Goals either side of half-time from Chris Maguire, Leon Best and Lewis Buxton eased Sheffield Wednesday to a third successive home victory at the expense of 10-man QPR.
Victory moves Wednesday up to 14th in the standings and they went ahead through Maguire’s 35th minute penalty. The forward made no mistake from 12 yards after Richard Dunne was adjudged to have brought down Best. Referee Paul Tierney deemed Dunne to be the last man and he was sent off.
Six minutes after the re-start, Best doubled their advantage, rifling in an unstoppable right foot shot after good play by Oguchi Onyewu.
Sam Hutchinson missed out due to a knee injury sustained in Saturday’s victory over Birmingham City and was replaced by Liam Palmer in midfield.
Damian Martinez continues to deputise in between the sticks as Chris Kirkland has yet to recover from a calf problem.
There was no place on the bench for left-back Joe Mattock, who resumed training yesterday following a thigh knock.
QPR, sitting in fourth position in the Championship, came close to breaking the deadlock in the eighth minute when a quick free kick from Joey Barton found Clint Hill unmarked in the penalty area but, from an acute angle, he nodded wide.
Moments later, Barton released David Hoilett on the left flank and his cross was sliced over by Karl Henry.
Wednesday struggled as an attacking force in the early skirmishes. Atdhe Nuhiu spearheaded a promising counter attack, dribbling 40 yards with the ball before feeding Caolan Lavery, whose low drive was deflected out for a corner by Clint Hill.
Lewis Buxton was shown the first yellow card of the evening just before the quarter of the hour mark after he unceremoniously brought down the lively Hoilett.
But the match dramatically swung in Wednesday’s favour when Dunne was given his marching orders after being adjudged to have hauled down Best in the area. From the resulting spot-kick, Maguire made no mistake, sending Brian Murphy the wrong way. In the the build up, Palmer fed Maguire who superbly slipped in Best.
Stuart Gray’s side nearly doubled their advantage as Maguire rose highest to meet Buxton’s inviting cross only to direct his header narrowly off target.
It took a vital last ditch intervention from Aaron Hughes to cut out Lavery’s teasing delivery, with the Owls beginning to dictate proceedings.
Murphy made a great stop on the stroke of half-time to keep out Nuhiu’s fierce downward header from Maguire’s corner.
Best’s third goal since rejoining Wednesday gave Gray’s men a handy cushion and came shortly after a double QPR substitution.
Nuhiu, a good foil throughout for Best, lashed over when he should have done better before Wednesday claimed their third.
Liam Palmer’s fierce drive was charged down and fell invitingly into the path of Buxton, who smashed home from 16 yards. It was the right-back’s first strike since October 2011 and only his fourth goal in Owls colours.
Murphy had to be alert to turn away substitute Jermaine Johnson’s long range piledriver while he also foiled Northern Ireland Under-21 international Lavery.
Johnson lifted a free-kick inches over after Hill tripped Nuhiu on the edge of the D as Wednesday had to settle for three.
Wednesday: Martinez, Buxton, Onyewu, Loovens, Helan; Maguire, Lee, Palmer, Lavery, Nuhiu, Best. Substitutes: Davies, Jermaine Johnson, Prutton, Coke, Mattock, Afobe, Llera.
QPR: Murphy, Onuoha, Dunne, Hill, Hughes, Hoilett, Barton, Henry, O’Neil, Morrison, Zamora. Substitutes: Lennox, Carroll, Keane, Yun, Kranjcar, Maiga, Benayoun.