West Brom 5 QPR 1
Kevin Phillips rolled back the years with a superb performance as West Bromwich Albion produced a finishing masterclass to move up to second in the Coca-Cola Championship and leave sorry Queens Park Rangers rooted to the bottom of the table.
Phillips was at the heart of most of what Albion created and he displayed all his predatory instincts in opening the scoring from close range before doubling his tally with a sublime, curling effort from the edge of the area.
In between, Ishmael Miller had doubled the lead before Gareth Ainsworth pegged the hosts back by becoming the first visiting player to breach the Baggies’ defence at The Hawthorns this season.
Despite seeing that run broken, Tony Mowbray’s side were never in danger of losing their 100 per cent home record and second-half thunderbolts from Robert Koren and Jonathan Greening gave a scoreline more indicative of the gulf between the two sides on the day.
Phillips had gone close to opening the scoring in the ninth minute when his volley from Greening’s corner was kept out by a combination of a Rangers defender and the post. Phillips then fired the rebound over the crossbar.
Albion hit their visitors with two goals in as many minutes just before the midway point of the first half and on-loan Manchester City forward Miller was instrumental in both.
Miller breezed past Zeshan Rehman to reach the byline and send a low cross into the six-yard area for Phillips to complete the simple task of scoring.
Moments later Miller then broke the offside trap to race clear and slide the ball under the advancing Lee Camp to double his side’s lead.
Rangers hit back in the 24th minute through Ainsworth’s close-range finish after Dexter Blackstock had headed Martin Rowland’s far-post free kick back across the face of goal.
But Phillips restored Albion’s two-goal advantage six minutes before the break when he found the top corner with a curling shot.
Only a fine save by Camp prevented the hosts from stretching their lead before the break when James Morrison shot from an acute angle after being put through by Andrade Filipe Teixeira.
Mowbray made seven changes to the side that lost to Cardiff City in the Carling Cup.
Leon Barnett returned at the heart of the defence while left-back Paul Robinson recovered from the ankle injury which kept him out in midweek.
There were also returns for Carl Hoefkens, Teixeira, Greening, Koren and Phillips.
QPR manager John Gregory made three changes to the side that held Watford to a draw last weekend.
Former Aston Villa youngster Stefan Moore replaced suspended midfielder Mikele Leigertwood as Gregory opted to start with three strikers.
Another enforced change saw Ben Sahar come in for the injured Daniel Nardiello while Rehman was preferred ahead of Sampsa Timoska.
Phillips came close to completing his hat-trick just before the hour-mark but his shot was saved by the legs of Camp.
Rangers did not escape, though, as Koren lashed an unstoppable 12-yard drive into the top corner from the rebound.
Hoefkens flashed a shot narrowly wide before another thwarted Phillips effort resulted in the Baggies scoring again — this time through Greening.
Phillips saw his shot from the right-hand side of the area deflected wide and, from the resulting corner, the ball fell to Greening 25 yards out.
He sent a left-foot volley through a crowded penalty area and into the bottom corner. Rangers’ defenders appealed for offside against Miller but it was to no avail.
Albion goalkeeper Dean Kiely was forced into a rare piece of action in the 78th minute to tip Rowlands’ rising shot over the crossbar.
It should have been worse for QPR as substitute Craig Beattie wrongly had an effort ruled out for offside with five minutes remaining.
But it was all academic as the Baggies moved to within a point of leaders Watford and left QPR as the only club in the Football League still searching for their first win this season.nStoke City failed to capitalise on the lack of winners at the top end of the table as they, too, were held 1-1 at Leicester City.
Ricardo Fuller (15) opened the scoring with a brilliant turn and shot but Matty Fryatt gave Gary Megson’s side a share of the spoils, cutting in and finishing two minutes after the break.
Scunthorpe United moved sixth after Paul Hayes’ volley gave them a 1-0 win at Colchester United.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink (73) put Cardiff City a goal up against Barnsley at Oakwell but they were not able to hold on to all three points as Brian Howard (84) headed a late equaliser.
Southampton came from behind to record a surprising 2-1 win over Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.
Keith Gillespie (15) cut in and finished to put the Blades ahead but that lead was wiped out by half time through Grzegorz Rasiak (19) and Jhon Viafara’s tap-in (31) after Paddy Kenny dropped the ball at his feet.
There was yet another draw at Turf Moor where Mark Hudson’s header (five) put Crystal Palace ahead before Michael Duff (13) levelled.
Hull City destroyed Ipswich Town in the first half to eventually claim a 3-1 win at KC Stadium.
Henrik Pedersen (11 and 40) got his first goals for the Tigers with Wayne Brown (45) adding a third, and Dan Harding’s response moments later was too little too late.
Scorers: Phillips (17) 1-0, Miller (18) 2-0, Ainsworth (24) 2-1, Phillips (39) 3-1, Koren (57) 4-1, Greening (66) 5-1.
WEST BROMWICH ALBION (4-4-2): Kiely; Albrechtsen, Hoefkens, Barnett, Robinson; Koren, Greening (Gera, 67), Filipe Teixeira (Brunt, 63), Morrison; Miller (Beattie, 67), Phillips. Subs: Steele, Pele.
QPR: Camp, Rehman (Curtis, 46), Cullip, Stewart, Barker (Bignot, 60), Ainsworth, Bolder, Rowlands, Moore, Blackstock, Sahar (Ephraim, 60). Subs: Cole, Timoska.
Referee: Andy D’Urso (Essex).
Bookings: QPR — Curtis, Rowlands.
Albion man of the match: Kevin Phillips — finishing masterclass capped superb all-round display.