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The end of the beginning, but hopefully not the beginning of the end – full match report
The end of the beginning, but hopefully not the beginning of the end – full match report
Sunday, 16th Oct 2011 21:40 by Clive Whittingham

QPR laboured to a 1-1 draw in a home match with Blackburn Rovers on Saturday that represented their last chance to post points before a nightmare run of fixtures begins.

New players, new owners, new league, new season – but every now and again Rangers like to do their bit to remind the regulars that it’s still the same Queens Park Rangers they’ve come to know and love.

Next week it’s Chelsea, a West London derby sure to be played in a white hot atmosphere in front of a live television audience. Whatever the score in that match, and all signs point to it being a comfortable away win, you can be almost certain that Rangers will start the game pumped up and attack it from the off with 110% from every player on the pitch. Had that been the case on Saturday against a poor Blackburn side that’s threat was limited almost exclusively to headers from set pieces then they’d have won. Like so many QPR teams before them, this one too seems to like to adjust its performance level to that of the opposition.

Off the field Neil Warnock did his bit to keep up the average of a PR incident every three weeks by using the post match press conference to lambast a supporter for revealing details of his bizarre team selection on the eve of the game. In an unprecedented, unprofessional and quite probably illegal move the club then posted the e-mail address of the message board poster responsible on the club’s official website - a move almost as amateur as the defending that repeatedly allowed Chris Samba to threaten the QPR goal during the match.

The QPR team that caused all the post match controversy showed two changes from the 6-0 annihilation at Fulham. Jamie Mackie made his first start for ten months since breaking his leg in a challenge with Gael Givet against Blackburn at Ewood Park in the FA Cup – Adel Taarabt was the man to make way for the former Plymouth man following his half time departure from Craven Cottage last time out. The decision to drop the Moroccan after his walk out at Fulham said more about Neil Warnock’s feelings over the incident than any of the many calming words he spoke playing down the incident before this game. Jay Bothroyd, in his worst goal scoring form for six years, was left out in favour of Heidar Helguson who had forced an own-goal equaliser from Richard Dunne in the last home game against Aston Villa.

So Helguson filled the lone striker role with Mackie to his left and Shaun Wright Phillips to his right but further back there was something of a positional reshuffle. Shaun Derry played in his usual deep lying midfield role but he was accompanied more by Joey Barton than Alejandro Faurlin who seemed to be pushing further forward than normal. It was an alteration that didn’t really work for Neil Warnock, all three had poor games by their own standards. At the back the continued absence of Danny Gabbidon gave Fitz Hall a chance to make amends for his Craven Cottage aberration alongside Anton Ferdinand. Armand Traore returned from suspension at left back which meant Luke Young reverted back to the right flank and Paddy Kenny started in goal.

Blackburn came into the game with pressure growing on manager Steve Kean and the numbers stacking up against them. Lying second bottom of the table after their worst start to a season since 1951 and having conceded 17 goals already this campaign they were hunting their first win in London in 13 visits to the capital. Kean, who will again be the subject of supporter protests before next week’s home match with Tottenham, elected to start with veteran target man and frequent QPR transfer target Jason Roberts in attack ahead of Yakubu and David Goodwillie. Ruben Rochina was also a surprise absentee along with David Dunn and Morten Gamst Pederson who were out injured.

Neil Warnock made no secret of his fury with Armand Traore after the full back’s sending off against Aston Villa, and the defence looked a mess in his absence last week. The attacking worth of the Senegal international was laid plain in the fifth minute when he accelerated to the byline and dug out a fantastic cross to the back post where Luke Young seemed destined to steam in and head home only for Heidar Helguson to take it away from him with his own headed attempt that he failed to guide onto the target. Rangers kept the pressure on with a high tempo pressing game that soon won the ball back from Rovers but Alejandro Faurlin’s ambitious 30 yard effort sailed into the sparsely populated upper School End.

Mark Clattenburg has been something of a lucky omen for QPR during his refereeing career, taking charge of two fixtures where the R’s celebrated promotion and a successful play off semi final. The R’s were grateful to the County Durham official for his leniency in the ninth minute on Saturday as Fitz Hall crunched Jason Roberts with a very late tackle but escaped a yellow card even when the advantage broke down thanks to some fine defensive work by Shaun Wright Phillips. Hall was later booked for a similar hack at Martin Olsson. That willingness to track back would become a theme of Wright Phillips’ performance on Saturday, but QPR’s biggest failing on the day was not getting him enough good quality possession in dangerous wide areas where he could run at Blackburn and hurt them. Against Newcastle on his debut Wright Phillips was irresistible and Rangers haven’t used him as effectively as they did that night since which is a real waste of a talent.

While Hall was still reflecting on his lucky escape from the wrath of the match official, his centre back partner Anton Ferdinand had his heart in his mouth for different reasons in the twelfth minute. A flick by Roberts on the edge of the penalty area gave Swedish international Martin Olsson a chance to attack Traore down the right for the first time and when he delivered a low cross into the area Ferdinand completely misjudged the flight of the ball and sent a horribly sliced clearance onto the top of his own cross bar. Memories of Andy Pearce’s famous own goal for Coventry at that end of the ground back in the early days of the Premier League came flooding back as Ferdinand puffed out his cheeks in relief.

And the luck definitely seemed to be with Rangers as they took the lead in somewhat fortuitous circumstances after a quarter of an hour. Typically hard work by Mackie down the right flank won a corner from Scott Dann and while the award of attacking set pieces has hardly been a cause for optimism around W12 this season, given the abysmal quality of the delivery from QPR, this one from Faurlin was right on the money. Helguson headed the inswinging delivery goalwards from six yards out only to see the ball rebound back into play off Jamie Mackie who was standing in front of the goalkeeper. It didn’t matter because Helguson was then given time and space by the Blackburn defence to regather possession and delicately chip the ball back over Paul Robinson’s head and into the far corner of the net.

Clearly Helguson was attempting a cross to the back post area where Mackie and Ferdinand were loitering, but the decision of Spaniard Michel Salgado to leave his position on the back post meant the ball was able to land in the bottom corner untouched. That was Helguson’s first Premiership goal for three years, the one hundredth of his English league career, and the first scored by a QPR player at Loftus Road since the Icelandic international scored ten seconds into the last game of last season against Leeds, four matches ago.

That combination of Mackie’s industry, Faurlin’s set piece delivery and Helguson’s presense in the area almost doubled the lead four minutes later. Mackie caught Scott Dann lazily trying to shuffle a ball out for a goalkick and won a free kick on the byline from the former Coventry and Birmingham centre back. Faurlin trotted across and delivered another inswinging cross to the back post this time where Samba’s flicked headed clearance sent the ball straight to Barton and his drilled cross shot deflected just out of Helguson’s reach as he slid in four yards from goal. Rangers inches away from a crucial second goal.

The problem was Blackburn looked equally, if not more, dangerous from their set pieces. Every free kick and corner awarded around the QPR penalty area brought Dann and Samba up from the back to form a potent attacking threat with Steven N’Zonzi. The trio didn’t make a secret of their plan – they stood together on the edge of the penalty area at the back post every single time and then split to attack the front, middle and back of the goal mouth respectively. Having done so they won every headed contest that came their way.

QPR’s approach to this (essentially let them get on with it) was mindblowing. The space afforded to those three players, particularly Chris Samba who repeatedly embarrassed Fitz Hall, had to be seen to be believed and even after the giant centre back had powered home a corner from Jason Lowe to equalise Warnock and his team did absolutely nothing to try and counteract the threat. Yes Samba is clearly a big guy and very dominant in the air but block his run, put a couple of men on him, get closer to him, at least make life a bit difficult for him. The QPR attempts to deal with him were abject all afternoon and just o add to the farce of the goal, the replays afterwards showed that Shaun Derry had repeated Salgado’s trick of moving off his post too soon, away from a position where probably could have prevented the goal.

At the midpoint of the first half, in Blackburn’s next attack, Olsson won a soft free kick from Young in the QPR right back area which gave Lowe a chance to find Samba at the back post yet again. Once more he towered above Hall, this time he could only guide his header into the arms of Paddy Kenny though. Not rocket science this.

Strangely Rangers crafted a chance on the half hour at the other end by beating Samba in the air. Helguson was the man who intelligently flicked Paddy Kenny’s kick on into the path of Wright Phillips and the diminutive winger drilled a low shot about a foot wide of the post from range with Paul Robinson well beaten. Within a minute Rangers were going forward again with Luke Young launching a free kick into the penalty area that was knocked down towards Hall and he appeared to take a boot in the face as he attempted to attack the ball. I don’t think this was a penalty and Clattenburg was right to wave it away but it was one of those decisions that probably would have been given as a foul elsewhere on the pitch – Rangers would suffer another of those in the second half.

In the meantime though they were struggling to live with Junior Hoilett who was a constant menace in the FA Cup tie in January and grew into this game after a slow start. Shaun Derry, enduring his worst performance of the season in an overcrowded and overcomplicated Rangers midfield set up, conceded possession in his own half which gave Hoilett a chance to run at QPR down the left flank. He skipped past Derry on the retreat and Joey Barton on his way into the area and beat Paddy Kenny with a low shot but was denied a goal by a desperate clearance from a well positioned Anton Ferdinand.

Although QPR did force a corner late in the half after Luke Young’s shot deflected wide it was Blackburn who finished the first period much the stronger. Another Samba header from another corner and a low shot from Petrovic that flashed wide brought the first audible grumbles of discontent at a home game this season from the home stands at Loftus Road but the supporters rightly still applauded the team from the field at half time. It hadn’t been great, but there had been promising signs and an increase in tempo, a rearrangement of the middle of midfield and a focus on getting key players into the game more often in key areas would still have brought us victory at this stage.

Sadly the second half was a total non-event. QPR did nothing to try and press for a winner leaving Paul Robinson a virtual spectator in the Blackburn goal while his team threatened sporadically but mainly seemed happy to settle for their point.

They could have had all three had Paddy Kenny not been alert right at the start of the half when he was required to race out of his area and beat Olsson to an intelligent through ball by a matter of milliseconds and clear away. QPR immediately went on the offensive themselves and should have had a corner when Wright Phillips took Samba to the byline and kicked the ball out off the Blackburn man but the linesman, no more than three yards from the incident, froze and Clatenburg guessed wrongly that it was a goal kick.

After that the match descended into a Championship standard fixture littered with amateur standard football and yellow cards. N’Zonzi got the first for a late hit on Barton that was at least a genuine attempt for the ball. The nice set piece delivery of the first half was a distant memory though as Faurlin played in a nothing cross which drifted harmlessly out for a goal kick without ever threatening to do anything else.

Givet made the most of a foul by Shaun Wright Phillips on the hour but again a yellow card was probably the right decision, and Traore followed his team mate into Clattenburg’s little black book when he miscontrolled the ball, lost possession and then hauled down Hoilett who had run away with the ball. I cannot stand it when Alan Green, in what to me and many others is a dream job of commentating on football for a living, says that the game he is watching is boring but to be fair it’s hard to think of another word to describe this contest at this stage. Were it still taking place now, more than 24 hours later, I doubt there’d have been another goal. It was a day to make the most of the sunshine that bathed the South Africa Road Stand and regret the decision not to bring a good book.

Neil Warnock attempted to liven things up by sending on Adel Taarabt for Jamie Mackie. Presumably Mackie was tired on his first start after ten months out and that’s why he was withdrawn but in my opinion QPR were crying out for a second change with Bothroyd, Puncheon, Buzsaky or Smith coming on for Derry and adding another body to the attack in support of Heidar Helguson. Far too often QPR crossed the halfway line with possession without a single player in or around the penalty box.

Anyway the change almost brought immediate reward when, incredible, Shaun Wright Phillips won a header in the centre of the field and flicked the ball into the path of Adel Taarabt who brilliantly chested it into the space behind the Blackburn defence, taking Salgado totally out of the game in one brilliant move, but then he betrayed a rare lack of confidence with a hurried and scuffed finish that bobbled hopelessly wide. Armand Traore may have done better from an identical position two minutes later as he ran clear on goal but frustratingly referee Mark Clattenburg hauled QPR back to give them a free kick for a bad foul by Lowe on Faurlin for which he was booked. Clattenburg didn’t have a bad game but this, and another incident a moment or so later when Taarabt seemed to be felled on the corner of the six yard box but had his appeals waved away, didn’t do much for the home fans’ mood. Had N’Zonzi found the back of the net on the subsequent counter attack after Taarabt’s appeal rather than the back of the School End things may have turned ugly.

Blackburn made a change of their own, sending on Scottish international David Goodwillie fresh from two international matches and a bout of food poisoning, but I can scarcely remember him touching the ball and to be honest I thought Kean, like Warnock, erred with his changes by not sending on Yakubu to worry Hall and Ferdinand.

Fitz Hall headed a Joey Barton free kick over the bar and Olsson scuffed a close range effort straight to Paddy Kenny after a rare poor piece of play from Luke Young conceded possession to Hoilett who skinned him and delivered a low cross. Neil Warnock removed Shaun Wright Phillips in favour of Tommy Smith, another odd decision for my money, but it did little to distract attention from, or alter, the chronic lack of quality in the game.

Three minutes from time Hall’s nightmare day in the air was compounded when he found himself completely unmarked eight yards out with Joey Barton’s corner landing plum on his head but he could only guide a weak effort over the crossbar. That was just about that apart from an almighty scare in three minutes of added time at the end of the game where Hoilett launched a dangerous counter attack and fed Olsson in the penalty area but Paddy Kenny made a fine save to deny the Swede a last gasp winner.

That would have been harsh on QPR, but they cannot for one moment claim they deserved to win the game. Apart from the goal did Paul Robinson have a save to make? I cannot recall one. This was billed as a final chance to post points before the fixture list turns against QPR, but after early promise the approach to the match from the home team was almost pre-season friendly-like in its execution.

I’ll discuss the fallout from this game, and the post match press conference, in more detail on LoftforWords tomorrow but for me the outing of a QPR fan as some sort of traitor to the cause for revealing the team smacked rather of Warnock trying to deflect attention away from the failings he and his team had shown on the day. This was an important match, and an easily winnable one given that it was largely played out at a Championship pace and quality.

I found the team selection odd, with Barton, Faurlin and Derry all positioned deep in the midfield and doing the same defensive job against a team with limited attacking ambition. This set up shouldn’t have been put in place to start with, and should have been changed several times during the second half. Heidar Helguson led the line well but was permanently isolated and the lack of men QPR put in the penalty box during attacks was criminal. We’re not playing to Shaun Wright Phillips’ strengths at all and while it was great to see Jamie Mackie and his industrious work rate return to the side did he pose the same threat as Taarabt? Or Tommy Smith? We looked like we were set up for a tough away game, not a winnable home match.

It was all very typical QPR, and a vastly improved performance and surprise positive result next week against Chelsea would be a continuation of that. Fingers crossed.

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QPR: Kenny 7, Young 7, Ferdinand 6, Hall 5, Traore 6, Derry 5, Faurlin 6, Wright-Phillips 6 (Smith 83, -), Barton 6, Mackie 6 (Taarabt 64, 5), Helguson 7

Subs Not Used: Murphy, Orr, Bothroyd, Buzsaky, Puncheon

Booked: Hall (foul), Wright-Phillips (foul), Traore (foul)

Goals: Helguson 16 (unassisted)

Blackburn: Robinson 6, Salgado 6, Samba 8, Dann 6, Givet 6, Lowe 7, Petrovic 6, Nzonzi 7, Olsson 7, Hoilett 7, Roberts 5 (Goodwillie 67, 4)

Subs Not Used: Bunn, Formica, Rochina, Yakubu, Vukcevic, Hanley

Booked: Nzonzi (foul), Lowe (foul)

Goals: Samba 24 (assisted Lowe)

QPR Star Man – Luke Young 7 While QPR’s other new signings are proving to be wildly inconsistent Luke Young is turning in one steady and impressive display after another. Just as good going forward as he is in defence and probably the first name on the team sheet at the moment. Unlucky not to score here and got away with his one real mistake when he allowed Hoilett to dispossess him and then deliver a cross in the second half. Stories of him having to respond to abuse from a QPR fan in the Ellerslie Road stand defy belief – what more do people want?

Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear) 7 A trio of controversial moments from a QPR point of view, two I thought he got right and one he clearly didn’t. The penalty appeal for a high boot on Fitz Hall in the first half would have been a harsh award, the one in the second half on Adel Taarabt was a bigger appeal but didn’t look a penalty to me at first sight. His big error on the day was hauling the play back for a QPR free kick when Traore had already been played through on goal.

Attendance: 16, 487 (600 Blackburn approx) A more subdued atmosphere than there has been at previous home games, probably because of the poor quality of fair on offer, but it was a relief to hear that the patience seemed to be holding among the faithful despite a lacklustre showing. The team will need patience in bucket loads over the forthcoming run of fixtures.

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WokingR added 22:13 - Oct 16
Your comment about needing a good book is spot on
That was first time I have ever read the program during the game instead of on the train on the way home

gigiisourgod added 22:15 - Oct 16
Thanks. Excellent read. Agree regarding midfield three. I was hoping before the match that Ali would be pushed further forward and in essence swap position with Barton in to the forward 3 but you are right it did not really work as we seem to lack that cutting edge. Think if Ali had backed himself a bit more offensively and played further up the pitch then it may have been different but certainly seemed too congested in there with no real fluency and can totally understand calls for a 'natural' attackive midfielder to play the role.

Although I would say with the fixtures coming up that would not be the most prudent of choices, when you consider we shipped 6 at Fulham with a seemingly more defensive line up. Plenty of food for thought for Colin anyways and stop him writing nonsense articles in the tabloids about how he won't get the England job because he has a "sense of humour."


DesertBoot added 22:17 - Oct 16
Another top-notch report Clive. If anything the Fulham game was more enjoyable because of the noise and atmosphere created despite thrashing.
I was expecting us to come out of the traps like Scurlogue Champ but that never happened and it got decidedly worse in the second half.
Stifling team selection, lacklustre performance a bored home support.
More importantly - (another) two points dropped.

SomersetHoops added 22:38 - Oct 16
I'm surprised you feel confident about next Sunday's game after this performance by the team and manager. I said that we had too many undisciplined players after the Fulham game, but I meant they needed to get back as SWP does rather than lob long balls forward from our half and stay there when it almost invariably went to an opponent as our midfield apart from he and Mackie did in this game. The only hope is they return to the old wildly inconsistent QPR and play a blinder otherwise we are in for a good hiding.

Talking of patience, I'm not sure how much longer it will last once we start getting hammered by the big boys. This game was one we should have won and the result puts us two points short of our target considering the 'easy' start we've had and it makes me worry where we will get the other 31 minimum points we need for safety

I'm a bit surprised at the low attendance the home seats looked pretty full, but I suppose Blackburn didn't fill their allocated space. We won't fill the home seats consistently if the performances aren't better than this, so the need for a new stadium might be some way off yet.

HollowayRanger added 22:46 - Oct 16
the annoying thing for me is we should have been playing 442 in a few of these games we have played

now with damm hard games going theres no way warnock dare risk it,he's going to pack the midfield and try and nick whatever he can get ,with luck we might get a point or two but i doublt it!

we have 9 points which puts us 11th but only 4 points from bottom 3 we need to find some wins in the next couple of months against the odds away norwich home wba will be must wins games as i cant see us getting much till then!

Northernr added 22:47 - Oct 16
I don't know what gives you the impression I'm confident about next Sunday, I think we'll get beaten quite comfortably. I just said it would be typical of QPR to play as badly as they did yesterday and then go out and play like world beater's next week.

The home end was sold out yesterday. The empty seats were in the fenced off bit of the Lower School End and the way section.

Northernr added 22:48 - Oct 16
Ahhh dear old 442, the back seat manager's solution to all of football's ills.

swissqpr added 22:51 - Oct 16
My first Live Match this season and for me played two losers against each other.Without taarabt faurlin lacks confidence(maybe Bartons shadow is to long) and nobody can play a real pass.someone has been waiting on the players after the match?The behaviour and mimic from the first three players came out(Taarabt,Puncheon and Orr) speaks for itself,something is wrong behind.

MelakaRanger added 00:12 - Oct 17
Bad tactics from the manager and a team of players who, on the whole, seemed to just amble about. Blackburn should have been murdered by us but like Clive said we just seemed to fall down to their level and quickly. This is relegation football yet NW jokes about it and the fact that he doesnt expect us to win the upcoming home games.
Maybe its time to think the unthinkable.
As we all suspected, many of the great promotion team were simply not good enough for the Premiership. Thats not that they are not good players, they are for the Championship but they were not up to the standards required in the Premiership.

Maybe that is true of NW too. 2 months into the season I am begining to think this way. Hes a great Championship Manager but a lousy Premiership Manager.

Clive only lats week you said there was nothing to panic about. Sorry but there is. The tactics and motivation of the past 3 games will get us in the bottom three within a few weeks and thats where we will stay. The warning signs are written already and in Bold Letters. Somethings gotta change and fast, really fast.

Like I said before. Where is the 'team' that should have beaten Newcastle? I want it back! That team will comfortably stay up. The 'team' of the last 2 weeks is going only one way - down!

RangerKIK added 01:59 - Oct 17
Whinge, moan, whinge...............Crikes guys it wasn't that bad. Yes we huffed and puffed with little cutting edge up front but at the same time I thought Blackburn were really well organised in defence compared to Newcastle/Wolves. This is the Premier League and er remember 'there are no easy games in the Premier League'.*

After 8 games we are 11th. 11th! How cool is that. Way beyond my expectation! For people to be suggesting we should have thrashed Blackburn and Warnock should go is ridiculous. Shame on you. The last 5 years of our history are burned into my memory but how quickly some of you forget.

If you really believe 'We Have Our Rangers back' then let's play OUR part. Let's stay positive, not turn Loftus Rd into a morgue (again) and do everything we can to keep us in this division. We must keep the buzz of promotion going and not become a bunch of over critical 'I told you so's'. If you can not remember where we have come from and start enjoying this ride I can can give you the numbers of two friends of mine who are Nottingham Forrest supporters!! It's all er relative!!**

After 8 games - Mid-table, Premier league. Love it.

* From - 1999 book of 'gleeful' footballing cliches - 'And That's How Hansen C's It'
**From Eienstein's book of footballing cliches - 'Black Holes for Goal Posts'

JB007007 added 08:08 - Oct 17
Thanks Clive.
Like the optimism RangerKIK. You're right and even with the opening fixtures presented, most would have taken 11th at this stage, I certainly would. We need to get behind the team whatever. However, Blackburn really were for the taking and had we got at them with SWP pace and Taarabt's trickery in a formation that suited then we may have taken the three points. I'd certainly start giving Faurlin the corners and free kicks on his side from now on. We have to make the most of set plays as many more performances like that and we'll continue to struggle for goals. Well done to Mackie as well. Thought he did well in the first half and worked the defenders.

benbu added 09:06 - Oct 17
I think most rangers fans must have left the stadium saturday quite dissapointed with the way the side played and only coming away with a point in a game we should have won. I was very surprised with the 3 defensive midfielders against Blackburn, a side who had 1 attacker who didnt do anything in the game. This was too defensive for me and had we have had the extra attacking midfielder supporting the front players in a 4-2-3-1 formation we would have threatened their goal much more. Dont like to point fingers who had poor game but Derry and Faurlin were really below par, lost possession and too many wasted passes. Mackie worked hard and looked sharp which was great to see.

I do feel this was a wasted opportunity for 3 points, but we have to get behind the boys for the big games coming up and who knows, hopefully we will get some kind of positve result. you rs!

aussiehoop added 09:06 - Oct 17
Unfortunately Faurlins shooting ability isn't quite up to scratch and playing him a bit further forward is in a way wasteful.

His and Bartons corners were a welcomed change though. More times than not they were hit firm, flat and into the right areas.

Unfortunately Bartons free kicks leave a lot to be desired. The constant lofting off the ball up field rarely results in rangers possession. he'd be better leaving it to one of the CB's, taking it off them in open play and moving it on the ground. i know we're only a few games into the season, but already i think we've seen enough proof that we're not a very competent aerial side, so we really should only lump it forward as a last option.

AshteadR added 09:23 - Oct 17
Thanks for the report Clive. A generous mark for Fitz Hall who was very poor and needed quite a lot of help / cover from his team mates.

There seems to have been a clear shift recently, of being more defensive minded, rather than going out to win every game as previously suggested. I think Taarbs might have got the penalty decision if he hadn't been quite so theatric in his dive!

Agree with RangerKIK though, we need to keep things in perspective - we also need to keep ourselves in the pack until the January transfer window.


N12Hoop added 10:02 - Oct 17
A gane memorable for 2 things: Mackie's comeback and wearing a tee-shirt mid Oct. Thought there was a lot of tension, possibly because this was the first time the team was expected to take all 3 points easily. However, other than Mackie, there seemed to be a lack of passion out there and an inability to bring the fullbacks into play as much as they had been against Newcastle and Villa (1st half anyway). In turn this made us fairly predictable and easy to defend against. I'm not asking us to play kamikaze football but we have some good attacking outlets, we need to make use of them. Pretty impressed with Olson and Hoilett.

PinnerPaul added 10:11 - Oct 17
I know Clive doesn't like criticism but have to pick up on the following

1) "Bizarre team selection" - Bothroyd is a striker who hasn't scored or looked like scoring & even before Fulham Adel has had one good game so maybe it was a surprise, apart from those who read it on the internet, but hardly "bizarre"

2) Yes I think NW and club should be annoyed team is leaked before the match - what is the defence for that?

3) Blackburn - Clearly not just reduced to a threat from set pieces as evidenced by the 3 or 4 other chances described in the match report. Actually thought they showed more ambition , although not as much quality, as Villa or Newcastle

4) SWP - His first touch was awful at times and in the first half we were constantly attacked down his & Young's side - both weren't awful but a long way from being our best players I thought

5) SWP's yellow card was a joke - right in front of me and he clearly won the ball, you could see and hear that, never a yellow card.

Thought we needed to show some more invention and DO agree that I would have taken Derry off and bought on either Buzacky or Bothroyd.

Northernr added 10:50 - Oct 17
1) I thought it was bizarre to pick three players in a defensive midfield role against a poor Blackburn team that didn't have a lot of attacking ambition. Seemed an odd game to do that for considering we've been set up in a much more attacking way against much better sides like Villa, Newcastle and Fulham.

2) I agree, they should be furious. But you shouldn't release somebody's private e-mail address as they have done. It's against data protection laws for a start and the problem is more with the player that's leaking the info than the fan who passed it on. Anyway, an article about the whole thing will be online tonight.

3) Disagree, they created one good chance (in stoppage time) in open play in the entire game. Roberts was almost completely anonymous, as was Goodwillie.

4) SWP was disappointing but we're not giving him the ball often enough in the right area. Young was good.

5) Sadly in modern football winning the ball often isn't a defence. Ridiculous but true. There was a fantastic tackle in the Sunderland match yesterday that resulted in a free kick and yellow card because of the force of it. Shame the way the game has gone.

dixiedean added 11:20 - Oct 17
truth is I think we looked too scared of losing the game to gamble on winning it, and the collective confidence seemed very low- like a team who hadn't won for 10 games, rather than one on the back of one bad result. Midfield often gave a pass but then didn't want to make a forward run for the return pass in case it broke down- maybe we feared Hoilett & Olsson's pace on the break. Hall allegedly being half fit is no excuse. He rarely attacks the ball and always looks to Kenny to sweep up for him- there was an incident in 1st half reminiscent of the pen at Fulham where he didn't deal with a routine ball and looked for Kenny to clear it and it wasn't even in the box.Is Perrone really that bad ?? Taarabt either isn't interested and/or is also v low on confidence- I can't think of 1 thing he did right when he came on, including 3 feeble 'shots'. I think all agree we're not maximising on SWP- he was up against Givet who has always been a weak link at full back yet never once took him on. Smith got to the bye-line once and got in a dangerous cross ( ah yes, I remember those ...) I'm already having nightmares about seeing Terry's ugly face smiling arrogantly at us to celebrate a goal in front of the Loft.I can't see that NW will suddenly go gung-ho against them and risk a pasting. I suspect we might settle for an honouarble 1-0 or 2-0 defeat where we give it a go to at least retain some pride. Trouble is that doesn't put points on the board and we'll be needing some of them soonish.

qpr_ox added 11:50 - Oct 17
I saw the Luke Young thing in the Ellerslie Rd stand, although not clearly I have to admit. Looked to me as if someone was having a pop at the Blackburn winger from the stand, and Young said a few choice words back. Abusing players is possibly a little too early, and not the way we really want to go.

If someone had said after that Bolton game that we would be 11th after 8 games I would have laughed. Look at the results since the 'new' team came out: Draw with Newcastle who are still undefeated. Draw with Villa who have only lost once. Win against Wolves who are well below us. Freak (let's hope so) loss against Fulham. Draw against relegation fodder Blackburn. The first three results are good, the last two poor, a blip, but not exactly a tragedy. 6 points from those 5 games. Not great, but not terrible. Also bear in mind that the team we ran out of Saturday consisted of 5 new players, alongside 6 of the Championship squad. On that basis I would say we're punching above our weight. With that squad keeping a point a game ratio until January is going to be good form, and then we'll have to rebuild in the transfer window and push for a mid-low table slot. Surely no-one is going to argue with that finish to the season?

newgolddream added 12:02 - Oct 17
I see our match was squeezed in at the end of MOTD on Saturday. Didn't even warrant a comment from the 3 Stooges. Hate MOTD One with their team of boring critics who have managed one club and shock horror one relegation between them. Having said that love MOTD Two and QPR's return of nine points from eight winnable matches is very disappointing. Good point Clive about the players being pumped up 110% on Sunday next and I can see us getting some return from our tough schedule ahead. Our cup performances in recent years against Chelsea (twice), Man U and Villa suggests this club is up for big games.

JonDoeman added 12:12 - Oct 17
Very disappointing, I think both our fellow promoted clubs, would've gone out and won that game Saturday.
And the worst think about the team news/injury leak being right, is that his much more serious sounding 'dressing room unrest ' one after the Fulham game will be.
They need a good team bonding piss up, and the hide the cigars from Joey! ;)

YorkRanger added 12:43 - Oct 17
I do despair reading some of the reaction to the game. Rangers didn't play well and I agree the set up of the team lacked ambition but what was clear was that neither side could risk losing and ultimately that was how the game played out. We will play better for sure and the team is still shaping. I do hope realism is maintained for the next 3 weeks as we could find that we still have the same amount of points as we have now but that will not relegate us - the matches to keep us up are still ahead of us.

Monahoop added 14:25 - Oct 17
Agree with York. Not the best platform from which to launch ourselves into the next batch of games, but at least we did not lose. I'll start worrying about the possible outcome of our season come Jan/Feb. Lots of clubs are fairing worse than us at present or not showing any consistency. We have a long way to go and a lot to learn still and for the moment I think we have done ok all bar the fiasco by the Thames.
Naturally fans will start getting on the gaffers back when things go astray, but NW has been in the business along time. He wants to put the disappointment of not keeping Sheffield Utd up in the Prem longer than he did behind him, prove his critics wrong [ yes you Mr Savage ] and give it a go with the R's. Even if we finish 17th it will be seen as job done for now and so we can build and move on. Christ,it was never going to be easy. And I don't give a tinkers about how Norwich and Swansea are going to fair as some on this board are already getting rattled about. Good luck to them, they deserved to come up with us but lets's concern ourselves about No.1, QPR.
The only thing that is worrying me at the moment is the off field shenanigans and the over inflated egos of certain players. Now this does need to be dealt with quickly. Keep the faith folks.

windsorloop added 17:18 - Oct 17
Went to the Blackburn game on Saturday & tactically we we hopeless. The midfield is bypassed by the defence such that when they do get the ball they do not have the confidence to distribute intelligently. Reason there is NO body to pass to. Warnock should get Wright Phillips to stick to within a few yards of the side line, so that he could take on players as he did against Newcastle & Aston Villa. Deliveries of Corners & Freekicks should be practiced & improved upon. ALL freekicks are just lofted into the central group of players with NO variations. Also I will like to know the worth of SWP being in the centre marked by Samba for freekicks. I suppose he would have a better chance of heading the ball than Fitz Hall, who after Fulham was again abysmal. To give him a rating of 5 is extemely generous. In the absence of Connolly, I would bring in Young to central defence & try Puncheon at right back or even Mackie!!! Hall is TOO risky

devonranger added 19:48 - Oct 17
nice write up again clive,the team didnt play very well ,we all agree that .but im more concerned about derrys form and legs! im a big fan of derrys but in the last 3 games hes games been well below par,hospital passes ,headless chicken and wheres the tackles we know he would of made last season! has the premiship already caught up with shaun?after the first 4 games i felt hes still got it at this level but now im not so sure! he just had a 2 week break from games but looked lost after 30mins.

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