With Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray consistently stating so far this season that he will not be paying attention to the Championship table until a dozen games in, this win in the final match before the 12 game mark will have been a very welcome one indeed.
Adam Armstrong once again showed his worth for Blackburn as he returned from injury to net a matchwinning double, after Lyndon Dykes penalty had cancelled out the opener from the excellent Ben Brereton, as Rovers ended a three match winless run and lift Mowbray’s side into the top half of the standings.
With just one place separating these two sides in the bottom half of the table at the start of play, it was perhaps no surprise to see the game start in a tightly-contested manner.
Despite plenty of attacking intent from both, Ilias Chair’s early strike which was straight at returning Blackburn number one Thomas Kaminski, after a good run into the box by the QPR attacker, was the only real chance of note in the first 20 minutes or so.
There was however, another instalment in Blackburn’s series of injuries during that time, as Corry Evans limped off just two minutes into the game, a big concern for the Northern Ireland international ahead of their Euro 2020 qualifying play-off in midweek.
As the first half reached its midway point, the hosts fashioned their first chance of the match. Ben Brereton did brilliantly to win a free-kick on the edge of the QPR area, and Liverpool loanee Harvey Elliott’s well-placed set piece was headed onto the roof of the net by Rovers captain Darragh Lenihan.
Rovers were then nearly handed the lead in freak circumstances, as Rob Dickie sliced Ryan Nyambe’s cross over his own bar, before Rangers ‘keeper Seny Dieng produced a brilliant save at full stretch to stop stand-in centre back Scott Wharton’s header finding the bottom corner.
Dieng was again in action moments later to deny Adam Armstrong not once but twice, first after some good link-up play with Brereton, and then from a tight angle Rovers’ leading scorer – back in the side after missing out against against Middlesbrough – had been played in by Elliott.
The remainder of the first half would follow a similar pattern as Rovers continued to press, with Dieng again called into action to this time more comfortably hold Johnson’s low effort from the edge of the area.
QPR made two changes at the break, with Chris Willock and Osman Kakay summoned from the bench, and it was almost the perfect start to the second half for the visitors, as Chair’s cross from the left found Todd Kane at the far post, but he could only smash his effort against the woodwork.
It was a missed chance the visitors would live to regret just moments later, as with practically their first attack of the half. A short corner routine saw John Buckley work a ball out to the back post, where Lenihan headed back across, to find Ben Brereton in the centre of the area, and the attacker was able to almost effortlessly cushion a volley past Dieng to put Rovers into the lead with his second of the season.
The visitors however, would not be behind for long, as a scramble on the Blackburn goalline after a ball into the area saw referee Tim Robinson inexplicably point to the spot, and Lyndon Dykes stepped up to emphatically fire home the penalty to level for QPR.
Barely moments later, and Mark Warburton’s side could have been ahead, as Willock’s brilliant curling effort from the edge of the area forced Kaminski into an outstanding flying save to keep the ball from nestling in the top corner.
But after a few minutes under the kosh, Blackburn would get themselves back in front, through a familiar face.
After Brereton did well to get out of the Rovers half while under pressure, the attacker well to find Elliott in space in the QPR, and the 17-year-old delivered a brilliant through ball to find Adam Armstrong, who coolly slotted past Dieng to mark his return to the side with his tenth league goal of the season.
Again, QPR would respond well to going behind, and again Willock would go close from the edge of the area as he curled one just wide of the far posts as the visitors went in search of the second equaliser that their second half performance arguably deserved.
In the end thought, it would be Rovers who got the fourth goal of the game. With the visitors throwing men forward, Armstrong was able to get away on the counter attack in stoppage time, netting at the second attempt to seal the three points for Tony Mowbray’s side.