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Queens Park Rangers 2-1 Birmingham City: QPR go four points clear of drop zone

QPR players celebrate Jimmy Dunne's stoppage time winner
Jimmy Dunne's added time winner moved QPR four points clear of the relegation zone [Getty Images]

Jimmy Dunne's 92nd-minute rocket gave QPR a huge win against fellow relegation strugglers Birmingham City in Gary Rowett's first game back as Blues boss.

Juninho Bacuna put Blues in front in the second half before Steve Cook equalised for the R's just three minutes later.

It looked like both sides would have to settle for a point as they fight desperately to move away from the Championship drop zone.

But Dunne's incredible left-foot shot rifled into the top left corner to send Loftus Road into a frenzy and secure a three vital points for the Hoops.

It moves them four points above the relegation places, while Birmingham are only out of the drop zone on goal difference.

QPR made a strong start with Ilias Chair's point-blank header forcing a save from Blues goalkeeper John Ruddy before Lucas Andersen's half-volley clipped the top of the bar with Ruddy beaten.

The Hoops duo looked the most likely to break the deadlock and combined for Dane Andersen to head straight at Ruddy.

That came shortly after Blues striker Jay Stansfield latched on to a fine Bacuna pass but was unable to get a shot away after rounding QPR keeper Asmir Begovic as the visitors failed to get an effort on target before the break.

Michael Frey and Sam Field had early second-half chances for QPR before Stansfield really should have done better after Bacuna again played his team-mate in.

And Bacuna would show him how it was done soon after, exchanging passes with Ethan Laird before bending a shot past Begovic for the opener.

Gary Rowett
Gary Rowett returned as Birmingham's interim boss on 19 March [Getty Images]

But centre-back Cook hit straight back for the hosts, with Dunne knocking down Andersen's cross and Cook following up his own blocked effort with a fierce, swerving shot into the bottom corner.

The game appeared to be heading towards a draw until Begovic sent a long punt forward in the second minute of added time.

Dunne rose highest to head the ball down to substitute Sinclair Armstrong, who gave it back Dunne in the right-back position, and what followed was worthy of winning any game.

Chesting the ball the down, the 26-year-old Irishman fizzed a dipping left-foot volley beyond Ruddy for a win that moves the Hoops up to 18th in the table.

QPR boss Marti Cifuentes told BBC Radio London:

"What a game. I'm very glad for the supporters and the players because it was difficult, as we predicted.

"But especially because we got three clear chances in the first half and to go in 0-0 is not easy.

"If you miss chances then your opponent will punish you, that is the rule of football and that is what happened, so the courage to get the quick draw [equaliser] and then to keep going to win I think shows the massive mentality these guys have."

On Jimmy Dunne's winner:

"I'm so happy for him. He has worked very hard, he had a period where he didn't play because we had a lot of good players and even then he was training and competing well, it was difficult to make a lot of changes to a team that was collecting points.

"Probably he had been dreaming before as a kid to score a goal like this and I'm very happy for him."