ball goalwards but was unable to get the power needed to trouble Cornell.
Dunne went close moments later but saw his header from Johansen’s corner also saved by Cornell.
With little over 20 minutes remaining, Andre Gray came on for Austin.
The game really opened up in the closing stages. Gray saw his turn and shot saved as the R’s pushed for a winner but the hosts also continued to pose problems at the other end of the pitch.
Rangers were grateful to Dieng for a making an excellent save to deny Jack Taylor on the break while Dembele could only send the rebound over the bar.
With ten minutes remaining, Willock came on for McCallum as Warburton made his final substitution of the afternoon.
The game became more and more open, and in injury time while the R’s were pushing for a winner they were caught on the break and Dembele made no mistake.
It was hard to take for everyone of a QPR persuasion, particularly the fans who had backed the team in such fantastic numbers.