Danny Ings scored twice as Burnley underlined their credentials as serious promotion contenders by extending their lead at the top of the Championship.
Harry Redknapp’s expensively assembled QPR side had not lost in the league prior to this clash between the top two teams in the division but had no answer after Ings broke the deadlock in the 65th minute. The forward struck from the centre of the area before sealing the points from the penalty spot in the 88th minute after being fouled by Joey Barton.
Twenty minutes earlier, Barton was struck on the head by a plastic bottle that appeared to have been thrown at the midfielder from the James Hargreaves Stand.
Until Ings’ opener, the only other major talking point was the bizarre 15th-minute dismissal of Burnley mascot Bertie Bee – ordered to off by the referee, Simon Hooper, after an exchange with the linesman.
Burnley had the better of the first half and QPR’s goalkeeper Robert Green nearly gifted them the lead early on when his jittery kick fell to Ings, who could not quite get the ball under control as he bore down on goal. There was a roar of anticipation from the home crowd every time Ings gained possession and, in the 13th minute, he danced away from Clint Hill’s challenge before being brought down by Barton.
The resulting 30-yard free-kick was fiercely struck by Kieran Trippier and Green could only fumble the shot, forcing Hill to head behind for a corner.
Barton, who was booed throughout by the Burnley fans, earned a suspension in the 25th minute by receiving his fifth booking of the season for a foul on Keith Treacy.
Before half-time, the former Manchesr City and Newcastle player was involved once again, shooting wide from 25 yards with what was QPR’s best effort of the half. Sean Dyche’s side emerged strongly from the break with Michael Kightly seeing an early shot deflected off target. There was another comical moment in the 64th minute when team-mates Barton and Niko Kranjcar appeared to tackle each other, only for Hooper to award a free-kick to QPR. Burnley then took the lead a minute later when Vokes slid Ings through on goal and he slotted low past Green.
QPR nearly equalised in the 72nd minute when Junior Hoilett’s free-kick was nodded back across goal by Hill, only for Richard Dunne to head over from six yards with the goal gaping.
It got worse for Redknapp’s side late on when Barton gave away the penalty that Ings coolly converted for his 13th goal of the season.
Burnley (4-2-3-1): Heaton; Trippier, Duff, Shackell, Mee; Marney (Edgar, 83), Jones; Kightly, Ings, Treacy (Stock, 90); Vokes.
QPR (4-2-3-1): Green; Simpson, Dunne, Hill, Assou-Ekotto; Henry (Jenas, 68), Barton; O’Neil (Chevanton, 73), Kranjcar (Phillips, 73), Hoilett, Austin.
Referee: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire).