Queens Park Rangers vs. Fulham: Final Score 2-1, R's get first win of season

Paul Gilham

Queens Park Rangers got their first win of the season as they saw off Fulham in a mini-derby at Loftus Road.

Queens Park Rangers avoided the unwanted record of being the first team for 110 years to fail to win their first 17 games in the English top flight by beating Fulham 2-1 at Loftus Road.

QPR's failings have largely come through a lack of goals, and they were presented with a golden opportunity just a few minutes in after John Arne Riise's casual backpass played Jamie Mackie clean through on goal, but the Scotland striker blazed his chance wide to spurn a fantastic chance.

Harry Redknapp made note of the likes of Clint Hill and Ryan Nelsen in his programme notes, stating that if all the players were like them the club "wouldn't have a problem", but it didn't stop him from fielding the player who perhaps represents their antithesis in Adel Taarabt, and he appeared correct to do so as the Moroccan ran the show, setting up Djibril Cisse and Mackie for early chances that were also spurned.

Just after half-time, the hosts found their breakthrough, Taarabt with a deserved goal, albeit one that owed much to fortune after his effort from range took a deflection off Brede Hangeland which left Mark Schwarzer with little chance to save it. Fulham's poor performance was aiding Redknapp's escape act too, with Chris Baird caught in possession shortly afterwards by Djibril Cisse as Martin Jol looked furious on the touchline.

Before too long, QPR had deservedly doubled their lead, and it came once again through Adel Taarabt. This time there was no luck about it, the playmaker scoring an utterly magnificent goal as he dribbled from the halfway line past the Fulham defence to the edge of the area before smashing a fantastic finish home from distance with the outside of his foot.

With two minutes of normal time to be played however, the home side's position was put under question as Mladen Petric saw his effort loop off Alejandro Faurlin and past Robert Green to reduce the scoreline to 2-1. In the end, however, Fulham were unable to put QPR under any real pressure - they were awful from start to finish in the game and deserved nothing.

QPR, conversely, will be delighted with their first win of the season, even though much of it was owed to the temperamental Taarabt. For all Redknapp's praise of his hard-working water-carriers, it is players like Taarabt, Cisse, and Esteban Granero whose flickers of brilliance could keep QPR up this season. Taarabt in particular may be inconsistent, but when on form he does have the ability to win tight games single-handedly. For a team fighting relegation, that could be priceless come May.

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