Charlie Austin proved Queens Park Rangers’ match-winner with a brace that secured a 2-0 win over Aston Villa and lifted them off the foot of the Barclays Premier League.
Austin scored the only goal to sink Sunderland in August – the solitary triumph of the season for Harry Redknapp's men as they headed into Monday's Loftus Road encounter with an out-of-sorts Villa side.
Despite being on the defensive during the opening exchanges, Rangers led when Austin – who first came to prominence with non-league Poole Town – marked his 200th professional appearance with his 105th career goal in the 16th minute.
Christian Benteke went closest to levelling for Villa before Austin ensured his former club Burnley replaced QPR in 20th position after impressive work from Chile international Eduardo Vargas.
Three points were vital for QPR ahead of matches against leaders Chelsea and third-placed Manchester City, while Villa, whose impressive start to the campaign included a win over Liverpool at Anfield, have now lost five consecutive matches without scoring since Paul Lambert agreed fresh terms at the club.
Rob Green returned to replace understudy Alex McCarthy in goal for the hosts, while Vargas replaced Nedum Onuoha and his compatriot Mauricio Isla reverted to right-back as the ex-Manchester City defender sat out with hamstring trouble.
An ankle injury to Alan Hutton meant a first appearance of the season for Villa right-back Matt Lowton – one of four changes made by manager Lambert following their 3-0 loss to Everton.
Villa made the most impressive start, with Green doing well to get behind powerfully struck efforts from Ashley Westwood and recalled fellow midfielder Carlos Sanchez.
But QPR surged ahead against the run of play in the 16th minute when Bobby Zamora chested down for Austin to send a wonderful 20-yard effort whistling into the bottom left corner.
The QPR backline were kept busy as Benteke saw a header sail narrowly wide before Green had to be sharp to deny Andreas Weimann and Yun Suk-young produced a timely 34th-minute block to deny the Austria forward.
Villa's attacking efforts continued after the interval as Benteke towered above the QPR defence to head down a 55th-minute set play for Ciaran Clark but the defender was unable to scramble in under pressure.
Zamora made way for Junior Hoilett in the 62nd minute and the winger lent renewed impetus to the QPR attack, clipping a curling effort against the post.
The change in momentum proved decisive as Sanchez ceded possession in the 69th minute for Vargas to charge down the right flank, Austin finishing his low cross with aplomb at the near post.
Villa's frustrations were compounded as substitute Joe Cole clumsily got in Benteke's way as a sight of goal opened up and Green produced a fine double save to extend Villa's toothless run and secure a rare clean sheet.
QPR manager Harry Redknapp: "It was a great result. We played well against Liverpool [in a 3-2 defeat last week]. We played well here against Stoke and Sunderland. Hull we missed a penalty right at the end of the game. So we worked hard again tonight."
"There were lots of good performances. Yun [Suk-young] came in at left-back and the last couple of games has done fantastic. Richard Dunne and [Steven] Caulker were up against [Christian] Benteke, who is a fantastic striker in my opinion, and I thought they played him great.
"Rob Green, [Mauricio] Isla at right-back and the first time I got 90 minutes out of Sandro. I bought him here, he is a big player but I haven't been able to get him out on the pitch and tonight he made a difference."
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert: "We started really well and had a lot of the ball. We looked really threatening. It's the best we have started for a number of weeks.
"QPR scored with their first shot on goal. It was poor defending from us. You have to win it first and foremost and deal with the ball. The ball has travelled 60 yards. I don't think that should have happened. We should have dealt with it better. The lads know that. The second goal was really poor too.
"In terms of the general game, I couldn't fault that. I think that's the most we've had the ball possession wise but that's why I'm not really one for stats. The main stat is putting the ball in the net and keeping it out.
"We defended poorly for the two goals and I think we've got to be more clinical in the last third of the pitch. The two goals were disappointing because we had most of the ball.
"Coming here I always knew it was going to be a tough game and I was pretty pleased with the way we had the ball and what we were doing with it. But we had to be more clinical in the final third of the pitch.
"I thought the two goals we lost were shocking especially when we were on top. I set the team out to go and attack and try and win the game. We had a lot of the ball and looked comfortable with it.
"To lose those goals, that's the thing that's probably given me the most disappointment."
|15 Dec 2014||v Everton (A)|
|06 Dec 2014||v Burnley (H)|
|02 Dec 2014||v Swansea (A)|
|20 Dec 2014||v West Brom (H)|
|01 Nov 2014||v Chelsea (A)|
|08 Nov 2014||v Man City (H)|