QPR returned to winning ways with a 2-0 success in the London derby at Millwall in the Championship.
Chris Willock’s stunning turn and finish from outside the box shortly after half-time broke the deadlock at The Den and put Rangers on course for the three points.
Norwegian skipper Stefan Johansen then provided game security after firing home from a well-worked and quickly taken corner to delight the away fans.
Both teams created plenty of chances in an all-important heated affair, but it was the clinical finish that made it a successful trip south of the river for the Rangers.
As football resumed after weekend postponements, both clubs paid a heartfelt tribute to the Queen before kick-off, which included a minute’s silence followed by the national anthem.
Zian Flemming was about to start the hosts’ return to action perfectly, but his well-taken free-kick was cleverly saved by Seny Dieng.
During a lively first few minutes, the visitors went straight to the other side and almost opened the scoring themselves. Tim Iroegbunam’s initial effort, on loan at Aston Villa, was saved before Tyler Roberts managed to head in a wide header from close range.
That was as close as either team had come to breaking the deadlock in the first half, although Rangers created some fresh chances.
The lively Ilias Chair fired over the quarter after some good work on Willock’s right wing.
Johansen then saw a header just shave the bar before another effort from the chairman tested Bartosz Bialkowski as QPR increased the pressure on Millwall’s goal.
The Lions had started fast after the interval and were almost rewarded when Tom Bradshaw fired some more with Dieng beaten.
But Willock’s super strike sucked the energy out of the Lions and Chair nearly doubled the lead with a curling effort that narrowly went past the post.
Millwall substitute Benik Afobe almost got the hosts back in the game but could only send a header wide when unmarked in the penalty area.
Johansen’s goal 20 minutes from time took the game away for Millwall, although captain Jake Cooper came close to throwing a comeback, his clever effort on the corner flowing just wide.
Flemming then closed powerfully when his powerful shot hit the underside of the crossbar without crossing the line.
Millwall’s chance in front of goal was summed up when substitute Tyler Burey headed straight for Dieng despite being well placed in the dying minutes.
What the managers said…
Millwall’s Gary Rowet: “They made both their chances count and we didn’t. It was disappointing because I didn’t think there was much in the game, I thought it was a pretty even game But we knew they were dangerous around the box, We talked about it all week, we know the first goal in the league is so important and I felt it changed the outcome of the game .
“On the second goal, I really don’t know what we’re doing to be honest. We work a lot on set pieces and we should be better with that. I think there are four players who don’t even look the ball when they play a quick shot. As a manager, you’re sitting there pretty crestfallen to be down 2-0 at that point because they only had those shots in the second half and that was really everything.
QPR Michael Beale“It’s a tough place to come The Den. Fair play at Millwall for the Queen’s tributes beforehand as I thought it was very emotional. The game started with good energy after that. We had to go through the first 15 but when we started playing after that I thought we were good tonight.
“He (Willock) is in fantastic form at the moment. He’s a great player, you look at his CV, we know we’re lucky to have him at QPR. I think he can play at the level superior, he just has to make small adjustments. It’s a magnificent goal but it would be a mistake not to keep your foot on the accelerator with him in terms of demands. He’s as talented as almost anyone with whom I worked, so I want more for him. It’s with QPR.”