Their sorrows were added to when the substitute Samba Diakité soon racked up two cautions. If this was an intemperate occasion it was also one that gripped the audience. The authorities must also take an interest, since the winners amassed eight yellow cards. A fine awaits West Ham but the club will privately applaud the combativeness, even it often seems uncontrollable.
Disapproval of the recklessness is to be expected but it would be hypocritical not to admit that this frenetic contest was a riveting spectacle. Even the overworked referee, Mark Clattenburg, might have had fleeting moments when he could appreciate the passion generated in a match conducted as if everything depended on the outcome. That was not the case, but the losing manager, Mark Hughes finds himself under increasing pressure, since the club has only two points.
Elsewhere there was satisfaction and encouragement. Andy Carroll, on loan to West Ham from Liverpool, was in good enough shape to come off the bench. This might well see him involved in the World Cup qualifier with San Marino at Wembley on 12 October despite continuing anxieties about his hamstring troubles. "I'll give Roy the rundown on his condition," said the victorious manager, Sam Allardyce. "He's woefully short of match fitness. I think England will be sensible if they do call him up."
Hughes can hardly feel comfortable with his situation. "We felt we had improved steadily," he remarked of some previous showings. "The performance tonight was a step back. West Ham didn't allow our creative players to get on the ball." There are many games still to come but, unless QPR are galvanised soon, the manager's own position will be called into question.
West Ham, by contrast, are in fine fettle. After a delivery from Ricardo Vaz Tê in the third minute, Matt Jarvis scored his first goal for West Ham with a floating header. Nothing came conveniently to the opposition. They lost a pair of men as well as two goals before the interval. There was relief when the centre-back Winston Reid eventually recovered after being caught by the elbow of his own goalkeeper, Jussi Jaaskelainen, in a goalmouth mêlée but he still had to be replaced by James Tomkins in the 23rd minute.
West Ham's lead was stretched in the 35th minute when Vaz Tê scored from a tight angle. The ball ought, however, to have been cleared long before it came to him. QPR had difficulty in maintaining some structure and showing they had a plan to follow.
The fact that a great deal of team restructuring took place in the summer means, however, that Hughes' judgment is under review. He put an emphasis on experience but the wisdom of that policy is impossible to judge so soon in the campaign. The immediate craving was simply for a win, which would thereby bring the team its first league goal at home in this campaign.
That did not look easy to achieve when the visitors were Allardyce's team. People might think the sides he manages are pragmatic but that is hardly the gravest flaw when West Ham had begun the Premier League by, at the very least, holding their own. At Loftus Road they did better still.
There were periods in the second half when QPR did show more verve but it was to be anticipated that Allardyce's men would have little cause to take risks. That, however, put West Ham at a little danger. There are no inhibitions for a team whose plight is great.
QPR did make alterations, with Adel Taarabt producing an instant contribution from the bench. He cut in from the left and put a swerving, dipping drive across and round Jaaskelainen in the 57th minute. There is little to be done in the face of such excellence but the narrowing of the score added to the excitement.
It is one of the pleasures of the English scene that matches can so often pulsate as if there was a vast reward to be had with a win. The yellow cards were soon to flutter and poise seemed an impossibility. Matters deteriorated further for QPR when Diakité's foul on Guy Demel brought a second caution. His club's torment is great.
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