West Ham United piled on the misery for Queens Park Rangers with a 2-1 win at Loftus Road on Monday that left their London rivals rooted to the bottom of the Premier League.
Sam Allardyce’s side moved up to seventh after first-half goals from Matt Jarvis and Ricardo Vaz Te put the Hammers firmly in control.
QPR got one back through Adel Taarabt after the break, but the late dismissal of Mali midfielder Samba Diakite killed off the hosts, who have now lost four and drawn two of their first six matches.
In contrast, West Ham celebrated their third win of the campaign and their first on their travels.
There was more good news for the Irons as England striker Andy Carroll, on loan from Liverpool, returned as a second-half substitute to make his first appearance since suffering a hamstring injury on his debut.
“We are a newly promoted team, and we have taken the game to QPR and led through two quality finishes,” Allardyce said. “Then we had to show the other side of our character, which is good honest hard work and defending.”
“We were very poor, certainly in the first half, where we were second to every ball and didn’t get anywhere near to the level we need to be at to get results in the Premier League,” QPR manager Mark Hughes said.
Allardyce’s men made a dream start in the third minute when Vaz Te pulled the ball back for Kevin Nolan and the skipper looped a cross toward Jarvis, unmarked at the back post, and he headed home from close range.
Jarvis was only playing because of an injury to Matt Taylor and his first goal for West Ham since his ￡10.75 million (US$17.4 million) pre-season move from Wolverhampton Wanderers was a well-timed reminder to Allardyce of what he can bring to the team.
Mohamed Diame almost doubled West Ham’s lead soon after when his long-range effort took a wicked deflection off a defender and flew over QPR goalkeeper Julio Cesar, only to drop just the wrong side of the post.
QPR nearly earned a fortunate equalizer when Esteban Granero’s corner was misjudged by Hammers goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen, but the ball cannoned to safety off teammate James Collins.
West Ham lost defender Winston Reid in that incident as he was forced to come off after briefly being knocked unconscious when Jasskelainen crashed into him, while just minutes later Allardyce also had to replace Joey O’Brien due to an injury, but those enforced alterations could not disrupt West Ham and the east Londoners increased their lead in the 35th minute.
QPR were guilty of sloppy defending as a corner was only half-cleared and James Tomkins played the ball back in to Vaz Te, who marked his 26th birthday with a slightly fortunate goal that deflected off Stephane Mbia and squeezed past a weak attempted save by former Inter star Cesar.
Djibril Cisse threatened to drag QPR back into the game with a fine strike that Jaaskelainen tipped over, before Hughes sent on Diakite and Taarabt for Park Ji-sung and Shaun Wright-Phillips in a bid to spark his side into life after the break, and the move paid off just 84 seconds later.
In the 57th minute, Morocco international midfielder Taarabt collected the ball wide on the left, cut inside and unleashed a sublime curling strike that gave Jaaskelainen no chance.
The hosts were only denied an equalizer thanks to Jaaskelainen, who brilliantly pushed away Granero’s shot, and Allardyce responded by sending on Carroll for the final 20 minutes.