QPR 3 Ipswich Town 1
A RAMPANT Queens Park Rangers dented Ipswich Town's quest for automatic promotion, deservedly beating George Burley's side with three second-half goals at Loftus Road.
A place in the First Division play-offs now looks Ipswich's most likely finish, but Burley refused to rule out his team grabbing second spot.
"There are three games to play and everything still to play for," he said defiantly. "I think in the second half today our attacking play was much better but if you give two silly goals away it is always going to be an uphill struggle.
"We are already guaranteed a top-six place and we will be giving it everything to try and get into second."
QPR had the better of the first-half chances without grabbing the lead but within 18 seconds of the restart they were in front.
Richard Langley dispossessed Jamie Clapham before storming into the box to hit a blistering shot which Richard Wright did well to parry. But the ball sat up nicely for Gavin Peacock to head the rebound into the empty net.
After 58 minutes Rangers scored again. Chris Kiwomya's attempted through-ball caught under the feet of Tony Mowbray, but the defender gave it straight back and Dutch striker Sammy Koejoe slotted home his first Rangers goal.
The first half had been more like a cup tie and the home side, coping well with the frenetic pace, nearly went in front in the sixth minute. Kiwomya, the former Ipswich striker, attempted to lob Wright, but the goalkeeper saved at full stretch.
Missing Marcus Stewart, Ipswich looked to David Johnson to provide the firepower but it was to be a frustrating day for him.
He had two chances in a minute in the first half - denied by Karl Reddy's timely tackle and then Ian Baraclough's block - and fired over when well placed on four more occasions.
After Rangers' two-goal salvo, Ipswich threw everything forward to try to get back into the game. Lee Harper spilled a Clapham cross under pressure, but, with the goalkeeper on the floor, the ball was eventually hacked away.
After 79 minutes they were finally given a lifeline. Langley fouled Jim Magilton in the box and he slotted home the penalty himself.
Ipswich began pressing for an equaliser. Mowbray had two efforts cleared off the line then Matt Holland's close-range header was aimed straight at Harper.
At the other end, Peacock volleyed Koejoe's cross just wide and Stuart Wardley shot wide when unmarked.
Still the visitors came forward but it was not to be. In time added on, Rangers counter-attacked to score a third when Kevin Gallen's cross to the unmarked Kiwomya led to him sweeping the ball into the net.