City shrugged off the controversy of last weekend to continue their 100% home record this season with a top performance at Ashton Gate.
Having previously failed to beat Rangers in five attempts at this level, City handed a home debut to the pacy Danny Haynes and he was immediately in the action, blazing a good chance over the bar following good work from Maynard.
The visitors responded well to the early pressure but were restricted largely to long-range efforts from Buzsack and Agyemang.
But City, who came flying out of the traps, nearly got the goal their early pressure deserved on 14.
McAllister had a free-kick on the right of Rangers’ box and caught the defence unaware by knocking square to Maynard, who’s stinging 20-yard effort was brilliantly clawed out low down by Radek Cerny.
Moments later, Marvin Elliott saw his goal bound header from a McAllister corner headed off the line with Cerny struggling but the game’s best early chance fell to Haynes.
Scampering onto Bradley Orr’s through-ball like a greyhound chasing a rabbit, Haynes rode a despairing challenge before shooting wide with Cerny beaten.
City were really turning on the style but were finding the two Rangers centre-back’s, Fitz Hall and Damion Stewart, in imperious form.
Chances still came City’s way through Clarkson, Hartley and Haynes but the rhythm that we were playing with was stopped when Cole Skuse hobbled off shortly before the break.
We all sensed Rangers had been let off the hook, especially when they decided to have a pop early in the second half.
Routledge forced Gerken into his first proper save, low down at his near post, before the same player teed up Adel Taarabt, only for the on-loan Spurs playmaker to see his shot come back off the post.
The visitors looked to had ridden the storm and were suddenly looking the likely winners, utilising the extra man in midfield to good effect.
Johnson handed another home debut, this time to Andrius Velicka on 65 minutes, replacing McAllister and changing up the system to a 4-3-3. Nyatanga moving to left-back with Fontaine partnering McCombe.
But it ended in disaster for the on-loan Lithuanian target man as he collapsed only five minutes later, clutching his knee after an inocuous looking turn.
The game was held up for several minutes as the Glasgow Rangers man was fitted with a knee-brace and carried off the field. Sadly, his City career looks over already as he was replaced by Lee Johnson.
The East End were in great voice, trying to roar the boys over the line. ‘Red Army’ was belted out for most of the second half and it wasn’t long before the fans’ efforts got their rewards on 76.
Clarkson, who looked class in the hole, won a bone-crunching tackle on the edge of the Hoops’ box.
The ball fell perfectly into the path of Nicky Maynard, who moved the ball onto his right-peg before rocketing a ferocious drive into the top corner from just inside the box. He really does look in irresistable form at the moment.
Rangers huffed and puffed in the SEVEN minutes of stoppage time, with Liam Fontaine being forced into a making a superb block from Buzsacky and Gerken saving well from Mikele Leigertwood right at the death but City held on to clinch a deserved win.
CITY (3-4-1-2): Gerken; Skuse (Fontaine 37), McCombe, Nyatanga; Orr, Elliott, Hartley, McAllister (Velicka 65, sub Johnson 75); Clarkson; Haynes, Maynard.
QPR (4-4-2): Cerny; Ramage, Hall, Stewart, Borrowdale; Routledge, Faurlin (Helguson 85), Leigertwood, Buzsaky; Taarabt (Vine 67), Agyemang (Pellicori 67).
Referee: Phil Gibbs (West Midlands)
Made one brilliant save at the death to preserve the one-goal margin. I had my doubts early on but so far, he’s gone about his business very well and last night was no different. 8
Was solid playing as the left of three centre-backs and held is own when Johnson moved him to left-back when chasing the winner. Headed well and good positionally. 7
Repelled everything that came our way in the air but still not good enough on the deck. Left Nyatanga and Skuse/Fontaine to mop up when Rangers tried to play through. 6
Hobbled off midway through the first half which is why I’m given him the rating he’s got but he did ok in an unfamiliar position at centre-half when on the field. 5
Was at the heart of many good moves down the left side in the first half but was penned back by Routledge for much of the second half and duly faded. 6
Usual workman-like performance from Bradders. Plenty of running and covering for the team and occasionally provided width when needed to. 6
This man continues to impress me. Most of our good moves started with him either breaking up play or with sharp passes. Looks a superb signing so far. 8
Not his best game but still effective in the middle of the park. Found the going tough against Rangers’ four man midfield and didn’t impose himself enough as a result really. 7
Drifted in and out but showed some real class when on the ball and displayed some skill to skin opponents a few times. Set up the winner with a fierce tackle deep in Rangers territory. 7
Plenty of direct running, worked the keeper throughout the game and took his goal superbly well. Keep him fit and we should be in for plenty of goals and an entertaining season. 8
Wasted some glorious chances in the first half but his pace was always a handful. Full of direct running in behind but needs to sharpen up in front of goal. 7
Don’t know why he didn’t start really as he was his usual calm but commanding self when replacing Skuse. Dealt with everything QPR had attacking wise. 8
Poor bloke was only on the pitch for 5 minutes before going over his knee and rolling around in agony. Felt sorry for the chap and hope it isn’t as bad as it looked. 5
Came on for Velicka and did well. Passed neatly but still afraid to get his foot in which nearly costed us a goal in the second half. 6
Gary Johnson 7/10
Mixed it up nicely when QPR were on top early in the second half and forced the result. The 3-4-1-2 looks to be working well and proved he wasn’t afraid to use a plan B last night.
Jim Magilton 7/10
He probably bollocked his side at the break as they came out with the bit between the teeth after being dominated in the first period. Made a change that saw them overrun us in midfield there after but has a side that will be top ten this year.
TEMPO THE KEY
City played with a real tempo and purpose last night, particularly in the first half.
We created chances at will and could’ve won by 2 or 3 on another night if the finishing was more clinical.
The front trio of Clarkson, Haynes and Maynard are looking like they will trouble most defences at this level this year.