The Warmdown: Late Austin header condemns Albion to another away defeat
Austin beats Gardner-Hickman to the ball to score - Photo by Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images

Queen's Park Rangers striker Charlie Austin damned his former club to another away defeat, scoring a late header to clinch victory.

West Bromwich Albion had the share of possession in the first half as they controlled the ball inside their attacking third.

As QPR came roaring out for the second period, the introduction of new signing Daryl Dike revitalised Albion's forward ranks and provided some momentum.

However, it was a familiar face that came back to haunt them, as Austin stooped to head in with a minute left to play.

  • An ex-Albion haunting

After picking up three wins in as many games, the R's were going into the game with fresh optimism that they could leapfrog Albion in the league ranking.

But it was a former West Brom combination that eventually downed the Baggies.

November's EFL Championship player of the month Chris Willock wreaked havoc throughout the game and crossed a dangerous ball into the box for the winner.

Willock spent half a season on-loan at Albion during their 2019/20 promotion campaign but never made a senior appearance for the club.

His cross meant that Austin could plant his header into the bottom corner and past keeper David Button.

The ex-Baggies striker made 45 appearances for the club and scored 11 goals all of which at Championship level.

One-time West Brom loanee Stefan Johansen anchored the midfield alongside Albion youth academy product Sam Field.

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  • Dike's first impression

Signed on the opening day of the January transfer window from Orlando City, Dike made his debut in this defeat.

Coming on as a substitute in the 59th minute, the American's signing saw a fresh sense of optimism as he arrived onto the pitch.

Albion had been missing a striker that can hold up the ball efficiently and bring others in to play.

And the early signs are that he could be the missing piece.

Plucking the ball out from the air and passing the ball through to Karlan Grant, was possibly the only moment that brought a cheer from the Baggies fans all afternoon.

His strength on the ball was also visible for all to see, his shoulder challenge saw defender Yoann Barbet slide into the advertising hoardings.

Dike moved with confidence, and his teammates must provide adequate service to get him firing.

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  • R's running for promotion

Mark Warburton's R's have provided a potential dark horse to the automatic promotion spots.

Switching places with the Baggies following this victory, they've proved to be worthy contenders for the top two.

QPR looked a different side to the one that visited The Hawthorns earlier in the season and played with greater thrust and intensity.

However, the 2-1 loss back in November certainly wasn't helped by goalkeeper Seny Dieng's error late in the game.

The Hoops looked good in possession but lacked the cutting edge to create the clear cut chances needed to win the game.

But the roles were completely reversed for the clash at the Kiyan Prince Foundation with Warburton's side looking incisive and poignant in this tight encounter.

The R's will certainly be aiming for the top two, after placing themselves within five points of AFC Bournemouth in second.

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  • Up next

QPR travel to the Coventry Building Society Arena to take on this season's surprise package Coventry City.

The Sky Blues celebrated a 4-1 win against Peterborough United on Saturday and will be hoping to stop the Hoops’ good form.

And it's Peterborough up next for Valerien Ismael's side, and the Frenchman has to get three points to ease the increasing pressure on his position.

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