BURNLEY came close to a sensational victory at Loftus Road as they played out a thrilling draw at QPR.
The Clarets led 3-2 after Sam Vokes struck twice in the second period, following Danny Ings’ first-half strike, but Modibo Maiga levelled with 11 minutes to go.
The Clarets had problems dealing with QPR set pieces from the start of the game as Tom Heaton had to tip over Andy Johnson’s header from a Niko Kranjcar inswinging corner.
Seconds later the Croatian produced another wicked delivery and Kevin Doyle – signed by QPR yesterday – nodded the ball into the bottom corner.
Former Blackburn Rovers forward Junior Hoilett, on for the injured Matt Phillips, soon went close to adding a second for the home side. Doyle, too, fired just off target as Burnley struggled to keep Harry Redknapp’s men at bay.
But the Clarets started to work their way into the game and grabbed a leveller in the 25th minute as Kieran Trippier crossed from the right and Ings superbly swivelled to volley past Rob Green into the bottom corner.
QPR, however, were still threatening in attack and they went back in front in the 34th minute from another Kranjcar inswinging corner.
Burnley could not clear at the near post and the ball found Richard Dunne near the penalty spot. The centre back volleyed the ball into the top corner, with David Jones not quite able to block on the line.
The Clarets hit back once more nine minutes intothe second half, though, as Michael Kightly crossed from the left and Vokes turned the ball into the bottom corner with his studs from 10 yards.
Ings went close to put the visitors ahead as he fired over from Scott Arfield’s pull-back, but the forward then did the hard work as the Clarets did move 3-2 in front.
Ings chased down Benoit Assou-Ekotto and dispossessed the full back on the touchline, before squaring for Vokes to tap in his second of the game from close range.
The Clarets even had a glorious chance to go 4-2 up as Ings beat the offside trap from Vokes’ pass but fired wide of the far post after cutting back on to his left foot.
That missed proved costly as QPR levelled with 11 minutes to go. Junior Hoilett’s initial cross was blocked by Ben Mee but he reacted quickest to collect the loose ball and cross for substitute Modibo Maiga – another deadline day signing for the hosts - to turn in from close range.
Tom Heaton had to deny Kranjcar late on before Clarets substitute Junior Stanislas lobbed inches wide deep into stoppage time.
But the result remained a highly creditable one for Burnley, who stay three points behind second-placed QPR.
Clarets: Tom Heaton; Kieran Trippier, Michael Duff, Jason Shackell, Ben Mee; Scott Arfield, Dean Marney, David Jones, Michael Kightly (Junior Stanislas 85); Danny Ings, Sam Vokes. Subs not used: Alex Cisak, Danny Lafferty, Kevin Long, David Edgar, Ross Wallace, Ashley Barnes.
QPR: Rob Green; Nedum Onuoha, Richard Dunne, Clint Hill, Benoit Assou-Ekotto; Matt Phillips (Junior Hoilett 6), Joey Barton, Niko Kranjcar, Armand Traore (Karl Henry 83); Kevin Doyle, Andy Johnson (Modibo Maiga 68). Subs not used: Brian Murphy, Aaron Hughes, Tom Carroll, Bobby Zamora.
Referee: Roger East.
Attendance: 16,393 (Burnley 1,447).