QPR had an afternoon to forget at Hull City as they went down 4-0 to Nigel Adkins’ side, while Nedum Onuoha was sent off in the final minute following an incident involving Markus Henriksen.
Coming less than a week after Rangers’ biggest win of the season with that victory over Norwich City, the R’s succumbed to their equal-heaviest defeat of the campaign.
After an initial period of few opportunities for either side, Hull opened the scoring shortly before the break through Harry Wilson who cleverly clipped the ball beyond Smithies following a neat ball from Abel Hernandez.
And that lead was doubled with almost the last kick of the opening half in fortunate circumstances when Hernandez’s effort cannoned off the bar before ricocheting off Alex Smithies and into the back of the QPR net.
Things didn’t get better after the break for the visitors, as Hull netted their third midway through the second half through substitute Kamil Groicki.
They further increased their lead when Hernandez converted from close range to complete the scoring.
Ian Holloway made one change from the side that overcame Norwich City 4-1 five days ago, with Pawel Wszolek coming in at the expense of Matt Smith, who missed out owing to illness.
It meant the R’s lined up with Alex Smithies between the sticks behind a back four of Jake Bidwell, Joel Lynch, Nedum Onuoha and Darnell Furlong.
Josh Scowen, Mass Luongo and Luke Freeman played in the centre of midfield with Ryan Manning wide on the left and Wszolek on the right.
Ebere Eze was played through the middle in attack.
The R’s had recently demonstrated a consistency in their performances, suffering just one defeat in their last six fixtures, and they were keen to keep that momentum going at the KCOM Stadium.
The hosts, meanwhile, were looking to build on two positives results – creditable draws against high-flying Aston Villa and Wolves.
Nigel Adkins made no fewer than five changes from the side that picked up a point at Molineux. Abel Hernandez, Seb Larsson, Jarrod Bowen, Michael Dawson and Harry Wilson all returned to the starting XI.
Prior to kick off, there was an emotional minute’s applause for former QPR player and manager Ray Wilkins who sadly passed away on Wednesday following a cardiac arrest.
After a quiet opening period, the first real chance of the afternoon fell to Hernandez on ten minutes but his turn and shot flew well over Smithies’ crossbar.
Bowen was next to go close, but his effort from 20 yards deflected narrowly wide.
In the 14th minute, QPR were dealt a blow when Lynch pulled up with what looked a hamstring problem. Unable to continue, he was replaced with Jack Robinson coming off the bench.
The hosts were seeing more of the ball without causing too much concern for Smithies although Bowen went very close to breaking the deadlock in the 29th minute when his free-kick from 20 yards – which he won following a mazy run before being felled by Freeman – fizzed just wide.
Bowen and Bidwell were both booked moments later following an altercation as the intensity of the game began to increase.
Hernandez was next to try his luck for the hosts but his effort was comfortably gathered by Smithies.
On 38 minutes Hull had the best opportunity of the game so far to take the lead. Bowen pulled the ball back from the right for Hernandez but he miscued his shot from eight yards, inadvertently setting up Harry Wilson who could only blaze over.
But on 42 minutes the hosts took the lead that their dominance deserved. Hernandez picked the ball up on the edge of the Rangers box and fed the ball perfectly into the path of Wilson, who made no mistake this time as he coolly directed the ball beyond Smithies and into the far corner from a tight angle.
In injury time following a good run by Freeman, the ball was played wide to Furlong who picked out Luongo in the box. The Aussie turned and shot just over the bar from inside the box as QPR came close to heading in level at the break.
But instead, they found themselves 2-0 down by the interval when Hernandez’s curled effort from 20 yards moments later bounced from the crossbar and hit Smithies on the back before rolling agonisingly across the line.
Holloway made his second change of the afternoon at half-time, bringing on Idrissa Sylla at the expense of Ryan Manning, and putting Eze into more of a midfield role with Sylla leading the line.
The R’s certainly looked more threatening in the second period but it wasn’t until the 59th minute that they came close. Eze found Freeman and the R’s midfield man advanced 15 yards before firing just wide of Allan McGregor’s goal.
The hosts were content to sit and look to catch Rangers on the break, while Holloway’s men had no choice but to commit men forward as they sought to get themselves back into this game.
On the hour mark, Eze almost found the bottom corner but his low effort was brilliantly blocked to safety by Michael Dawson.
But on 62 minutes the hosts grabbed their third of the afternoon, and it came from substitute Kamil Groicki who got on the end of Wilson’s perfectly-weighted pass before sliding the ball past Smithies from inside the box.
Holloway made his third change of the afternoon with 25 minutes remaining, bringing Bright Osayi-Samuel on for Wszolek.
But on 69 minutes Hull grabbed their fourth when Hernandez tapped home from close range after the ball was squared into his path by Markus Henriksen.
The Tigers played five across the midfield and looked comfortable as they thwarted the threat of QPR, while looked dangerous on the break.
It had turned into a very frustrating afternoon for the R’s who saw Onuoha sent off in the final minute when he barged Henriksen.
QPR will be eager to put things right when we play host to Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday evening.