Chester goal enough to defeat Harry Redknapp's QPR
QPR 0 Hull City 1
Published 16/08/2014 | 17:38
QPR's return to the Barclays Premier League began in defeat as James Chester's second-half header gave Hull a 1-0 victory on the opening day of the new season.
Rangers were handed a golden opportunity to salvage a draw in the 84th minute when referee Craig Pawson awarded the hosts a penalty but Charlie Austin's effort was saved by Allan McGregor.
Harry Redknapp's side enjoyed the majority of possession during the contest but Rangers were ultimately made to pay the price for a lack of cutting edge in the final third.
Instead, it was Chester who made the decisive contribution as he shook off Rio Ferdinand to head home a corner early in the second half and earn the Tigers their first win at Loftus Road since 1963.
Redknapp's teams are renowned for their free-flowing style of play but Rangers struggled for goals in the Championship last season and may do so again on this evidence.
Loic Remy, who could have been wearing the red of Liverpool had he not failed a medical earlier this summer, was certainly the home side's greatest threat but Hull's well-organised defensive trio did just enough to keep the Frenchman at bay.
Hull enjoyed the better of the opening period, but the hosts established a foothold and were almost gifted a breakthrough when McGregor failed to shepherd the ball out of play for a goal-kick and Austin stole possession out wide.
The striker could have tried a long-range shot into the open net but instead he teed up Jordon Mutch at the back post, who missed the ball completely on his weaker right foot.
Remy, who was lacklustre early on, grew into the game and started causing Hull's back three problems with his direct running in behind.
Just before the half-hour mark, the striker earned a free-kick on the edge of the area which Joey Barton clipped into the side-netting, and moments later he again broke free to find Mutch, who headed narrowly wide.
QPR continued to look the more likely scorers and almost broke the deadlock before half-time as Steven Caulker rose highest to a corner, but his header was cleared off the line by Andrew Robertson.
The home side started the second half brightly but it was Hull who grabbed the opener in the 52nd minute when Chester out-muscled Ferdinand at a corner and headed home Hull's first goal of the season.
Rangers responded positively to going behind but, for all their possession and forward-running, were unable to carve out a decisive chance.
Instead, it was the visitors who should have doubled their lead when Tom Ince was put through on the counter-attack, but the 22-year-old's tame finish was blocked by the legs of Rob Green.
Redknapp threw on Junior Hoilett, Bobby Zamora and Matt Phillips in the latter stages in search of an equaliser, and it was Hoilett who earned his side a spot-kick when his cross was adjudged to have struck the hand of Chester six minutes from time.
Austin stepped up and fired low to McGregor's right but the Hull stopper read the shot and palmed the ball away.
Zamora and Remy both had chances to equalise in the dying moments but the former took too long and the latter was denied by McGregor as Hull held on for all three points.
QPR (0) 0 Hull (0) 1
QPR: Green, Caulker, Ferdinand, Dunne (Zamora 78), Simpson (Phillips 68), Faurlin (Hoilett 69), Mutch, Barton, Traore, Remy, Austin. Subs Not Used: Hill, Onuoha, Henry, Murphy. Booked: Dunne.
Hull: McGregor, Chester, Bruce (McShane 46), Davies, Elmohamady, Huddlestone, Livermore, Robertson, Ince (Meyler 82), Snodgrass (Quinn 40), Jelavic. Subs Not Used: Figueroa, Brady, Harper, Aluko. Booked: Davies, Jelavic. Goals: Chester 52.
Ref: Craig Pawson