Chris Willock finished coolly to put QPR ahead, but Simon Sluga’s decision to rush out gave him an easy chance
Queens Park Rangers rose to fifth in the Championship with victory over fellow promotion chasers Luton Town in an entertaining and open game at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium.
Chris Willock gave Rangers the lead with a perfectly-weighted dink over the onrushing Simon Sluga after a fine lofted route-one pass from deep by Ilias Chair in an ebb-and-flow first-half.
Having ridden an early Luton storm, Charlie Austin buried his header past the Hatters’ Croatian goalkeeper early in the second, after Jimmy Dunne’s cushioned knock-down into his path, to bring up the crucial second.
Ilias Chair might have made it more comfortable for the R’s but his rising drive soared over early on. But, in truth, Luton had ample chances to test goalkeeper Seny Dieng themselves.
The Senegal international had to get down to deny Harry Cornick, Yoann Barbet stretched to block from Elijah Adebayo and Kal Naismith headed wide from a superb James Bree cross.
Pelly Ruddock-Mpanzu scuffed a shot wide from the edge of the box deep into added time for Luton – an effort that summed up their night.
Mark Warburton’s men had only won one of their past five games with a habit of conceding late goals, but they showed defensive mettle and clinical finishing to see out this game.
Chair’s movement and guile along with Willock was the catalyst when they did get forward, and when the game got a little more stretched and tense they stood firm at the back with Rob Dickie in particular putting himself about under pressure.
By contrast, Luton boss Nathan Jones might wonder how his side finished with nothing, having contributed greatly to the contest.
Adebayo and Cornick carried a threat, particularly in the first-half, which caused the home defence plenty of concern, while Bree’s steady stream of crosses from the right were another useful outlet.
The game’s turning point was the 10th-minute opener, in which Sluga’s decision to rush out of his goal with Willock chasing offered an easy route and made the task more difficult for the visitors.
There was also some controversy about the second in the 55th…