A MAJESTIC free-kick from Adel Taarabt proved only a consolation as a QPR XI lost 3-1 to West Ham United in a friendly on Tuesday.
The R’s number 10 starred in front of Harry Redknapp at Upton Park but it was Hammers youngster Blair Turgott who took centre stage, bagging a hat-trick to defeat Marc Bircham’s side.
With no match until April owing to international fixtures, Bircham used the opportunity to field a number of experienced first-team players including the likes of Taarabt, Jamie Mackie, Esteban Granero and Junior Hoilett.
Brian Murphy took the gloves between the sticks behind a back four of Luke Young, Max Ehmer, Nedum Onouha and Michael Doughty. Further afield Granero was joined in central midfield by Shaun Derry, flanked by Mackie and Hoilett on either wing. Taarabt was deployed behind Jay Bothroyd, who led the line for Rangers.
It was Bircham’s troops who made the early running as Hoilett seized on a loose pass in the hosts backline within 60 seconds. The winger raced into the area but his effort was straight at the Hammers’ trialist goalkeeper, who gathered the ball at the second attempt.
At the other end Murphy was called into early action two minutes later after Rangers failed to clear a corner. The ball eventually fell to Kieran Bywater in space, whose shot through a crowd of bodies was parried away to safety by the R’s keeper.
There was little Murphy could do from the Hammers’ next attack, who edged in front in spectacular fashion on 11 minutes. Following a sweeping move down the R's left, a cross fell nicely for Turgott who controlled neatly before unleashing a ferocious shot into the top right-hand corner.
Despite the early setback, Rangers continued to enjoy the better of possession and almost provided the perfect response on 22 minutes. Taarabt’s perfectly weighted through ball set Mackie free, but the Scot could only slide his effort wide under pressure from full-back Jordan Spence.
Taarabt took aim moments later, curling a delicate shot narrowly wide of the Hammers upright.
West Ham, though, were proving deadly in attack and doubled their lead on 26 minutes. Turgott once again found room on the edge of the area before curling an effort past Murphy’s despairing dive to bag his second of the afternoon.
The R’s keeper was the busier of the two goalkeepers and was called upon again twice before half-time, saving smartly from Spence and Wellington Paulista who both tried their luck from distance.
Rangers could have fallen further behind three minutes before the break but Doughty’s last-ditch sliding challenge prevented Bywater from netting at the back post.
Sam Magri was introduced at half-time, replacing Young in the right-side of defence shortly before Rangers made the ideal start after the interval.
After Hoilett was unfairly upended five yards outside the box, Taarabt made the Hammers pay by caressing the resulting free-kick into the top corner with the second half just two minutes old.
The goal handed Rangers renewed impetus but were undone four minutes later as Turgott completed his hat-trick. The midfielder cut in from the R’s right before seeing his driven shot ricochet in off the far upright.
The R’s pressed for a second but were almost caught out from their own corner as Paulista raced away. The striker squared for Turgott whose aim was off target this time, clearing his volley over the crossbar.
Hoilett forced the Hammers goalkeeper into action shortly after, who had to save low down to his right from the R’s winger’s dipping 30-yard volley. The stopper was called upon again on 65 minutes, denying Granero from similar range.
Rangers remained the dominant force as the game wore but fell short in the final third. First Bothroyd’s close-range volley was blocked before Hoilett’s drive from 18 yards flashed over as the Hammers weathered the late pressure to take the spoils.
QPR: Murphy, Young (Magri 46), Doughty (Shariff 66), Derry, Onouha, Ehmer (Brown 62), Mackie, Granero, Bothroyd, Taarabt, Hoilett.