QPR 1 Fulham 1
Chris Martin’s equaliser earned a point for Fulham in the west London derby.
Martin had an early penalty saved by Alex Smithies but atoned by scoring with 15 minutes remaining at Loftus Road.
Scott Malone’s left-wing free-kick was headed out by Grant Hall as far as Tom Cairney, whose shot was diverted into the net by Martin from close range.
Ryan Manning’s first goal for QPR had put them ahead after goalkeeper Smithies continued his remarkable penalty record by saving Martin’s sixth-minute spot-kick.
Irish youngster Manning, who signed a new contract on Friday, made the most of an horrendous mistake by Kevin McDonald on 24 minutes.
Under pressure from Massimo Luongo near the halfway line, McDonald panicked and his aimless pass fell straight to Manning, whose shot squirmed through the legs of keeper David Button.
Smithies had dived to his right to keep out Martin’s penalty after Sone Aluko had been bundled over in the area Jake Bidwell.
It means Smithies has saved six of the last 10 penalties he has faced – and only three of those 10 have been scored.
The other was fired against the post by Aluko in injury time when QPR won 2-1 at Craven Cottage in October, when Smithies had earlier saved from Cairney – making Martin’s penalty the third missed by Fulham against the R’s this season.
The visitors’ big chance to go ahead came after Rangers had made the brighter start to the game.
Jamie Mackie shot high and wide from an awkward angle after collecting a pass from Idrissa Sylla, who headed well over from Bidwell’s cross.
After the penalty, Sylla had a shot saved by Button, who a couple of minutes later was able to gather the ball at Sylla’s feet when the striker hesitated after finding himself through on goal.
Fulham continued to threaten too, and Cairney went close with a powerful strike which flashed narrowly wide of Smithes’ near post.
But it was Rangers, beaten in six successive matches prior to a recent three-match winning run, who opened the scoring courtesy of McDonald’s gift.
And skipper Nedum Onuoha missed a great chance to put them further ahead when he headed over from Bidwell’s free-kick seven minutes into the second half.
Sylla did find the net – with his hand – from Luongo’s cross just after the half-hour mark, and was shown a yellow card as a result.
That came during a decent second-half spell for Ian Holloway’s side, but they were pegged back by Martin’s third goal in as many games and his ninth of the season.
Both teams came close to scoring a second goal.
Smithies tipped over an effort from Aluko and substitute Ryan Sessegnon headed over from Stefan Johansen’s corner.
At the other end, substitute Conor Washington brought a save from Button, and Hall – one of three QPR players who found themselves unmarked near the edge of the six-yard box – back-heeled wide.
Tempers boiled over in the final minutes of a fiercely competitive game.
The first of two melees involved members of both management teams as well as players.
The second ended with Cairney escaping with a yellow card following an altercation with Manning.
Subs not used: Ingram, Doughty, Ngbakoto, Shodipo.
Fulham: Button, Fredericks (Odoi 45), Kalas, Ream, Malone, McDonald, Johansen, Aluko (Smith 88), Cairney, Piazon (Sessegnon 77), Martin.
Subs not used: Bettinelli, Madl, Sigurdsson, Parker.