More and more, Queens Park Rangers must be dreading having to rely on their away form to guarantee survival.
As sure as they keep winning at Loftus Road, they continue to fail on their travels, with 11 trips since mid-November now bringing five successive defeats and garnering a miserable two points. And there's no comfort in being reminded of their remaining destinations – Manchester City and Chelsea.
Mark Hughes' side were beaten by a stunning long-range strike by Graham Dorrans and sit precariously at the mercy of those below who have matches in hand. The visits of Tottenham Hotspur and Stoke City to Shepherds Bush will probably make or break them.
Bobby Zamora's wastefulness in front of goal was the game's deciding factor as an assured West Bromwich Albion did enough to prevail. For Zamora, it was a Carroll-esque afternoon, only without the happy ending. He remains stuck on two goals for the club in 10 games.
Ben Foster twice did well to deny him, first when he was under pressure from Gareth McAuley and then when he was the beneficiary of a terrific long diagonal ball from Taye Taiwo. The controlling touch was equally impressive but the shot with his weaker right foot was blocked.
The impact Hughes hoped for when making his former Fulham spearhead one of his January signings is a long while coming. "I'd like to give credit to the keeper in those instances," he said. "It's frustrating because we were great on Wednesday [against Swansea City] and didn't hit the same heights here. We can't just think our home form will be enough. This was an opportunity, but we can't find consistency over a period of time."
Zamora might have guessed it wasn't his day when his header to Joey Barton's outstanding cross bounced inches wide. If he didn't, a sliced late shot which hit Jamie Mackie's backside confirmed the fact.
Albion weren't flush with chances but have finally learned how to win again at The Hawthorns. Their first top-flight victory over these opponents since March 1979 was also their fourth success in their last five games here and was well merited.
Peter Odemwingie was the main threat to Rangers' defence, driving across goal early on and rifling another half-chance into the side netting. Midway through the first half, he also rolled back the pass from which Dorrans, hovering at least 25 yards out, bent back Paddy Kenny's fingertips with a stunning right-foot that gave him his first Hawthorns goal of the season. Much later, Odemwingie's delightful back-heel was toe-poked against the post by Billy Jones before the substitute Shane Long scooped wide a one-on-one.
Albion's win was all the more worthy because they had to cope with the setback of losing Jonas Olsson during the warm-up after he suffered a groin strain. "Craig Dawson stood up to his task really well in his place," said their manager Roy Hodgson. "That's 42 points for us and we have got over the line in some degree of comfort."
West Bromwich (4-1-3-2): Foster; Jones, McAuley, Dawson, Ridgewell; Mulumbu; Brunt, Dorrans (Andrews, 58), Thomas (Scharner, 78); Odemwingie, Fortune (Long, 58).
QPR (4-5-1): Kenny; Onuoha, Ferdinand, Hill, Taiwo (Traore, 76); Mackie, Barton, Diakite, Derry (Wright-Phillips, 56), Taarabt (Helguson, 74); Zamora.
Referee Jon Moss.
Man of the match Odemwingie (West Bromwich).
Match rating 7/10.Reuse content