QPR eventually cruised to three points but it was Ipswich who shaded an entertaining first half which saw both teams just unable to add a finish to gilt-edged chances.
That all changed in the second half. Niko Kranjcar broke the deadlock in the 52nd minute and the lead was doubled in the 66th minute when Charlie Austin's 25-yard shot was parried by Dean Gerken, but only into the path of the onrushing Gary O'Neill who tapped it into the open goal.
Ipswich grabbed a consolation as the match entered injury time, with Smith showing remarkable acrobatics to divert Stephen Hunt's corner into the net, but it was of little comfort to McCarthy.
He said: "We were excellent first half and I was immensely proud of that performance against a team who are probably still favourites to go up with Leicester.
"But we let them off the hook and then slightly gifted the game to them. They had that bit of quality with Niko Kranjcar's first goal before the second goal killed us.
"Dean Gerken has come in and apologised for the second goal but there is lesson for us in the way O'Neill ran in and scored the rebound.
"Tommy Smith was also upset about the third goal but he has also been magnificent for us."
- Sports & Recreation
- Niko Kranjcar
- Dean Gerken
- Charlie Austin