Queens Park Rangers 1-0 Sunderland
- Austin scores QPR's first goal of the season
- Rangers abandon 3-5-2 in favour of a 4-3-3 formation
- Loic Remy withdrawn from line-up ahead of Chelsea move
- Sunderland remain without a league win this season
Queens Park Rangers claimed their first win of the season as Charlie Austin's goal gave them victory over Sunderland.
Rangers came into the game having suffered three straight defeats, in which they had not managed a goal.
But Austin - leading the line in the absence of Loic Remy, who was withdrawn from the home starting XI ahead of a move to Chelsea - ended that run with a close-range strike following a corner.
Sunderland battled hard but fell to their first defeat of the season.
QPR had to wait until mid-December for their first league win during their last Premier League campaign in 2012-13.
That they have achieved this feat a full three-and-a-half months earlier this time around will give them hope of avoiding a repeat of their relegation of two seasons ago.
It was far from a cohesive performance from Rangers, who have still yet to work out their best formation or starting XI, but there were significant improvements from their first two league matches of the season, particularly their 4-0 mauling at the hands of Tottenham last weekend.
Harry Redknapp began the season using the much-discussed and often maligned 3-5-2 formation, currently being put to largely ineffective use at Manchester United by Louis van Gaal.
|A long time coming...|
|QPR have had to wait over 17 months for a Premier league win, having failed to claim victory in the last nine games of the 2012-13 season (in which they were relegated) and the first two matches of this season. Their previous top-flight win to Saturday's was also against Sunderland at Loftus Road (3-1 on 9 March).|
However, whereas Van Gaal seems intent on persevering with the system, three straight defeats without having scored a goal was enough for Redknapp, who switched to a more familiar back four and a three-man attack.
Remy was a part of that frontline until midday, when the club accepted a release-clause triggering offer for the player from Chelsea, thus prompting his withdrawal and seemingly the end of his career at Loftus Road.
The French forward had scored QPR's last three goals in the Premier League, going back to the end of the 2012-13 season and his intelligent movement and attacking instinct was missed by the home side.
Fortunately for them, they also have last season's 20-goal top-scorer Austin in their ranks and the striker proved the match-winner on his return to the side following a hamstring injury.
In first-half added time, Joey Barton's corner was met at the far post by Leroy Fer, who had earlier hit the crossbar with a powerful 30-yard drive, and his cushioned header was the perfect set-up for Austin to smash the ball into the roof of the net from 10 yards.
The goal, and its timing, was a huge blow to the visitors, who had looked the more composed side for much of the first half.
The returning Adam Johnson was a lively presence, creating two good openings with neat through-balls but neither Steven Fletcher nor Patrick van Aanholt could make the most of them, with the former seeing his shot saved by Robert Green and the latter looping his effort over the bar.
QPR had more control in the second half forcing their opponents to increasingly levels of desperation.
The Black Cats finished the game with a host of forwards on the pitch including Jozy Altidore and Emanuele Giaccherini.
The Italian came the closest to earning his side a point but his powerful 25-yard shot was palmed away superbly by the diving Green to ensure that QPR sealed just a fifth win in 43 Premier League games.
- 17MutchBooked at 57mins
- 23HoilettSubstituted forTraoreat 83'minutes
- 10FerSubstituted forTaarabtat 90'minutes
- 9AustinSubstituted forZamoraat 69'minutes
- 27VerginiSubstituted forAltidoreat 82'minutes
- 3van Aanholt
- 6CattermoleBooked at 37mins
- 8RodwellSubstituted forGiaccheriniat 69'minutesBooked at 90mins
- 9FletcherSubstituted forBuckleyat 69'minutes
- 14Jordi Gómez
- Robert Madley
- Shots on Target