Twattenbung apart, and he did show a red to Diakite, it was an excellent night. The Taarabt goal was out of the top drawer, absolutely unstoppable so no blame to be assigned there, and a couple of long shots apart, QPR rarely threatened. The defence on paper looks decidedly suspect but happily the game is played on grass and not paper. Noble and Diame are screening the back four superbly and whilst we look dodgy down our left, we seem to find a way of keeping the ball out, even when Collins loses the man he is supposed to be marking.
Jussi made one superb save tonight and another decent one, but he seems to have an issue, like Green, with grubbers close to his body. Two tonight spun off him when he really should have collected them comfortably.
Most impressive tonight was Allardyce's positive team selection. Whilst Hughes left his flair players on the bench - Hoilet was brought on too late (but forced a save from Jussi) and Taarabt had an immediate and spectacular impact - Allardyce picked an offensive team with Jarvis and Vaz Te playing wide and high. The reward was goals from both, albeit Vaz Te's may be ripped from him by the dubious goals panel.
All night we were stretching QPR down the flanks and with a decent centre forward, we would have won the game at a canter. I've defended Cole so often in the past but there's no defending him now. One header in the first half was bulleted wide of the goal when a deflected header back across the face of goal was the obvious call, whilst the second half miss when played in by Nolan was nothing short of disgraceful. He was centre of the goal, Cesar was slow out of the blocks and hopelessly committed, and Cole didn't just side foot it wide, he missed a gaping goal by three yards. It was woeful finishing. And most annoying of all, he smiled. 3-1 at that stage and it was game over; instead we had to live on our nerves for another thirty minutes!
Mind you, Carroll looked rusty when he came on. One Jarvis cross found him flat footed, failing to commit in anticipation of the cross, and Nolan didn't mince his words after playing a tantalising ball across the face of the six yard box only for Carroll to start for the cross ten minutes after his marker.
But hang on, I am criticising everybody, and we won, and won quite comfortably. The pluses? Who replaced Demel over the summer? The guy playing at right back is a revelation. We saw a lumbering carthorse in the play off final, now the guy being presented as Demel looks positively live wire, getting up and down the right flank brilliantly.
Diame too was superb. If he could learn to shoot, he would be the complete midfielder.
Vaz Te looked good too, and Jarvis even better.
And Nolan and Noble did their England chances no harm at all, with Noble controlling from the base of midfield and Nolan from the pinnacle. Again, their critics will scoff, but this game was won in midfield, and Diame, Noble and Nolan were the bedrock upon which the performance was built. Yes both Noble and Nolan gave away silly free kicks in goal scoring range, and yes one Noble header deep inside his own penalty box was weak, but overall, both had commanding games.
The goals? Lovely work down the right for the first and a deft header by Jarvis; the second, a clever cross from Tomkins after a panicked clearance from a Noble free kick, and a lovely finish by Vaz Te via a deflection. It should have been four with Cole's two misses, and Cesar made a truly brilliant save to keep out a pile-driver from Vaz Te, deflecting the ball onto the bar.
So, QPR are now rooted in the bottom three with just two points - a position very similar to ours under Grant after easier fixtures - and we are suffering a nose bleed and altitude sickness in seventh place in the Prem. And Robert Green watched it all, witnessing two great saves in the game, one from the man who replaced him at Upton Park and the other from his replacement at QPR. Shame!
One question. Where the fcuk did six minutes injury time come from in the second half? There were only five in the first half after Reid was down for what seemed hours. Twattenbung doing his best to help QPR after the sending off perhaps?
Player ratings: Jussi 6: Demel 7, Collins 6, Reid 6, O'Brien 5; Diame 9, Noble 7, Nolan 8; Jarvis 8, Vaz Te 7; Cole 4 Subs McCartney 6, Tomkins 6, Carroll 5