Idrissa Sylla headed home a late winner to help QPR earn a 2-1 victory over near neighbours Fulham and ensure Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink ended a difficult week on high.
Manager Hasselbaink had been caught up in the Daily Telegraph’s investigation into corruption in football but took his place in the dugout and saw his QPR side win at Craven Cottage for the first time since 1980.
And he rode his luck on the way as Fulham missed two penalties and a host of chances before substitute Sylla headed home in the 87th minute of this west London derby. Conor Washington’s first league goal for QPR had opened the scoring before Tim Ream levelled up, only for Sylla to win it.
QPR must have feared their woeful run would continue here when Ragnar Sigurdsson was hauled down by Steven Caulker from Lucas Piazon’s fifth-minute corner.
But Tom Cairney’s penalty was pushed out by Alex Smithies to the relief of the large travelling QPR support.
QPR, who like Fulham had slipped down the table after a poor run, were visibly lifted by the let-off and took the lead in the 20th minute via Washington.
Pawel Wszolek laid the ball back into his path but his shot appeared to take a deflection off strike partner Sebastian Polter and loop past David Button.
Within two minutes Fulham somehow squandered a chance to level up through a horror miss from on-loan striker Chris Martin.
Martin has not scored for 19 league games for either Derby or Fulham but would not have had a better chance to end that drought.
Scott Parker freed Lucas Piazon who laid ball on a plate to Martin, but the Scottish striker got the ball tangled up in his feet and drove wide with an empty net in front of him.
Sone Aluko curled a 34th-minute shot inches wide and Cairney also came within a whisker of levelling when his 25-yard strike sailed just past Smithies’ right-hand post moments later.
QPR’s goal was living a charmed life but that changed within two minutes of the restart thanks to Ream.
Smithies could only palm Parker’s floated shot into the path of the American defender who made no mistake, despite the best interests of Massimo Luongo on the line.
Fulham were now in control and Ryan Tunnicliffe’s driven shot beat Smithies but went the wrong side of the post. Parker was then denied by Caulker’s fine goal-line clearance to deny the veteran midfielder.
Aluko wasted a glorious chance when he scuffed his shot wide and Fulham substitute Neeskens Kebano had the goal at his mercy but nodded wide from Scott Malone’s 74th-minute cross.
Sylla was not so charitable at the other end, diverting home Chery’s cross.
Fulham were thrown a lifeline when Nedum Onuoha was penalised for a high boot on Jozabed in added time, only for Aluko’s spot-kick to bounce back off the post.