Jamie Mackie’s superb double helped QPR dispatch Leicester to extend their lead at the top of the Championship.
Mackie opened the scoring early in the first half with an excellent header, before sealing the points with five minutes remaining to keep the R’s firing on all cylinders.
Wasteful Leicester recorded well over double the visitors’ attempts on goal, but rarely tested QPR goalkeeper Paddy Kenny in a flat display.
Manager Paulo Sousa made one change from the midweek victory over Cardiff, brining in Matty Fryatt in place of Steve Howard up front.
Neilson — Hobbs — Morrison — Berner
Oakley — Wellens
Waghorn — King — Dyer
The opening ten minutes produced moments at either end. Adel Taarabt’s 30-yard effort was held well by Carl Ikeme in the Leicester goal, before Lloyd Dyer raced up the other end to drill in a ball which proved too strong for his team-mates.
Free-scoring QPR have taken the Championship by storm this season, and it took just 12 minutes for Neil Warnock’s side to take the lead.
Shaun Derry’s pinpoint ball to Taarabt on the right wing allowed the young forward to deliver a delightful ball into the box for Mackie to head home with an excellent finish.
It was the sixth match in a row that the Foxes had not hit the first goal, and a bitter early blow against a side in red hot form.
QPR proved themselves to be an extremely well-organised unit over the course of the 90 minutes, and for the rest of the first half they protected their lead with relative ease.
Leicester found themselves with the lion’s share of possession, but found little space in the final third to free up the forward line.
Richie Wellens found himself with City’s best chance of the half when his powerful drive inside the penalty area sailed over the bar. Shooting is not an admirable aspect of the Wellens repertoire.
In truth the midfielder struggled immensely in the first period, as regular attempted passes were found wanting.
Martyn Waghorn fired over a free-kick soon afterwards, before Matty Fryatt and Michael Morrison found themselves at the heart of a penalty area melee which was eventually scrambled away by the QPR defence.
Waghorn found himself with Leicester’s only remaining opportunity in the first half, but could only shoot straight at Paddy Kenny from a tight angle.
It was a poor half of football from a Foxes point of view, with QPR’s opener the only worthy talking point of the first 45 minutes.
Leicester looked a more threatening side after the interval, but continued to disappoint in front of goal.
Matty Fryatt drilled a rare effort over the bar early on, before Andy King forced a comfortable save from Kenny.
Paul Gallagher and Steve Howard were brought on with just over half an hour remaining as City switched to 4-4-2 and went for broke.
The football became increasingly direct with ideas seemingly having dried up elsewhere, and Howard soon became the focal point of the Leicester attack.
In truth Sousa’s side were soon a far more dangerous outfit, and it wasn’t long before a prolonged spell of pressure sparked life into the home crowd.
King immediately tested Kenny with a strike from range as the Foxes searched for the equaliser on home soil.
Referee Graham Scott was hauled into the centre of attention when Leicester were denied what appeared to be a certain penalty on 65 minutes. Howard felt the full force of a QPR elbow inside the area referee Scott looking directly at the incident, but appeals were waved away.
Howard being ordered to leave the pitch for a new shirt should tell its own story.
The match threatened to boil over in the coming minutes as Warnock’s side pulled out all the tricks to wind down the clock. Kyle Walker was booked for time-wasting, while Paddy Kenny faced lengthy treatment after a tussle inside the penalty area.
The visitors thought they had doubled their lead with 20 minutes remaining when the venomous Mackie finished off after turning his marker, but the goal was ruled out for a foul inside the Leicester area.
The Foxes peppered the QPR goal with attempts from distance, most finishing within a two-mile radius of the ground. Paddy Kenny’s (possible) mid-game Sudoku was more challenging than his afternoon at the Walkers.
Paul Gallagher’s corner found Howard inside the area for City’s best remaining opportunity of the game, but the ball bounced harmlessly to Kenny.
Leicester’s pressure did not reap an end product however, and with five minutes remaining on the clock QPR hit a sucker punch to wrap up the match.
Mikele Leigertwood’s seemingly harmless through ball was not dealt with by Michael Morrison, allowing Mackie to gather the ball inside the area. The striker raced past the City centre back with ease before slotting a textbook finish past Ikeme.
It was yet another Championship defence that could not handle the diminutive forward, that strike his eighth goal of the campaign already.
Thirty minutes of stoppage time would not have seen the ball hit the QPR net, but seven it was as the visitors saw out a professional victory at the Walkers.
Warnock’s QPR were far from spectacular, but produced two of the game’s few moments of quality to further stake their claims as Championship promotion material.
On this evidence they should well be up there come May, demonstrating excellent organisation and the important knack of converting their opportunities in a reasonably tight affair.
For Leicester it was an afternoon to forget in front of goal. A sizeable 21 attempts at goal saw Kenny forced into just the one save of an significance.
Struggling Portsmouth await twice next week at Fratton Park as Sousa looks to pile further misery on Steve Coterill’s side in the Carling Cup on Tuesday ahead of their league encounter on Friday.