Ailing Routledge delivers the right tonic for QPR

Queen's Park Rangers 1 Leicester City 0

The margins of success are slim in the Championship as this tale of two substitutes underlined. Three-quarters into a tight but entertaining match Sven Goran Eriksson sent Martyn Waghorn into the fray. The striker's first act was to rob Matt Connolly and advance on goal only to shoot narrowly over.

Twenty minutes later, a draw seemingly inevitable after Waghorn had missed an even better chance, Neil Warnock brought on Ishmael Miller. His first involvement was to run on to a through ball from Wayne Routledge and score.

Warnock revealed it had been a toss-up whether to put on Miller or Tommy Smith. With the dugout divided, the deciding vote went to assistant manager Mick Jones in the stand. He said Miller. The rest was hysteria as the biggest crowd of the season at Loftus Road celebrated Miller's goal, and the subsequent victory, with unbridled joy.

An important win over the division's form team became even more significant with the three clubs immediately below Rangers all losing. That extended QPR's lead to eight points with 11 matches to play. Fifteen years after they dropped out of the elite amid such financial distress that they subsequently fell into the third tier, a return to the top flight seems certain.

Only complacency, or dramatic loss of form, can halt them now but neither is likely in a dressing room overseen by Warnock and including battle-scarred veterans such as Shaun Derry, Clint Hill and Paddy Kenny, as well as flair players like Adel Taarabt and Akos Buzsaky. It makes for a well-balanced unit that hung in against an often superior Leicester side to record an 11th successive unbeaten league match.

That resilience was highlighted by Routledge, who was sent home from training on Friday with a bag of antibiotics and told to get fit for tomorrow's match at Millwall. Instead he rang Warnock on Saturday and said he wanted to play. The winger proceeded to nullify the threat of Kyle Naughton, as well as lay on the goal. "I said to him in the dressing room in front of the rest of the lads, 'That was a team performance you put in for us there'," said Warnock of his loanee. "When you've got lads like that, who do more than they should do, it shows you how much character you've got in your squad."

Defeat was hard on Leicester, who had the game's most polished performers in Jeffrey Bruma and Andy King. Poor finishing and Kenny's keeping denied them victory and Eriksson consoled himself by saying: "If we play like that in the remaining 11 games we'll have a good chance."

No one will fancy facing Leicester, who were in the relegation zone when Eriksson took over in October, should they reach the play-offs. QPR were also threatened with the drop when Warnock took over 12 months ago but while it has been quite a year the champagne remains on ice, for a few weeks at least.

Queen's Park Rangers (4-2-3-1): Kenny; Orr, Hall (Connolly, 31), Shittu, Hill; Derry, Faurlin; Taarabt (Miller, 86), Buzsaky (Ephraim, 90), Routledge; Helguson. Substitutes not used Cerny (gk), Hulse, Smith, Moen.



Booked Helguson.

Leicester City (4-3-1-2): Ricardo; Naughton, Bruma, Bamba, Mee; Oakley, Abe, Wellens; King (Gallagher, 79); Vassell (Waghorn, 66), Yakubu (Dyer, 86). Substitutes not used Weale (gk), Vitor, Texeira, Berner.

Booked Bamba.

Possession QPR 49% Leicester 51%

Attempts on target QPR 4 Leicester 5.

Man of the match: Kenny. Match rating 7/10.

Referee R East (Wiltshire). Attendance 18,068.

Sport
Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Voices
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
Sport
world cup 2014
Sport
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
books
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Life and Style
fashionJ Crew introduces triple zero size to meet the Asia market demand
Sport
Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal launch the new Puma Arsenal kits at the Puma Store on Carnaby Street
sportMassive deal worth £150m over the next five years
Arts and Entertainment
Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins
musicHolyrood MPs 'staggered' at lack of Scottish artists performing
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
News
business
Caption competition
Caption competition

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice