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Against the odds, QPR win at Everton – full match report
Against the odds, QPR win at Everton – full match report
Sunday, 21st Aug 2011 13:59 by Clive Whittingham

Available at odds as long as 7/1 on Saturday morning and beset by a virus in the camp QPR recorded a famous 1-0 win at Everton to get their Premiership season up and running.

Had you predicted this result at five to three you’d probably have been carted off to the funny farm.

Not only did QPR have to contend with the suspension of Clint Hill after his foolish red card in the first game of the season but also a virus which had swept through the camp the day before the game and, as usual with these things, strategically targeted the players we probably most wanted to play.

The Hill problem was solved by recalling Matt Connolly at left back but he too was effected by the bug along with Adel Taarabt. DJ Campbell was ruled out altogether and Jay Bothroyd could only make the bench which meant a first ever start under Neil Warnock for Patrick Agyemang. The last time QPR were a Premiership side we inflicted Devon White on the top flight of English football so it’s good to see us keeping up that tradition now with Agyemang – White was a far better player than he’ll ever be though.

Several of the players went up to Big Dave before the kick off and shook his hand in the same resigned ‘this is a bit hopeless really but best of luck anyway’ manner you might expect were they bidding farewell to a man intending to row across the Atlantic in a steel bathtub.

So the revised line up saw Paddy Kenny in goal behind Bradley Orr in for Kieron Dyer, Danny Gabbidon, Fitz Hall and Connolly. Shaun Derry and Alejandro Faurlin were given another chance to adapt to the higher level after last week’s humbling by Fabrice Muamba and co and they anchored the midfield. Further forward there was a rare start for Akos Buzsaky instead of Campbell with Tommy Smith on one flank and Taarabt the other. And then there was Agyemang of course.

Despite the virus, a start for one of our worst players and last week’s 4-0 home set back against Bolton, Rangers had good reason to be confident going into a match with an Everton team that, while not quite in crisis, certainly isn’t having the happiest time at the moment. Notoriously slow starters in the league, with a poor summer of pre-season results further undermining confidence, the Toffees have not been able to add a single new face to their squad this transfer window and chairman Bill Kenwright said in the week that any player sales would go towards servicing the club’s overdraft rather than reinforcing the team.

David Moyes gave a full league debut to teenage midfielder Ross Barkley after he impressed in the friendly games, but strangely left Louis Saha, Mikel Arteta and Marouane Fellaini on the bench – choosing to start with Jermaine Beckford in attack with Tim Cahill playing behind him. Jack Rodwell started wide on the Everton right which put him in direct competition with Matt Connolly which, from the back of the stand, looked like some bizarre look-a-like contest.

The makeshift left back was the first to threaten for QPR after four minutes – ending a passing move between Faurlin and Taarabt with a low left footed cross that Tommy Smith strode onto and fired a yard or so wide of the post with a first time half volley from 15 yards out.

Then three minutes later, on defensive duty this time, Connolly muscled Rodwell away from a mishit Jermaine Beckford scissor kick at the back post after Phil Neville had crossed low into the area. Rodwell hit the ground like a sack of potatoes but even referee Kevin Friend, known as a bit of a homer among the QPR faithful, wasn’t buying that one despite strong appeals from the home fans massed behind the goal.

That wasn’t the first or last time Beckford should have done better with a presentable chance or piece of possession. A minute earlier, after Adel Taarabt had lost possession in a very bad area from a QPR point of view, Leon Osman was able to accelerate away down the right and send in a low cross that Beckford contrived to miss altogether at the near post. This began a hapless afternoon for the former Leeds man who was, by some distance, the worst Everton player on the pitch. He’s got plenty of attitude and confidence Beckford, but presumably that’s about his ability in other areas of his life because he certainly doesn’t have the footballing skills to back it up on this evidence. A move to Championship side Leicester has been mooted, perhaps it would be better if he slunk quietly away to a lower level.

We hadn’t seen a lot of Everton’s perennial chief goal threat Tim Cahill to this point but he suddenly thrust himself into the action as the time ticked into double figures. First a fine cross from the left by Leighton Baines flashed right through the penalty area, agonisingly out of the Australian’s reach as he dived full length to try and make contact with his head. Then Shaun Derry found himself on the end of a brutal Cahill challenge that really warranted a yellow card but was allowed to slide with nothing more than a stern telling off from referee Friend.

A mixed start from Cahill then, and Taarabt was going from the sublime to the ridiculous at times as well. After 18 minutes the reigning Championship Player of the Year nutmegged Phil Neville and was then fouled right on the corner of the penalty box but despite the inviting position of the free kick the Moroccan delivered it straight out of play for a goal kick. Then, after another fine piece of skill on the halfway line skinned Neville again, he hit the deck in embarrassing fashion looking for another free kick and was rightly ignored by the referee. That possession concession could have proved costly as Everton broke with the ball at the feet of Ross Barkley who was the victim of one of the latest, but far from the dirtiest, tackles you’ll ever see on the edge of the box from Matt Connolly.

That gave Leighton Baines the chance to open his account for the season and although his curling, left footed free kick sailed over the wall and beat Paddy Kenny all ends up it didn’t trouble the scorers after crashing down off the underside of the bar and Rangers were able to hack it away.

Buoyed by the run that set it up Barkley then tried his luck from long range but couldn’t find the target. The 17-year-old was probably Everton’s best player on the day which is astounding considering his lack of experience and the talent the Toffees had on show in other positions. I just got the feeling that there was a nervousness about the home side – the players, the fans and the management – that weighed heavy on their minds throughout this game. The atmosphere wasn’t as good as I expected in one of English football’s most renowned and historic stadiums, and Everton seemed inhibited with everything they did on the pitch. After one minute of the game Sylvain Distain skewed a simple sideways pass out for a throw in and that rather set the tone for a lot of their play on the day. It’s like this “Everton always start badly” idea has become a self perpetuating thing – they expect to start badly so it makes the players and crowd nervous so they don’t play well and then they do start badly. The tension hung heavy in the air and it was only Barkley, a youngster with a physical frame beyond his years and adrenaline pumping around him on his senior debut, who was able to play with any degree of freedom and confidence.

Perhaps QPR sensed all this too because having survived Baines’ well struck shot they then set about their work with determination, panache and skill. The QPR fans were obviously taking the mickey a little bit by cheering each individual completed pass but with each accurate ball and ‘olé’ from the travelling faithful confidence grew. A three minute spell of constant QPR possession and pressure, during which Everton won the ball back on several occasions only to be immediately robbed of it again by Taarabt, Faurlin and the excellent Shaun Derry, led to the opening goal of the game just after the half hour.

Neat interchange down the left between Taarabt and Connolly ended with the former picking a perfect pass into the area for Smith to run onto and cut back from the byline but Baines swooped in and cleared with Agyemang loitering behind him. Faurlin intercepted the clearance, then Derry won a key tackle on the edge of the area, and then Faurlin again intercepted an awful pass out of defence by Phil Jagielka. QPR just would not relinquish the ball and they got their reward when Buzsaky classily carried the ball into the area and picked out Tommy Smith unmarked around the penalty spot with a sweet reverse pass. Smith controlled the ball with an immaculate first touch an then opened his body to slide it into the far corner past Tim Howard.

Jagielka, a £12m transfer target for Arsenal if reports are to be believed, clearly had an absolute nightmare with this one – a terrible pass in the first instance, and then poor positional sense allowing himself to be drawn towards Buzsaky and leave Smith unmarked behind him. But take nothing away from the QPR players involved because this was a beautifully worked and crafted opening goal – Rangers’ first in the Premiership since 1996 and scored by the man who got the crucial second goal in our last competitive away game at Watford at the end of last season.

One could easily have become two immediately from the restart. Buzsaky slid a superb ball in behind Sylvain Distin for Patrick Agyemang to chase onto. The pass was perfectly weighted and for one glorious moment it seemed that Agyemang was actually going to race clear on goal but the French centre half just about managed to smuggle away the danger.

Agyemang was doing some good things, but there was a lot of mindlessly poor play from him as well. I lost count of the amount of times Connolly and Orr had possession in the full back areas and looked for an option down the line only to see Agyemang standing absolutely motionless in the centre of the field next to Distin. Similarly Everton were far too often able to carry the ball out of defence without Agyemang making the effort to run across and worry the man in possession – unforgiveable really as no lack of ability should ever stop you from simply shutting a man down.

Buzsaky meanwhile was playing a very interesting role. At times he seemed to completely withdrew himself from play in order to inject himself into the action at moments when he felt he could make the most impact - almost Rugby League full back style. His touch, awareness and passing game here will surely only further his case for more regular selection.

Back to the action, and only Everton will know how they failed to score with their best attack of the match in the thirty eighth minute. QPR’s problems began when Fitz Hall chopped down Tim Cahill in full flight down the left side – the replays subsequently showed that Hall may well have got a big bit of the ball but to be fair to Kevin Friend it looked like a foul and a yellow card all day long at first glance and that’s exactly the action he took. From the Baines free kick Cahill was beaten in the air at the near post by Gabbidon who eased the Australian under the ball before clearing with a fine header. Cahill felt he had a strong case for a penalty there and was still busy complaining when Beckford sent in a low cross to the back post that he headed wide of the target from no more than three yards out with Kenny nowhere to be seen and the goal gaping. It was an absolute sitter and most on the QPR side of the ground believed it had gone in.

As time ticked down Adel Taarabt had another chance to deliver a set piece from the corner of the penalty box after some excellent work by Agyemang won possession back for Rangers and then a free kick for some shirt pulling. Sadly Taarabt this time sent his kick in too low and it was cleared away by the first man – Shaun Derry then needed to execute a superb tackle to interrupt the subsequent Everton counter attack.

Throughout this season QPR are going to find it a challenge to maintain decent possession in attacking positions therefore it is absolutely crucial that every set piece we get in the opposition half is delivered right on the money. Both in this game and last week against Bolton the delivery has, on the whole, been lousy and this needs to be addressed. Earlier in the day up at Sunderland free kick specialist Ryan Taylor showed exactly how it should be done in such a position.

I got the sense Rangers were flagging a little bit as the half drew to a close. Neil Warnock’s claim that his team would be the fittest in the league this season looked rather naïve as Everton outnumbered them down the right flank. Osman crossed to the back post where Heitinga nodded the ball back into the danger area and Beckford planted a presentable chance straight into the arms of Paddy Kenny. Then a cross from the other side by Baines found Cahill steaming in at the back stick but he could only head over the bar. Rangers were clearly the more grateful side to hear the half time whistle that followed shortly afterwards.

The pattern of the second half seemed like it would be easy to predict. Everton would press with increasing urgency, QPR would sink deeper and deeper into their own half, and Moyes would turn the thumb screws by introducing quality players from his bench. Ultimately it did play out like that, although not to the extent we might have feared at half time and in fact Moyes’ substitution choices seemed odd to me and actually hindered his team’s quest for an equaliser.

Things looked ominous to start with as Jack Rodwell got in behind Fitz Hall within the first minute but hit a tame effort straight at Paddy Kenny when he only had the Irish keeper to beat. Fitz Hall, typically, limped away from this incident but he recovered enough to play on and there was no need to use Kaspars Gorkss, who was back on the bench after missing out altogether last week. Bruno Perone, awaiting his full QPR debut, would have been another option for Neil Warnock.

Warnock clearly felt very aggrieved with the referee in the first half after the Fitz Hall booking and while I think the official probably got that one right he was certainly in the wrong when he allowed Tim Cahill off with yet another warning after a brutal tackle from behind on Adel Taarabt. This is where Kevin Friend consistently lets himself down with his home team bias – Hall, rightly, booked for one bad tackle but Cahill escapes with a ticking off having committed two equally as bad, if not worse, ones. There can be no other reason for this than Cahill plays for the home team and Hall the away – last season against Cardiff at Loftus Road we were the beneficiaries of Friend’s homing tendencies when we escaped a blatant penalty appeal near the end of the game but we were on the wrong end of it here. It’s as plain to see as the nose on his face.

Friend would go on to add five agonising minutes to the end of the second half as QPR hung on. This was mainly due to a bad injury for Patrick Agyemang which required lengthy treatment and ultimately the stretcher and a substitute appearance for Jay Bothroyd. I don’t recall Agyemang really suffering any sort of a bad tackle around that time so it seemed like an innocuous one. Anyway he was no great loss because the difference Bothroyd made to the dynamic of our team was palpable. Everton suddenly had a genuine threat to worry about up there and his work rate, closing down, hold up and lay game and ball control was in a different league to his predecessor. I can’t ever recall being as impressed with Bothroyd as I was for half an hour here.

David Moyes also began to show his hand around this time – sending on first Arteta for Rodwell and then Fellaini for Bothroyd which bizarrely left them with an Arsenal style set up of four defenders, six attacking midfielders and no recognised striker on the field. Murmurings of discontent emanated from the Everton fans to our right as Saha remained on the bench while Cahill was left to plough the lone furrow up front.

Still, I’m sure Moyes would point to the chance crafted by Fellaini for Cahill immediately after the restart – the ridiculously hairy midfielder’s through ball gave Cahill a clear sight of goal but Paddy Kenny made an outstanding save at his near post and blocked the ball away for a corner which his defenders dealt with easily.

Fellaini is clearly a talented lad, and his physical presence is something to behold, but he seems to have a footballing brain the size of a pea. Several times, particularly late in the game, promising Everton attacks were broken up by his chronic lack of understanding of the offside rule. Rangers’ defence was clearly out on its feet in the last ten minutes of the game but at times Fellaini made things easy for them by consistently running in behind them too early, and at times actually standing in offside positions with his arm in the air.

Ross Barkley drilled another shot wide from range at the mid point of the half and sensing some extra defensive work rate may be required from his side Warnock replaced Tommy Smith with Hogan Ephraim. Smith’s dereliction of defensive duty has become a regular topic of conversation among the LFW travelling party over the past week after he was repeatedly found wanting in that department against Bolton – he was much better defensively in this game but it was no surprise to see him withdrawn despite an all round good performance.

Hogan Ephraim may not be everybody’s cup of tea at Loftus Road, and with good reason, but his defensive work for the remainder of this game was absolutely spot on. Being at such close quarters and seeing him working so hard and playing almost a second full back role down a flank where Leighton Baines was bombing forward gave the QPR fans a real insight into why Neil Warnock uses him far more than probably any of them would like. Within minutes of coming on Ephraim broke up an Everton attack and launched one of his own, winning a free kick from Leon Osman who was booked for a cynical challenge on the former West Ham junior.

Arteta’s first involvement saw him drill a well placed free kick into the QPR wall after Barkley had accepted the invitation to topple over Gabbidon’s tired challenge on the edge of the box. Why Baines, who’d gone so close in the first half, didn’t take it is a mystery and the frustration in the home support was now growing into all out anger at the dumb football their team was playing.

Another long range, off target effort from Barkley preceded the introduction of Saha for Heitinga, but Moyes had wasted ten minutes of the game playing without a striker and the clock was now on QPR’s side.

Paddy Kenny’s handling had to be absolutely spot on in the final ten minutes as first Barkley fired a shot that deflected off Gabbidon on its way through a crowd of players that would no doubt have snaffled any rebound had the QPR keeper not cleanly taken the ball low to his right. Then the former Sheffield United man bravely dived into a forest of shins to claim a loose ball in the six yard box as Fellaini and Hall tangled.

Fellaini did get a clear sight of goal during the five minutes of stoppage time but Kenny saved his back post header and he’d long since been flagged offside yet again anyway. Everton were a spent force long before this to be fair – only the natural pessimism of football fans kept the QPR supporters on edge to the end because on the other side of the fence the home support was happy to admit to us in conversation that they’d accepted they probably weren’t going to score after about an hour. Easy for them to say, but watching the highlights back again only Cahill’s shot from Fellaini’s pass posed Kenny any significant danger in the second half.

Probably the most rewarding thing about this game, apart from the result and the points obviously, was how quickly we seemed to have learnt the lessons taught to us by Bolton on day one. The goal came as a direct result of maintaining possession of the ball in the opposition half for a prolonged period of time. You don’t even really have to go anywhere with that possession but it’s amazing what sort of chances open up if you just keep the ball moving around. In the Championship when you give it away you tend to have it back within 30 seconds, that’s not the case in the Premiership as we found out last week and it was good to see us adapt to that here.

I was impressed with the central three of Derry, Faurlin and Buzsaky most of all – we were overpowered there against Bolton but the three of them played really nicely here and Derry in particular was magnificent.

There are clearly areas for improvement – attacking set pieces for one – but to go and get a result like this in the circumstances is a superb achievement. It’s an important result for a number of reasons; firstly newly promoted teams often find winning away games almost impossible so to get one chalked up nice and early is good, second the longer it goes without a win the bigger the monkey can grow so again we’ve put that to bed at the second opportunity, third Neil Warnock’s sales pitch to new players would have been more difficult had we lost both our opening games and fourth we’ve said all summer that we need to take advantage of the kind fixture list we’ve been given to begin with and to do so without the anticipated new arrivals and with key players missing is excellent.

The result completed an astonishing mood shift at our club over the last seven days.

Links >>> Have Your Say >>> Interactive Player Ratings >>> Message Board Match Thread

Everton: Howard 6, Neville 6, Jagielka 6, Distin 6, Baines 7, Barkley 7, Heitinga 6 (Saha 74, 6), Rodwell 5 (Arteta 54, 5), Osman 6, Cahill 6, Beckford 4 (Fellaini 63, 5)

Subs Not Used: Mucha, Hibbert, Vellios, Anichebe

Booked: Osman (foul)

QPR: Kenny 8, Orr 7, Hall 7, Gabbidon 7, Connolly 7, Derry 8, Faurlin 7, Smith 7 (Ephraim 66, 7), Buzsaky 7, Taarabt 6, Agyemang 5 (Bothroyd 55, 8)

Subs Not Used: Murphy, Gorkss, Perone, Moen, Andrade

Booked: Hall (foul)

Goals: Smith 31 (assisted Buzsaky)

QPR Star Man – Shaun Derry 8 This man just keeps on coming up with the goods against the odds. He’s never played in the Premiership before and looked completely clapped out and past it when he played against QPR for Palace nearly 18 months ago and yet in this game he completely bossed a midfield area jammed with talented Premiership players. Ably assisted by Faurlin alongside him who has been named as the division’s Player of the Day in one of the Sunday papers this morning and Akos Buzsaky further forward who, on this evidence, should be given plenty of game time this season.

Referee: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire) 7 Overall, not too bad. Certainly no key decisions wrong and both the first half penalty appeals from Everton were weak and rightly waved away. However he loses marks for the obvious home v away bias that he has shown so often in the past – how can Hall be booked for one bad challenge but Cahill is let off with two that were equally as bad if not worse?

Attendance: 35, 008 (1,400 QPR approx) The famed Goodison Park atmosphere wasn’t really in evidence here as pessimism and gloom hung in the air for the first minute. It was disappointing to find QPR struggling to sell tickets for their first Premiership away game in 15 years, and I’ve no doubt there’ll be plenty of tears shed when people can’t get Fulham and Chelsea tickets later in the season, but those that did make the effort were in fine voice and the celebrations of the goal and the final whistle were raucous.

Photo: Action Images

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NorwayRanger16 added 14:51 - Aug 21
Great report Clive, we've clearly seen the same game. But i have to admit Gabbidon are growing on me. Think he deserve an 8 for his calm and composed performance. Won everything in the air and was calmness personified in possesion.

Think you left out Derrys brilliant retrieving tackle on Osman in the second half, making up several yards on the Everton player and excecuting a perfect tackle from behind. Brilliant!, and clear MOM.

Big confidence boost for all the fringe players that took their opportunity very well.

Only dissapointment are my own covardness, changing my prediction from 0-1 to 3-1. So ashamed, but happy :-)

jonno added 15:30 - Aug 21
Good report. Warnock says that they have given Smith a "free" role so I would imagine that is why he has not been defending as much, although with Tarbs in the side I'm not sure that there is scope to give anyone else such freedom!

isawqpratwcity added 15:35 - Aug 21
Wasn't Derry great? I'm so relieved that he now seems not to be a season or a league too far. I'd still like to see us get a capable back-up for him but his performance yesterday helps address a nagging worry brought on by the more recent form of our de facto 'captain'. Good to see Faurlin lift his game so much too: he's good and going to get better as his confidence builds.

To be fair to the ref, it looked like Derry made placatory noises to him after Cahill's first foul. Agreed the second was easily a yellow.

QPR footage even made the network news (well, SBS anyway) here in Oz for the first time in yonks (Cahill's I-don't-know-how-he-missed-from-there header would have helped, of course). Segment even ended with a delightful post-final-whistle shot of grey-hairs NW and SD sharing a moment of happy mutual respect.

barbicanranger added 19:14 - Aug 21
Throughout this season QPR are going to find it a challenge to maintain decent possession in attacking positions therefore it is absolutely crucial that every set piece we get in the opposition half is delivered right on the money. Both in this game and last week against Bolton the delivery has, on the whole, been lousy and this needs to be addressed. Earlier in the day up at Sunderland free kick specialist Ryan Taylor showed exactly how it should be done in such a position

Key point for me, love taarabt but he proved last year he's not the best with free-kicks or corners. He took one against Bolton when we were still 1 down that went over everyoneand out. With Buzz and Smith on the field we are only hampering ourselves by persisting with this tactic.

Nice to see J Bothroyd made a positive impressionon you Clive.

JB007007 added 21:54 - Aug 21
Thanks Clive. Superb victory.
I thought Paddy Kenny's handling in the second half was first class. He didn't spill a thing with a couple of those low hard balls fizzing in. I thought Gabbidon was superb too and his experience helped us through some nervy bits.
This victory will boost confidence no end regardless of how slow Everton usually start, we have gone and won away at a top side.
Looking forward to some much needed reinforcements though - hopefully this week.

Kiwi76 added 23:12 - Aug 21
Getting used to viewing full 90mins down here in NZ (even if delayed) and thought we showed a lot of character with lot more to come from Faurlin and Tarbs. Loved the ole's + only one set of supporters picked up in our feed.
Lot of positives and now big challenge for NW to add the additional quality (& pace) that we need while keeping the team spirit.

Ribenaboy added 23:55 - Aug 21
Very, very surreal seeing Agyemang in the Prem but wot a great victory. According to the stats we scored with our only shot on target?? It's been the best week we could have had and it's soo satisfying to think Everton and others will attract the vultures and take our billing as crisis club from now

nadera78 added 00:04 - Aug 22
Good report. Thought Gabidon was impressive, certainly made Hall look like the lower end Championship defender he is.

Could have nicked another one in the last 15 minutes, a couple of times we broke away and Taarabt hogged the ball instead of playing someone through. Still got so much work to do that young man.

Great result though, and it was so good to see the pride and evident delight on Warnock's face at the end.

qprmick added 02:40 - Aug 22
Good report on a very good team performance. Patrick landed awkwardly from one of his misguided leaps in the air. He went down immediately and when he tried to stand up after treatment he went down straight away. I hope it is not ligament damage.( we will never fix him up with another club). I love the Premier with just about every game televised. Not used to late nights so will have to have afternoon naps, a think I hate.

QPRski added 08:01 - Aug 22
Truely excellent result after a week which was an emotional roller coaster. I certainly did not even dream of such a result at such a difficult ground with a weakened team (even if morivated by the new ownership!)

Who excpected a clean sheet, not to mention a win?
Who says the championship is an unpredictable league?

After the pain of Bolton one week ago- it is now rather pleasant. Let's hope for some new blood in the next days and I hope that we all can keep our feet on the ground and built on this stability in th next match.

I personally and looking forward to both the action on and off the field. What a pleasant change.

Monahoop added 09:02 - Aug 22
Great report. After last weeks debacle and news of a virus sweeping throught he squad, I resigned myself to another defeat. Thankfully I was proved wrong. What a morale boosting result this was. Not pretty to watch but effective. What most impressed me was the fact that we didn't show signs of panic when under pressure, something which was all too obvious in the second half aginst Bolton. Maybe some players have responded to NW's call to grow up at this level.
There is still much to be done both on and off the field. Hopefully the squad will be bolstered in the next few days with some good aquisitions. Saturdays result and the fall of Tango and Cash is definately a step in the right direction.

benbu added 09:49 - Aug 22
A fantastic morale boost for the club and everyone connected to it. After last weeks embarrasing start and the doom and gloom it feels like the mood has completely changed and is very positive. Fernandez arriving has lifted everyone and with the opportunity to strengthen now it should improve things even more. Its great to see he wants to also invest in a new academy, consider a new stadium and back the manager. As for the match, a fantastic performance from the Rs!. Cant quite belive we are saying - Patrick Agyemang premiership player. I was very impressed with Gabbidon who will get my MOTM he looked very compossed and confident. Derry was also superb and worked his nuts off as always. Only slight moan was we gave ball away cheaply occasionly and in some games we will pay for it. It was great to see quality players like Arteta, Cahill and Baines and see QPR match up to them and deal with their ability. On another day we may have lost but im feeling very proud of the Rs and hope we can build on this win at Wigan saturday which should be a winnable fixture. A brilliant all round team performance!

fakekerby added 10:02 - Aug 22
Great result and great report. Think we all needed the morale boost! Hopefully there is belief we can beat Wigan now, which surely we can.

NorwayRanger16 added 10:08 - Aug 22
Says a lot when MOM in the papers change between Derry, Faurlin, Gabbidon and Hall. Derry dominating all round but to me that shows that the whole team put in a big performance. Congrats to each and everyone.

Antti_Heinola added 14:13 - Aug 22
I think one of NW's main strengths as a manager is not expecting his players to do anything that they cannot do. Derry is the prime example here. Neil knows and Derry knows that his job is to win the ball and play it simple to one of the lads who is more likely to open up the defence. He has to plug gaps when other players go forward. He has to protect the defence. He can do all this because of a great football brain, like a coach on the pitch. He's not asked to run around like a headless chicken, get box-to-box or score goals. It's a perfect role for him - and it also works because of the brilliant playing relationship he has with Faurlin.

Personally, I had no doubts that we could get at least a season out of Derry at this level. He was superb last year and there's no reason why he can't do the same thing again.

Great to hear Buz getting such good reviews too - he deserves a bit of luck and a break after all his injuries.

dermyqpr added 18:31 - Aug 22
The long trip from Ireland was so worth it. We played with a lot more savvy on Saturday and we rode our luck at times but on the whole we deserved the win. Derry was inspiring and pretty much ran the show.Agree that Bothroyd did a better job than Dave (very poor, even Neville beat him in the air) even with a viral thingy!
Not sure i share the belief that we can now go and beat Wigan but a draw would realistically surffice. Any new players coming in will be great and relegation talk will be put to bed.

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