QPR 0 Fulham 1
This was the sweetest of victories for Fulham, coming against the manager who walked out on them – with the winner being scored by the man that replaced the striker who joined their west London neighbours.
Pavel Pogrebnyak, signed on the day Bobby Zamora moved to QPR, settled a one-sided derby with a beautifully crafted early goal.
He collected Moussa Dembele’s clever back-heel before rounding keeper Paddy Kenny and tapping into an unguarded net.
For Rangers, reduced to 10 men after Samba Diakite was sent off for a second booking 33 minutes into his debut, this was a seventh home league defeat of the season and a major blow to their survival prospects.
They were outclassed from the start and never looked like avenging the 6-0 hammering Fulham gave them at Craven Cottage in October.
Andrew Johnson netted a hat-trick in that game and thought he had scored again after only three minutes at Loftus Road.
The striker, who Rangers attempted to sign last month, headed in John Arne Riise’s cross but was ruled offside.
But the flag rightly stayed down when Dembele’s lovely piece of skill set up Pogrebnyak for the Russian’s second goal since his deadline-day move to London.
QPR’s recent arrivals, on the other hand, have endured dire starts with their new team.
Mark Hughes, who quit Fulham last summer citing their supposed lack of ambition, has spent heavily yet presided over four defeats in six league games since taking over as R’s boss.
Zamora, perhaps Hughes’ flagship signing, has now been on the losing side in all three of his games for Rangers, and Diakite – like Djibril Cisse before him – was dismissed in his first home match for the club.
The Mali midfielder could have been booked more than once before eventually picking up his second yellow card following a daft challenge on Bryan Ruiz.
It meant Fulham, notoriously dismal on the road – this was only their second away win of the season – saw out the second half fairly comfortably, although Jamie Mackie and Shaun Wright-Phillips both missed chances to equalise.
Mackie fired wide after charging into the penalty area, and Wright-Phillips failed to capitalise after finding himself with only keeper Mark Schwarzer to beat.