QPR hit back to hold Huddersfield in relegation six-pointer28 January 2024
Kenneth Paal equalised five minutes into stoppage time to rescue a point for QPR as they drew 1-1 with fellow strugglers Huddersfield.
Jack Rudoni's 86th-minute goal looked like leaving third-from-bottom Rangers six points adrift of the Terriers - the team immediately above them in the Sky Bet Championship table.
But Ilias Chair's right-wing cross was kneed into the top corner of the net by left-back Paal in the final stages and helped avoid a potentially disastrous home defeat.
A win would have taken QPR out of the relegation zone, where they have been since September, and leapfrogged Huddersfield. The draw means the gap remains at three points.
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Both sides struggled to create clearcut chances, particularly during a scrappy first half, although Chair and young striker Sinclair Armstrong looked a threat for Rangers.
Playmaker Chair saw a weak shot comfortably saved by goalkeeper Lee Nicholls and sent in a wickedly-delivered corner from the left, but no-one could add a decisive touch.
Armstrong, meanwhile, fired high and wide from an acute angle during a frustrating opening 45 minutes for the hosts.
At the other end, Rhys Healey headed over from Sorba Thomas' free-kick and had a shot blocked by Jake Clarke-Salter following good work on the right by Rudoni.
QPR boss Marti Cifuentes will have hoped for an improvement after the interval, but it did not materialise.
Instead, Huddersfield looked the better side, enjoying the majority of possession and going close when Michal Helik headed just over from Thomas' left-wing corner.
It prompted Cifuentes to make a double substitution, sending on Paul Smyth and Elijah Dixon-Bonner in place of Chris Willock and the ineffective Lyndon Dykes.
That did make a slight difference, with Smyth adding some energy in attack and Dixon-Bonner shooting wide from near the edge of the penalty area, before Jack Colback's left-footed strike was caught by Nicholls.
However, that was as much as QPR could muster before Rudoni broke the deadlock.
Rangers, who have shown a tendency to concede goals from set-pieces, failed to properly clear a free-kick and Radinio Balker's shot fell to Rudoni, who fired past keeper Asmir Begovic.
The last-gasp equaliser will be a huge relief for Cifuentes but the R's remain in deep trouble and must now hope that the arrival of Swiss striker Michael Frey gives them the impetus up front they have lacked all season.
Frey, whose signing from Royal Antwerp was announced shortly before kick-off, scored 33 goals in 69 games for the Belgian club and Rangers desperately need him to produce that kind of form in England.
QPR's Marti Cifuentes:
"I'm not very pleased about the performance. It wasn't a great game to be honest. There were a lot of interruptions and free-kicks.
"But I'm very pleased that we fought until the end and we never gave up. It's a goal that could be season-defining.
"The crowd has been excellent in supporting us. We need them to help us get to the target we have in front of us."
Huddersfield's Darren Moore:
"We set our stall out to come and win the game and even our subs were to win the game. So when you get a goal in the latter part of the game you hope to win. I don't remember Lee Nicholls having to make any saves.
"The players are a wonderful group to work with. They're honest and committed to the job. We need to keep looking onwards and upwards.
"Hopefully [the chairman] saw the performance, that we were committed and should have won the game today."
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This news item was provided by the SkySports | News website - the original link is: https://www.skysports.com/football/queens-park-rangers-vs-huddersfield-town/report/485046