QPR 3 Burnley 3
BURNLEY showed exactly why they intend to chase down the Championship’s top two in a thrilling 3-3 draw at Loftus Road.
Danny Ings and Sam Vokes took their combined tally for the season to 37 as the deadly duo twice pulled the Clarets level, either side of the break.
Sam Vokes gets his first
Vokes then scored his 15th of the season to put the Clarets in the driving seat, before a late debut goal from Modibo Maiga ended the scoring in a breathless contest.
Sean Dyche named an unchanged starting line-up, with Ross Wallace returning to the Burnley squad, as a substitute, for the first time since August.
And it didn’t take long for the fireworks to start, as the Clarets fell behind within seven minutes.
Nico Kranjcar’s initial corner had been met by an Andrew Johnson header that Tom Heaton had to turn over at his near post.
But from the second corner, new loan signing Kevin Doyle rose unchallenged to plant a header into the far corner to make it the worst possible start for Dyche’s side.
Junior Hoilett and Doyle then fired shots just wide on the charge as Rangers sensed blood.
But gradually Burnley settled and found a foothold, with Michael Kightly’s free kick needing a vital head from Richard Dunne to deny Sam Vokes.
And 25 minutes in the Clarets were level, as Ings struck in deadly fashion.
Rangers had employed two left backs, with Benoit Assou-Ekotto sat in front in Armand Traore to combat the attacking threat of Kieran Trippier.
But from a quick throw, the right back received the ball back form Dean Marney and pinged over a magnificent cross that Ings volleyed home for his 22nd goal of the season.
The Clarets though were level for just eight minutes, as Rangers struck again from a left wing corner.
This time a near post flick fell perfectly for Richard Dunne and the veteran volleyed the ball high into the top corner.
But Burnley could have been level on the stroke of half time as Ings’ smart flick sent Kightly clear, only for the wide man to take a second touch that allowed the defence to shut him down.
Michael Duff was inches away from meeting Trippier’s free kick at the far post as Burnley went straight onto the attack from the re-start.
But the second leveller did arrive nine minutes into the half – and what a goal it was!
Scott Arfield started the move on the right with a ball inside to Marney, who fed Kightly on the left.
And with three men to aim at in the box, he picked out Vokes, who prodded home on the run in front of 1,400 delirious travelling fans.
Suddenly, the momentum of the game change again and quick thinking from Trippier soon sent Arfield away to fire over a cross that Ings clipped over the bar at full charge.
And as the hour passed, now-dominant Burnley were ahead for the first time in sensational style.
Ings chased down a ball down the right channel from Marney and robbed Assou-Ekotto of possession on the by-line before coolly rolling the ball across the six-yard box for Vokes to slot into the empty net.
As the enthralling game entered the final quarter, there was a glorious chance for Ings to put daylight between the two sides.
Vokes’ flick sent his strike partner clear in the right channel, but after drawing the challenge from the retreating defender and cutting back inside onto his left foot, he curled his effort agonisingly wide of the far post.
Man of the match Ings
And that proved a defining moment as, with 11 minutes remaining. Rangers squared things up once again,
Hoilett got lucky with the bounce after Ben Mee cut out his attempted cross and from his low cross sub Maiga had the simplest of tasks to level things up again.
And following a scintillating second half, Burnley almost won it with the last kick of the game, as sub Junior Stanislas's audacious lob over Rob Green bounced inches wide of the post
Burnley: Heaton, Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mee, Kightly (Stanislas 85), Marney, Jones, Arfield, Ings, Vokes.
Subs: Cisak, Long, Edgar, Lafferty, Wallace, Barnes.
Booked: Kightly 15
QPR: Green, Traore (Henry 84), Dunne, Hill, Phillips (Hoilett 6), Johnson (Maiga 69), Doyle, Onuoha, Barton, Kranjcar, Assou-Ekotto
Subs: Murphy, Carroll, Hughes, Zamora
Booked: Doyle 42, Dunne 47
Referee: R East
Att: 16,393 (1,447)