Queens Park Rangers 0-1 Fulham

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 25: Damien Duff of Fulham avoids Bobby Zamora of Queen Park Rangers during the Barclays Premier League match between Queens Park Rangers and Fulham at Loftus Road on February 25, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)

Mark Hughes pushed Martin Jol away after Fulham's 1-0 victory at Loftus Road, accusing the Ducthman of 'patronising him' during their ceremonious handshake. You can't help but feel, though, that the job had already been done in that respect. Seven goals against and not a goal to speak of in return for QPR in this West London derby - all this in spite of the fact that Fulham's away form is, in general at least, abysmal. The hoops join Wigan Athletic on the list of clubs that Fulham have beaten on their travels this term, while Fulham move one step closer to the top ten.

Pavel Pogrebnyak was the difference here, his calm finish and charismatic display outlining the reason why Bobby Zamora, starting for the opposition after his deadline day move, will not be missed. The former Fulham front man, in his number 52 shirt, looked somewhat disinterested, despite the importance of the tie with his side now definitely finding themselves in a dogged fight for safety.

Jol made one change to the side that beat Stoke City two weeks ago, drafting in the now injury-free Andrew Johnson in place for Damien Duff. The former Tottenham manager was in search of his first set of consecutive victories in the Premier League since taking the reigns at Craven Cottage and the early signs were positive.

The away following, of just over 3000, were in fine voice as Johnson looked to have fired Fulham into the lead after only 3 minutes. His strike was ruled marginally offside, however, and an end-to-end opening continued.

It was the away side, however, that got the early goal. Pogrebnyak rounded the goalkeeper after a particularly piercing pass from an impressive Moussa Dembele and the Russian slotted home. He ran to the now raucous away following and celebrated in style. He may have only just joined but he understood the importance of the tie.

Fulham's football was incredibly easy on the eye - one touch passing and some splendid movement meant the counter attack was working as planned and Clint Dempsey nearly put the game beyond doubt before ten minutes had elapsed but QPR stood firm.

Hughes' men fought their way back into the game and Zamora could, and perhaps should, have scored from close range after 25 minutes. He failed to find the target however, justifying Jol's decision to let him go.

Adel Taarabt had a long range shot saved by Schwarzer before the game was made all the more tough for QPR with the sending off of Samba Diakite. His tackles had been reckless, albeit not intentionally, all day as the seemingly failed to cope with the fast-paced football the Premier League offers.

The man advantage saw Fulham through the first half with ease as they enjoyed a favourable amount of possession. As the second half began, though, the home side seemed ready and willing for what was going to be an uphill task. They pressed well and were sharp in the opening few minutes.

Despite this, it was Pogrebnyak who went on to almost double his tally. A left footed strike travelled inches wide of the left hand post, with his intricate movement during the game clearly impressing his manager. The Russian lasted the whole ninety minutes and there was talk from Jol, post match, of a permanent deal.

Jamie Mackie was gifted one of the better chances of the half after the hour mark passed. The striker, who had scored twice from the bench in his last outing, was set free in the penalty but fired wide, much to the away fans' relief. It was a warning, however, that QPR were battling their way back into the game and for all of Fulham's positive football - with Ruiz, Dembele and Dempsey mixing well - the home side were posing a huge threat.

Chris Baird replaced Danny Murphy on 73 minutes as the manager attempted to solidify his lead, followed by the removal of both Ruiz and Johnson.

Hughes' men still had the upper hand, though, and there was disbelief around the whole ground as Shaun Wright-Phillips fired wide from a glorious opportunity. He only had Schwarzer to beat but put it wide of the right-hand post.

Dickson Etuhu nearly caught QPR on the counter attack in the last minute of normal time, bursting from his own half and firing just wide after reaching the penalty area.

That was the last major piece of action and the Fulham players threw their shirts to the away fans in both celebration and relief. The derby had been won and the away hoodoo had been broken.

Two goals in two games for The Pog, two wins over QPR, two away wins this season and two straight Premier League victories. Who fancies a flurry of threes against Wolves next week?

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