Blues beaten again as QPR run riot
Matt Smith inspired QPR to a 4-1 success at struggling Birmingham.
The 6ft 5in striker put Rangers on the road to victory with a first-half goal - his first strike since September.
Smith, who only joined Rangers last month from Fulham, was a persistent threat in a win which was sealed by a 46th-minute goal from Conor Washington and two more by Idrissa Sylla and Yeni Ngbakoto in the last 10 minutes.
Manager Ian Holloway was delighted with a vital morale-boosting win which eases their relegation fears but it was another sad defeat for a Birmingham side who have now collected only six points from a possible 36 under Gianfranco Zola.
Birmingham went into the game showing five changes from the side beaten at Preston, with Craig Gardner suspended, and the disruption was always evident.
Birmingham's shortcomings were highlighted early in the game when their defence came under immediate pressure, highlighted by a powerful long-range drive from the ever-dangerous Luke Freeman.
Rangers, meanwhile, played with a great deal of purpose. The rampaging style of Birmingham-born Smith, who has played for no fewer than 11 clubs, was a problem for the midlands side as the Hoops dominated most of the attacking play.
But it was Birmingham who carved out the best opening to go ahead. Jerome Sinclair whipped over a cross but Emilio Nsue was unable to make a clean contact from a few yards and the ball bounced wide.
Smith's threat was evident when he cleverly lobbed Birmingham goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak but Ryan Shotton was on the line to prevent Rangers going ahead.
The persistent Smith, however, could not be denied as he put Rangers ahead in the 19th minute, rising high and unchallenged to head home Freeman's left-wing corner.
Free-flowing Rangers continued to dominate as Birmingham struggled to find some rhythm.
The Blues suffered another setback when a concussed Cheick Keita had to leave the field and shortly afterwards Rangers twice went close to increasing their lead.
Darnell Furlong and Smith both had headers saved on the line by Kuszczak as Birmingham were in danger of being over-run.
They regrouped and Sinclair fired in a shot which Alex Smithies finger-tipped onto the bar.
But another golden opportunity went begging for Rangers just before the break when Smith fluffed his shot with only Kuszczak to beat.
A minute into the second half Birmingham's back three was exposed when they failed to clear a relatively simple cross. The ball bounced to Washington who scored with an unstoppable shot.
Birmingham made an attempt to rescue a dire situation but Rangers remained in control despite a couple of efforts from Sinclair which were brilliantly saved by Smithies.
Joel Lynch powered in a smart header from a Ryan Manning cross only to by thwarted by an excellent save by Kuszczak.
But Birmingham's day got even worse in the 84th minute when unmarked substitute Sylla headed home a right-wing cross from Pawel Wszolek.
Two minutes from time Ngbakoto added a fourth with a powerful long-range free-kick, before Nsue grabbed a late consolation.