Exploiting the hosts’ frailties,
QPR were particularly poor in the first half, their hapless defending helping Matt Jarvis and Ricardo Vaz Te give West Ham control.
Adel Taarabt came off the bench seven minutes into the second period, scoring a firecracker of a goal after 81 seconds, and suddenly QPR looked a cohesive force.
But the naïve tackling of Diakite, fouling Vaz Te and Guy Demel, brought his dismissal and the inevitable draining of QPR’s momentum.
Mark Hughes’ side are bottom of the
Hughes is plagued by injuries to defenders but will hope that QPR’s board are patient people. Harry Redknapp’s name will inevitably mentioned if QPR continue to struggle.
Redknapp’s old club, West Ham, came away from Loftus Road with three points and a bundle of positives. Sam Allarydce outwitted Hughes, especially in the first half when QPR were outnumbered in midfield.
West Ham’s football was fluid, there was a real togetherness about the team and there were plenty of good individual performances.
Mo Diame was a powerhouse in midfield. Vaz Te and Jarvis were flying forces down the flanks. Mark Noble was terrific, repossessing the ball relentlessly and distributing it efficiently.
Kevin Nolan was again influential in the hole behind first Carlton Cole and then Andy Carroll for the final 18 minutes.
With Roy Hodgson in the audience, Carroll eased his way back into the fray with some neat touches, linking moves and one vicious strike that Julio Cesar saved.
Allardyce said he had no objection to Hodgson calling Carroll up for the forthcoming England internationals against San Marino and Poland but the striker is clearly short of fitness.
Carroll must have watched QPR’s defending early on and itched to get on.
West Ham scored after three minutes. After combining with Vaz Te, Nolan lifted the ball rather inelegantly to the far-post where the unmarked Jarvis scored with a cushioned header past Cesar.
QPR’s keeper looked surprised to find an opponent in his area. The lack of significant resistance was alarming for the home fans to behold, contributing to the flurry of boos emanating briefly from their lips at the break.
Allardyce had to re-jig his defence when Winston Reid departed after being briefly knocked out by Jussi Jaaskelainen as a QPR free-kick curled in.
Reid, who walked off looking a forlorn, groggy figure, was soon talking in the dressing-room.
James Tomkins came on, shortly followed by George McCartney after Joey O’Brien damaged a hamstring.
Tomkins made an immediate impact, seizing on a clearance after a 35th-minute goalmouth scramble. He lifted it to the far-post where Vaz Te, reacting quicker than Stephane Mbia, swept it left-footed back past Cesar.
Mbia should have got closer to Vaz Te but Cesar’s response was anaemic at best.
Djibril Cisse at least kept showing for the ball, bringing a save from Jussi Jaaskelainen. The half closed with Bobby Zamora heading well over.
“Oh Bobby Zamora, we’ve seen that before,’’ chanted his erstwhile West Ham fans.
Eight minutes into the second half, Hughes had seen enough, hooking Shaun Wright-Phillips and the anonymous Ji-sung Park, replacing them with Taarabt and Diakite.
Taarabt immediately made his mark. Cutting in from the left, he moved the ball away from Demel, eluded Demel again and then sent the ball on a speedy, dipping journey past Jaaskelainen.
QPR were looking more solid and fluid in a 4-3-3 system with Taarabt on the left, Cisse through the middle and Zamora right.
Jaaskelainen saved from Esteban Granero and Cisse. After Cole had missed a good chance, Allardyce sent on Carroll.
Diakite was soon travelling in the opposite direction after those daft challenges.
The life gradually ebbed from QPR. West Ham went about chasing a third, and only a marvelous save from Cesar denied Vaz Te. Nolan went close to finding a third goal for the visitors, unleashing two shots goalwards but both blocked by Ryan Nelsen.
QPR had a promising opportunity to equalize but Jaaskelainen pushed away Cisse’s strike. A huge cheer went up when the fourth official signaled there would be six minutes of injury time, giving brief hope, but there was to be no escape for QPR, who have plenty of work to do on the training ground.
The game became pockmarked with a succession of bookings, eventually numbering eight for West Ham from Mark Clattenburg.
West Ham will not worry; this was another reminder of their resurgence under Allardyce.