QPR recorded a club record fourth consecutive 1-0 win today as Charlie Austin grabbed his first league goal for the R’s against Birmingham City.
Austin pounced early on in the second half to head in from close range to seal victory at Loftus Road.
The win – QPR’s fifth this season – maintained Harry Redknapp’s sides unbeaten start to the season.
Boss Redknapp handed a debut to Tottenham loanee Tom Carroll whilst Bobby Zamora replaced the injured Andy Johnson in attack with Junior Hoilett favoured instead of Shaun Wright-Phillips.
An early sighter from Hoilett after Charlie Austin’s chest down signaled QPR’s intent inside the opening 60 seconds. Moments later the diminutive winger nicked the ball away from Paul Caddis – using his pace as he moved into the penalty area- but his shot failed to trouble visiting custodian Darren Randolph.
A training ground set-piece routine at the other end of the pitch saw Wade Elliott fire over the QPR bar from the edge of the area before Austin hit a 20-yard effort just wide of the Birmingham post in the 21st minute.
Three minutes later and the R’s were sent a warning as striker Lee Novak flicked a free kick from Birmingham’s Andrew Shinnie onto the post with Green well beaten. Fortunately for QPR it bounced back out before being cleared up field.
Birmingham were gifted another opportunity to open their account ten minutes before half time. When Joey Barton gave the ball away in midfield it released Novak and the City forward did well to spot the run of Shinnie who found himself one-on-one with keeper Green but somehow lifted it high and wide.
Injury forced Hoilett off soon after with Matt Phillips replacing him to make his QPR debut as the first half ended all square.
After the break Redknapp replaced Zamora with Wright-Phillips and two minutes later City had the ball in the QPR net through Jonathan Spector but the former West Ham player was offside.
However, just 60 seconds later QPR found an opening as Charlie Austin opened his league account. The R’s frontman had gone close with a number of more spectacular chances in recent weeks but in the end it was an effort from one-yard that saw him break his duck.
Barton’s free kick from the left picked out Richard Dunne who headed downwards. Nedum Onuoha kept the ball active hooking it back into the box from the dead ball line and with Birmingham’s Tom Aeyemi slicing against his own bar from inside the six-yard box Austin was on hand to bundle it across the line.
Austin then tried to turn provider after chasing down Gary O’Neil’s pass he laid it back to Carroll on the edge of the City box but he lifted his side footed shot over the crossbar.
R’s fans were then relieved to see Spector booked for diving after Richard Dunne hung out a leg inside the QPR penalty area in the 78th minute. Fortunately for Rangers referee Mike Jones ruled against City as Spector was cautioned.
Joey Barton nearly capped off the victory with a spectacular overhead kick but he could only warm the hands of visiting stopper Randolph before Wade Elliot tested Green at the other end.
It was a rare foray into Rangers half but it proved little more than a scare as Barton went close in stoppage time to adding a second, sending a right footed free-kick crashing against the post as QPR saw out five minutes of added on time to seal the win.