Quickfire double in first-half sets Rangers up for three points
QPR maintained their push for the Play-Offs with victory over Town at Loftus Road.
There was little in the game until Pawel Wszolek and Joel Lynch struck in a quickfire double on the half hour mark.
Trevoh Chalobah went close to grabbing a lifeline for Blues early in the second-half but the ever dangerous Nahki Wells settled the game with a left foot strike 17 minutes from time.
Town’s Boxing Day woes were made worse with Grant Ward stretched off with what looked a knee injury.
Town made two changes to the side that drew with Sheffield United at the weekend, Grant Ward and Flynn Downes coming in for Gwion Edwards and Andre Dozzell.
Dean Gerken was forced into action early on, gathering from Ebere Eze’s strike from the angle, the ‘keeper then tipping over Luke Freeman’s free-kick after Luke Chambers had been booked following a collision with Wells on the edge of the box.
Downes robbed Massimo Luongo to set up a break for Blues but Ward’s cross had too much on it for Freddie Sears at the far post, Lynch then heading clear from Ward’s delivery as Town enjoyed a spell of pressure around the home goal.
Josh Scowen’s volley was deflected behind, Wells miskicking in front of goal after Freeman had worked some space down the left, Town responding with a corner that caused chaos in the QPR box but Blues couldn’t force the ball over the line.
Chambers did superbly to stop Wells getting in goal, Town then breaking clear at the other end when the ball cannoned off Downes and sent Jon Nolan in down the left, his shot parried by Joe Lumley to safety.
Harrison did well to get on the end of Nolan’s pass but couldn’t get his shot on target from an acute angle but on the half hour Rangers were ahead, Nolan was wayward with a pass inside, Wells capitalised and forced Gerken into a save at full length but Wszolek was first to the rebound and found the net from six yards.
Three minutes later, Rangers doubled their lead, Freeman’s free-kick and Lynch headed home at the near post.
Matt Pennington headed over from a corner, Sears crowded out inside the box as Town looked for a response before the break, while Rangers continued to carry a threat with Wells seeing another effort smothered away to safety.
Freeman tested Gerken from 20 yards as the second-half got underway, Town responding with Lumley keeping out Chalobah’s fierce drive, Harrison then winning a free-kick 30 yards out, Ward’s delivery too close to Lumley.
Ward was forced off with what looked a knee injury, Jack Lankester the replacement just past the hour in Town’s first change.
Jordan Roberts entered the fray soon after, Nolan making way while Rangers also changed it up, Eze replaced by Ilias Chair.
QPR sealed the win on 73 minutes, Wells twisting inside the box and burying his left footer in the bottom corner.
Wells and Freeman threatened a fourth in quick succession but Town got bodies in the way, Roberts firing over at the other end, Gerken then denying Chair from close range as Rangers saw the game out.
QPR: Lumley, Furlong, Bidwell, Freeman (Osayi-Samuel 87), Eze (Chair 69), Scowen, Luongo, Wszolek, Wells (Oteh 83), Lynch, Leistner. Subs not used: Ingram, Hall, Cousins, Smith. Booked: Wszolek.
Town: Gerken, Spence, Chambers, Pennington, Knudsen, Ward (Lankester 62), Chalobah, Nolan (Roberts 69), Downes, Sears, Harrison. Subs not used: Bialkowski, Jackson, Edwards, Kenlock, Dozzell. Booked: Chambers, Spence.
Att: 14, 584