QPR 3 West Brom 1
By Ben Kosky RANGERS seemed to rapidly lose their competitive appetite during the brief, yet dismal reign of Paul Hart – but Saturday s performance suggested that Neil Warnock has restored it just as quickly. The home defence fought hard to withstand spel
By Ben Kosky
RANGERS seemed to rapidly lose their competitive appetite during the brief, yet dismal reign of Paul Hart - but Saturday's performance suggested that Neil Warnock has restored it just as quickly.
The home defence fought hard to withstand spells of pressure from the Baggies either side of half-time, while some of the more attack-minded players showed a renewed willingness to chase back and contest possession.
But they also fulfilled their primary function at the other end of the pitch as the Rs raced into a 2-0 lead through Jay Simpson and Matthew Connolly inside the first 18 minutes.
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Adel Taarabt skipped away on the right-hand side and delivered a low cross that former England goalkeeper Scott Carson failed to hold under pressure, allowing Simpson to tuck the loose ball home.
Simpson and Taarabt were both involved in the flowing move that doubled QPR's advantage five minutes later as Alejandro Faurlin picked out Connolly, who popped up on the edge of the box and kept his nerve to beat Carson.
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While Carson struggled, it was a good day for his opposite number Carl Ikeme, who came out to smother a chance at the feet of Simon Cox and then sprang to his left to claw away a sturdy volley from ex-QPR loanee Ben Watson.
Ikeme could only watch helplessly, though, as the Baggies narrowed the deficit 10 minutes before half-time - Jerome Thomas scampering clear on the left and delivering a cross for Chris Brunt to head into the far corner.
Albion continued to press for an equaliser and it needed another Ikeme block from Thomas, as well as vital challenges from Connolly and Damion Stewart, to preserve the home side's lead.
But the introduction of Akos Buzsaky just before the hour mark paid off and he made it 3-1 seven minutes later, swinging in a 35-yard free-kick that eluded the head of Kaspars Gorkss.
Carson was sufficiently distracted to let the ball bounce over him and dribble in off the post - and rampant Rangers might even have scored more as Simpson and Vine exploited holes in the Baggies' defence, but were unable to finish.
Fortunately, there was no let-up in the Rs' determination not to concede again and, although Jonas Olsson should have done better than fire straight at Ikeme after bursting into the area, Warnock's side were worthy winners.