Full time: QPR 3, Burnley 3

Burnley stayed in the hunt for automatic promotion in the Championship after taking a point against QPR in an exhilarating six-goal thriller in front of the Sky cameras.

Saturday, 1st February 2014, 2:26 pm
Sam Vokes celebrates scoring

The Clarets were forced to recover from an early set back when seemingly disjointed from a corner. After Tom Heaton tipped Andy Johnson’s header over the bar from Niko Kranjcar’s initial set-piece, the Croatian international responded with an equally exquisite centre for Kevin Doyle - signed by Harry Redknapp on deadline day as a replacement for the injured Charlie Austin - to glance in to the far corner.

Former Rovers winger Junior Hoilett - who had replaced £5m man Matt Phillips in the early exchanges - and Doyle both fired wide of the target before the quarter-of-an-hour mark, while Traore slid an effort in to the side-netting after spinning Kieran Trippier to hit the byeline just after.

Sam Vokes celebrates scoring

Despite those opportunities, however, the Clarets were comfortable, though without pressurising the hosts and ever look like threatening their lead.

But leading scorer Danny Ings only needs one chance, and that arrived in the 25th minute. With Scott Arfield and Trippier looking to instigate a path behind Benoit Assou-Ekotto,

the latter eventually spotted the aperture to cross and Ings did the rest with a beautiful sweeping volley beyond Rob Green to register his 22nd goal of the season.

Again, the Clarets restricted the home side in open play, but disaster struck in the 34th minute as another set-piece caused the visit defence to plummet in to disarray.

Once more it was Kranjcar that provided the centre, Andy Johnson flicked on at the near post, before an unmarked Richard Dunne rifled in to the roof of the net.

Michael Kightly had a superb opportunity to level the fixture before the break from Ings’s cushioned assist, but the Stoke City winger stalled before allowing Clint Hill to recover.

After the interval, Sean Dyche’s side proved a completely different proposition, adding energy, guile, invention and, more importantly, goals to their display.

Implementing a higher line, the Clarets were imposing and stepped in to the faces of their big-spending opponents, which provided the openings to get around the back of the QPR rearguard.

And within 10 minutes of the restart the equaliser arrived. Trippier’s intrepidity to track back and stop Traore’s surge sparked the move, with Arfield and Dean Marney working the ball left to Kightly, and as soon as the ball left his foot, Vokes stole a yard from his marker to nod past Green at the near post.

The hosts failed to respond, Loftus Road was silenced apart from the compartment of travelling fans, and just after the hour the visitors turned the game on its head.

Trippier’s speculative pass looked a lost cause but Ings gave chase and touched the ball past Assou-Ekotto, as the full-back looked to shield the ball out of play, before squaring for strike partner Vokes to tap home from close range and cement the pair’s 37th goal of the campaign.

That prompted a second change from Redknapp, as Modibo Maiga replaced Johnson, and that served to show the luxury that Burnley’s promotion rivals possess.

Ings had chance to extend the advantage when beating the offside trap and cutting past Hill inside the area, but the striker skewed agonisingly wide of Green’s far post.

Redknapp signed four strikers in the culmination to January’s transfer window, and it was Maiga who replicated Doyle to mark his debut with a goal.

Ben Mee had worked tirelessly to limit Hoilett, but he failed to stop the winger from breaking free in the box and assisting Maiga’s leveller.

Dyche was seemingly the more ambitious of the two bosses on the touchline, replacing Kightly with Junior Stanislas, while Redknapp withdrew Traore and introduced Karl Henry, much to the dismay of the home crowd.

And it was the Clarets who went closest to stealing maximum points at the end when Stanislas robbed Assou-Ekotto and lifted an effort over Green’s head that dropped just wide of the far post.