Queens Park Rangers 3-2 West Bromwich Albion
- QPR climb out of the bottom three
- Austin scores first Premier League hat-trick
- West Brom had led 2-0
- Lescott and Varela had scored first Albion goals
Charlie Austin's hat-trick helped Queens Park Rangers climb out of the Premier League's bottom three as they came from 2-0 down to beat West Brom.
Joleon Lescott's header and Silvestre Varela's low strike, their first Albion goals, put the visitors in charge.
However, Austin fired in a penalty after Leroy Fer was pulled back to reduce the deficit at the break.
Austin volleyed in from three yards to level and completed his hat-trick with a header from another corner to win it.
It was the striker's 11th goal of the season, cementing his position as the leading English goalscorer in the top flight behind Manchester City's Argentina forward Sergio Aguero and Chelsea's Spanish striker Diego Costa.
However, the euphoric scenes that followed at the final whistle were a marked contrast to the feeling inside Loftus Road after just 20 minutes.
West Brom started brightly with Craig Gardner denied by home keeper Rob Green, while Brown Ideye blazed over from a good position.
And Albion took the lead when Lescott headed home after Sessegnon had flicked on Sebastien Pocognoli's corner.
Head coach Alan Irvine had talked positively this week about Varela, who is on loan from Porto, and the lively forward showed why as he put West Brom further ahead.
|Austin powers QPR|
|Charlie Austin has now scored 31 goals in 52 games since signing for QPR from Burnley.|
Varela's driving run and one-two with Sessegnon on the edge of the penalty area was followed by a composed finish from 12 yards as Irvine, under pressure until a 1-0 victory over Aston Villa last time out, punched the air in delight.
However, Rangers were level within five minutes.
Referee Craig Pawson bravely punished James Morrison for grappling with Leroy Fer as a corner was swung into the box and Austin, who was returning after suspension, powered in the resulting penalty.
But West Brom could have been 3-1 ahead with Green making good saves to keep out Gardner's deflected 25-yard free-kick and then Sessegnon powerful drive which followed a surging run into the box.
Green's agility was rewarded when Austin instinctively stuck out a foot to volley in from close range after Richard Dunne had headed Joey Barton's corner onto the bar.
Within seconds, Barton went down in the box under a challenge from Morrison but Pawson waved away penalty appeals.
Both sides had chances in a thrilling contest with Sessegnon shooting wide from Gardner's lay-off while Albion keeper Ben Foster denied Austin a hat-trick with a sharp near-post save.
But Austin was not to be denied and he rose highest to head home another Barton corner. It was Austin's ninth goal in the last seven matches and will increase calls for him to be handed an England call-up.
Albion substitute Saido Berahino, who had earlier volleyed over, came close to a last-gasp equaliser, striking the underside of the bar from an acute angle.
QPR manager Harry Redknapp told Sky Sports News: "Charlie is a great story. He's struggled around non-league for years and suddenly gets a break. It's Roy of the Rovers stuff.
"He is a great lad and you could not wish it on a better boy. He's been out on a building site in the freezing cold and knows what it's like.
"A lot of lads get given everything, he's worked for it. He's a great example."
West Brom head coach Alan Irvine said: "We deserved to win the game and the fact that we didn't was down to us not defending well at three corners and not being clinical.
"Austin is a top player. As I said this week when I was Sheffield Wednesday manager I wanted to sign him. He looks a very good player.
"It's bitterly disappointing to leave with nothing as I would have been disappointed with just a point."
|Match of the Day analysis|
|Former England defender Phil Neville: "Charlie Austin is single-handedly keeping QPR out of the bottom three. His overall goalscoring record is fantastic. He is one of the in-form strikers in the league this season. At the start of the season I had my doubts about whether he could step up to the Premier League, but he has done really well."|
|Former England striker Alan Shearer: "It helps Charlie Austin having Bobby Zamora up front, who is willing to be a bit of a battering ram. Austin's finishing looks natural and it's an incredible story from where he was to where he is now."|