QPR 1 Derby 1
Massimo Luongo’s late header rescued a point for QPR at Loftus Road.
Andreas Weimann’s goal seven minutes before half-time looked like getting Derby’s faltering promotion challenge back on track.
But they switched off with three minutes to go, enabling Luongo to nod home Luke Freeman’s left-wing free-kick.
Weimann’s goal was brilliantly set up by Kasey Palmer.
The on-loan Chelsea youngster turned away from Josh Scowen and went past Luongo before threading the ball through to Weimann, who fired last keeper Alex Smithies.
QPR, who deserved at least a point, had been on top and went close to taking the lead when Matt Smith hit the post after six minutes.
After Nedum Onuoha popped up near the edge of the Derby penalty area, Luongo’s attempt to control the Rangers captain’s pass nudged the ball towards Smith, whose rising left-footed strike bounced back off the woodwork.
Onuoha then missed a glorious chance when he blasted over after Derby were unable to clear Darnell Furlong’s throw-in.
Smith also went close from a Furlong cross, Freeman shot wide after making space for himself in the box, and Scowen clipped a free-kick over the bar.
At the other end, David Nugent sent a first-time effort wide of the near post after being picked out by Weimann, but Derby barely threatened before taking the lead.
Lifted by their goal, they would have doubled their lead 10 minutes into the second half had Smithies not clawed away Curtis Davies’ header from Weimann’s left-wing cross.
Rangers boss Ian Holloway made two changes to his starting line-up and switched from a 3-5-2 to 4-3-3 formation, with Furlong and Conor Washington coming in for Joel Lynch and Pawel Wszolek.
However, striker Washington was totally ineffective – and failed to challenge Palmer in the build up to Derby’s goal. He was replaced on the hour mark by Ebere Eze.
Youngster Eze, on the other hand, was lively as Rangers pushed for an equaliser.
Eze had a low shot saved by Scott Carson, who also kept out a volley from Freeman and reacted quickly enough to prevent Onuoha getting to the loose ball.
When Smith headed wide from Wszolek’s late cross, QPR were staring at a sixth defeat in eight games.
But when Luongo was inexplicably left unchallenged, the Australian made no mistake.
And Rangers would have snatched a victory in injury time had substitute Lynch been as clinical.
The centre-back, sent on as a makeshift striker, shot straight at Carson after being out through by Freeman.
QPR: Smithies, Furlong (Wszolek 74), Onuoha, Robinson, Bidwell, Scowen, Luongo, Freeman, Washington (Eze 60), Smith (Lynch 86), Smyth.
Subs not used: Ingram, Cousins, Manning, Perch.