Peter Moller and Karl-Heinz Riedle scored the goals that ensured Fulham retained the west London bragging rights with a derby win at Loftus Road this evening.

The Whites made light of missing Barry Hayles and Luis Boa Morte as they restored their ten point advantage at the top of the First Division with a patient performance that ultimately delivered another workmanlike away victory. Defeat leaves Queens Park Rangers, who look dangerously bereft of confidence, deep in relegation trouble and the hosts never seriously troubled their high-flying local rivals.

Rangers were content to let Fulham have most of the possession in a low-key first half that saw Jean Tigana’s side keep the ball impressively in the opening half an hour. QPR appeared to still in a state of shock having been hammered by Arsenal in the FA Cup last weekend and it was the league leaders who made the early running, even if they were restricted to speculative attempts from distance at first.

Bjarne Goldbaek stung veteran goalkeeper Ludek Miklosko’s gloves with a swerving effort from twenty yards and the home side were fortunate to escape when the rebound was taken off the toes of Moller as he prepared to shoot. The returning Louis Saha darted dangerously infield and drove a shot fractionally wide of goal. The home side’s attempts to impose themselves on proceedings were hindered by injuries to Clarke Carlisle and Richard Langley and the closest they came to threatening was a Gavin Peacock shot that lacked the power to unduly trouble Maik Taylor.

Fulham went in front in stoppage time at the end of the first half but it is not a moment that Miklosko will care to look back on. The Rangers goalkeeper appeared to have a shot from Moller covered after the Danish striker received a pass from Saha, but the ball trickled under his body and into the net. As a result of that goal, the second half was a much more open affair.

The Cottagers carried the greater threat and Miklosko almost had another moment to forget when he failed to hold Fabrice Fernandes drive that bounced awkwardly off his body and away to safety. Chris Kiwomya spurned a glorious chance to equalise on 58 minutes when the former Arsenal forward headed straight at Taylor despite having the whole goal to aim at after Peter Crouch had headed on a Ian Baraclough cross.

Fulham sped straight down the other end with Fernandes leading a lightning counter-attack. The winger’s shot was once again spilled by Miklosko but Saha uncharacteristically shot wildly over the bar from the follow-up. Riedle replaced Moller with twenty minutes to go and the German World Cup winner immediately drew a sprawling save from Miklosko. The former Liverpool striker then climbed majestically to head in Goldbaek corner’s – with the Czech custodian unable to keep it out.

Fulham failed to add further goals despite Clark and Sean Davis having good shooting opportunities towards the end – as Rangers struggled to contain their local rivals at the death.

QUEENS PARK RANGERS (4-4-2): Miklosko; Rose, Baraclough, Plummer, Carlisle (Bruce 11); Perry, Peacock, Connolly (Ngonge 79), Langley (Kulcsar 37); Crouch, Kiwomya. Subs (not used): Harper, Morrow.

BOOKED: Kulcsar.

FULHAM (4-4-2): Taylor; Finnan, Brevett, Melville, Symons; Davis, Clark, Goldbaek, Fernandes; Saha, Moller (Riedle 70). Subs (not used): Hahnemann, Neilson, Sahnoun, Stolcers.

BOOKED: Davis.

GOALS: Moller (45), Riedle (77).

REFEREE: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire).