Rangers made amens for their defeat in Bristol back in August with a fortuitous victory over City.
Second best for long periods, first half strikes from Mikele Leigertwood and Jay Simpson were enough to slay City, who will be rueing woeful defending and wasteful finishing.
Johnson changed things up again, in came Gavin Williams and misfiring striker Alvaro Saborio for Evander Sno and ? as Johnson went with a bold 4-3-3.
And we started well with Williams tamely firing at Cerny when well placed just inside the box after 6 minutes following good work by Cole Skuse.
Rangers’ Ben Watson then gifted Saborio a clear run on goal but he lacked any sort of incisive pace to make the most of the chance as he dallied allowing Fitz Hall to recover.
Danny Haynes then fired wide of the upright via the aid of a deflection and from the resultant corner, Skuse looked set to open the scoring with a prodded effort but saw Radek Cerny scamper back and claw it out.
We should’ve been in front against an out of sorts Rangers side who promptly went up the other end and scored with their first attack of the match.
Wayne Routledge powered forward and saw his cross headed out for a corner by Paul Hartley. The corner caused havoc as the ball fell to Hall, who drilled it across goal for Jay Simpson to take advantage of Williams’ Christmas hangover to fire home on 31.
It was against the run of play but 9 minutes later, the Hoops doubled their lead. Routledge fed Leigertwood who was afforded far too much space and time 25 yards out to pick his spot from distance.
Fontaine headed straight at Cerny from a McAllister corner as half-time approached whilst Louis Carey had a pop from 35 yards that warmed the Czech keeper’s gloves.
Simpson should have scored a third for the home side 7 minutes after the interval after being freed by Routledge’s pass but miscued under pressure from Bradley Orr.
Then on 57 minutes, the game’s only real moment of class arrived through Nicky Maynard.
Our top scorer had his back to goal, teed it up once, twice and thumped a volley from just outside the box and into the top right-hand corner for a glimmer of hope.
City pressed hard there after but chances were few and far between but the referee made a shocking decision in the last 10 minutes, denying Maynard a blatant pen after being scythed down by the clumsy Fitz Hall.
Despite being on the linesman’s side, nothing was given and any chance of claiming an unlikely, but deserved point, disappeared when sub Dave Clarkson fired into the side netting with only Cerny to beat in the dying stages.
We need a result, and fast!
QPR (4-5-1): Cerny, Ramage, Hall, Gorkss, Williams, Buzsacky (Borrowdale ’83), Watson, Faurlin (Agyemang ’62), Leigertwood, Routledge, Simpson (Connolly ’83).
CITY (4-3-3): Gerken, Orr, Carey, Fontaine, McAllister, Williams (Sno ’70), Skuse, Hartley, Haynes (Sproule ’82), Saborio (Clarkson ’70), Maynard.
REFEREE: Dave Phillips (West Sussex)
GARY JOHNSON – 6/10
Much better tactically and used the subs to good effect. Still not found the right formula yet but I thought he put out the strongest side he could, with square pegs in square holes. My only gripe is that maybe the players he picked would’ve fared better in a 4-4-2 as opposed to a 4-3-3 which left us a bit open but vast improvement on the drivel served up recently.
PAUL HART – 5/10
I’m sure Rangers fans will disagree judging by the boos ringing out at the end but he did ok tactically today but he was let down by his expensive players in the first half.
Better, Just Unlucky
Cant be too unhappy with the performance, it was one way traffic (City) for most of what I saw. It wasnt always pretty, but we were in their faces, in their penalty area, and there seemed a greate sense of urgency than usual. Clarkson should have scored, and Maynard should have had a penalty twice – first for the trip prior to the defender making contact with the ball, then for the shirt pull. But it was just one of those days.