Kevin Blackwell has recruited wisely in every position in rebuilding Leeds United so astutely but nowhere more effectively than on the left wing. Not for the first time, it was the qualities of the American, Eddie Lewis, that determined the outcome of a scrappy contest in which taking decisive control might otherwise have proved beyond Leeds.
Lewis delivered the free-kick from which Richard Cresswell headed them in front six minutes before half-time and was the supplier again as Paul Butler thundered into the visiting penalty area to put the issue finally beyond doubt six minutes from the end.
"When you have someone of his quality in your side it can often be the difference that enables you to win the game," Blackwell's head coach, John Carver, said afterwards. "Eddie probably had more touches in this game than he has had in his last three or four but the way this match was played allowed us to get the ball to him and you know when you do that he will provide the crosses that can win you games.
"He works hard on it, often staying out on the training pitch until it gets dark. He makes me late getting home but I don't mind that when he can put in the kind of balls he did today."
The result keeps alive the potential for Leeds to snatch the second automatic place, although with a gap between themselves and Sheffield United that still stands at 11 points it would take a serious reversal of fortunes for the Blades to upset the current standings. Optimistically, Carver suggested that Neil Warnock's side are about to embark on a series of difficult fixtures starting with a game against Watford at Bramall Lane this evening.
Rangers lost their third match in a row but do not look a team on the slide. In the light of the drastic surgery, their manager, Ian Holloway, had performed after losing to Leicester last week, they were probably unlucky not to emerge with a point.
Creatively, they offered too little to win but a defence in which four of the five - the goalkeeper Phil Barnes, the full-backs Marcin Kus and Andy Taylor and the centre-back Keith Lowe - were making their debuts as loan signings showed remarkable coherence.
Danny Shittu again showed why he is among the best central defenders outside the Premiership while the hugely experienced Steve Lomas ensured that Shaun Derry could never impose the grip on midfield he would have liked.
In the end, the difference, as Carver's analysis had concluded, was Lewis.
Goals: Creswell (39) 1-0; Butler (84) 2-0.
Leeds United (4-3-3): Sullivan; Kelly, Butler, Gregan, Crainey; Miller, Derry, Douglas; Healy (Blake, 71), Cresswell (Hulse, 78), Lewis. Substitutes not used: Bennett (gk), Pugh, Walton.
Queen's Park Rangers (4-4-2): Barnes; Kus (Langley, 87), Shittu, Lowe, Taylor; Ainsworth (Youssouf, 66), Bignot, Lomas, Cook (Nygaard, 66); Moore, Clarke. Substitutes not used: Milanese, Donnelly.
Referee: P Walton (Northants).
Booked: Leeds Derry, Kelly; QPR Lomas.
Man of the match: Lewis.
Attendance: 21,807.Reuse content