RANGERS’ recent winning streak was brought to an end, as unbeaten West Bromwich Albion backed up their promotion credentials with a deserved 2-0 win in W12.
In truth, Slaven Bilic’s men were better in possession and good value for their victory in the end.
Nathan Ferguson got the ball rolling for the Baggies when his distance effort shot past Joe Lumley and into the net in the 53rd minute.
And after Yoann Barbet was shown a straight red card in the 82nd minute for unfairly preventing sub Hal Robson-Kanu from racing clean through on goal, Marcus Pereira arrowed home the resultant free-kick to send West Brom top of the Sky Bet Championship.
R’s boss Mark Warburton named an unchanged starting line-up for the visit of fellow in-form outfit West Brom, who themselves included three ex-QPR men in their first XI in Charlie Austin, Darnell Furlong and Matt Phillips.
In a 3-5-2 formation, Rangers shaped up as: Lumley; Geoff Cameron, Toni Leistner, Barbet; Todd Kane, Dom Ball, Ilias Chair, Ebere Eze, Ryan Manning; Jordan Hugill, Nahki Wells.
When the game got underway, it’s fair to say that the first 20 or so minutes were a little one-sided – visitors Albion enjoying the better of the play.
In the fifth minute, Barbet produced a timely block to keep out Austin’s box blast, as West Brom got the first sight of goal.
In the 18th minute, meanwhile, Albion went even closer on two separate occasions.
First Jake Livermore’s cross-shot forced a fine reaction save from Lumley at his near post and, from the resultant corner, Grady Diangana flashed an effort just inches wide of the left-hand post.
The game had become a bit scrappier once the half-hour mark arrived and indeed heading into half-time, as Rangers did their best to disrupt the visitors’ flow.
The R’s had their first effort in the 36th minute. Wells let fly from range, but his shot – the last notable one before the break – sailed high and wide.
QPR began the closing period in positive fashion and, soon after the re-start, Leistner thundered his edge-of-the-box attempt past the upright at the Loft End.
But it was West Brom who would strike the first blow of this contest, taking the lead in the 53rd minute.
Ferguson’s 25-yard drive skipped up off the ground before squirming under the outstretched right-hand of Lumley. Advantage Albion.
Three minutes later, the visitors almost made it 2-0. Thankfully, Austin – after combining with fellow ex-R Phillips from a corner-kick routine – blasted well over from 12 yards.
Austin also threatened in the 59th minute, his swerving 18-yard blast smartly parried away from danger by Lumley.
As Rangers looked to respond, an unmarked Chair – following a home corner – shot over from 20 yards shortly after the hour mark.
Then in the 69th minute, QPR manager Warburton opted to make his first change of the afternoon. Bright Osayi-Samuel replaced Ebere Eze.
Soon after that substitution, West Brom – who looked to slow proceedings down as the clock ticked away, too – went close again as Diangana’s bullet shot forced another Lumley parry.
Rangers made a second sub fourteen minutes from time, as Marc Pugh came on for Wells.
The visitors probably should have made it 2-0 in the 80th minute, as first sub Kyle Edwards shot straight at Lumley from close range, before Livermore followed up to fire over.
But West Brom did put the game to bed four minutes later.
After Barbet – who was the last man – was shown a straight red card for bringing down sub Robson-Kanu on 20 yards, Pereira stepped up to send the subsequent free-kick into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.