HEIDAR Helguson notched his sixth of a brilliant comeback campaign – but the game will be remembered for the chances that went begging.
Rs could have been done, dusted and the vacuum cleaner in the cupboard before Shane Long cleaned up at the back post to scramble an undeserved equaliser nine minutes from time.
Jamie Mackie started the onslaught with a centre after 10 minutes that was cut back well enough. It was just a pity both Shaun Wright-Phillips and Ali Faurlin arrived at the same time to get in each other’s way.
The latter’s daisycutter only skimmed harmlessly past the right-hand post.
Jerome Thomas squandered a rare Albion chance minutes later when he fired straight at Radek Cerny after being put through on the left.
But when Mackie worked his way into the box to set up Joey Barton for a chip that Helguson headed back and across Foster – Rs breathed more easily.
The striker has suffered a litany of injuries over the last three seasons – but has been given a second lease of life this season.
And when Wright-Phillips left Foster all ends up again with a peach of an effort on the half volley, it had three home points written all over the game. This time, however, the Albion keeper was relieved to see an offside flag.
Long, who seconds before was getting his name sung by the travelling faithful, had his name noted by the referee for a rash challenge on Barton. And the same Ranger had to haul himself off the deck when Thomas also saw yellow for a similar foul.
Right before the break, Foster came for a long looping deflection, thought better of it, but Wright-Phillips could only head wide with his back to goal.
In fact, the man with the brightest boots on the park could have lit up Loftus Road in the second half – but twice spurned half-chances to put the game out of reach.
One when he was again back to goal he elected to lay up for Helguson who ran into a barrage of bodies, and the second after Traore got past Foster on the byline, pulled the ball back to Wright-Phillips who fired into the ground and missed.
But Barton's skewed shot when through on goal left the Rs skipper with head in hands.
In fact, the ball was rarely out of the Albion half, but when James Morrison found Peter Odemwingie down the left and his cross was deflected into the path of Long – twilight robbery was complete.