Neil Warnock restored the smiles around Queens Park Rangers by making a dream start to his managerial career at Loftus Road, but he was given a helping hand with a shocking display from Scott Carson.
The former England goalkeeper was arguably at fault for all three of Rangers' goals as the Baggies slipped up in their quest for promotion to the Premier League. The win for Rangers lifted them to 16th in the table, but perhaps more importantly it was a huge boost to morale after the ill-fated reign of Mick Harford.
Warnock said: "I told the players to go out there and smile and enjoy it, and it was a good performance. Both the players and the fans needed stability and you want to start off with a win, but I always said today would not define the next few years. It is pleasing, and I could not single a person out today for praise, they were all great, from the goalkeeper to the subs."
Warnock was quickly up to his old tricks as he emerged from the players' tunnel just before kick-off. He graciously treated the home fans to a round of applause before turning towards the travelling West Bromwich supporters. He gave them a sarcastic wave before shaking his fist in the air. Unsurprisingly, it drew a hefty level of abuse which raised the noise levels at a subdued Loftus Road.
Warnock was soon up from his seat and barking instructions at his new players, and was on his feet again as Jay Simpson gave the home side a 13th- minute lead.
Warnock's former Crystal Palace midfielder Ben Watson lost possession in midfield and Adel Taarabt took full advantage to race through on goal. His cross caused chaos in the West Bromwich box as Carson failed to gather the ball and Simpson was on hand to fire in his 13th of the season.
The 61-year-old manager's great start got even better five minutes later when Matthew Connolly made the score 2-0. Alejandro Faurlin's first-time cross caught West Bromwich out once more and the right-back kept his cool to slot through Carson's legs.
Rangers' goalkeeper, Carl Ikeme, pulled off two great saves to deny James Morrison and then Watson but he was powerless to stop Chris Brunt from heading in his 10th goal of the season in the 36th minute.
West Bromwich started getting back into the game and Simon Cox fired narrowly over the bar, but Carson made another error to gift QPR the points. The substitute Akos Buzsaky had only been on the pitch for seven minutes when his floated free-kick from 35 yards left Carson stranded. The goalkeeper watched the ball hit one post and trickle over the line as the visitors were consigned to a defeat that left them trailing the Championship leaders, Newcastle, by nine points. Albion's manager, Roberto Di Matteo, said: "Against any team, if you give away two goals in the first 20 minutes it makes it very difficult. We said before the game we wanted to keep it solid for the first 20 minutes, and we did exactly the opposite."Reuse content