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QPR receive sucker punch from Royals
QPR receive sucker punch from Royals
Saturday, 5th Nov 2005 20:22

Rangers were beaten at home for the third time this season by promotion chasing Reading.

Holloway stuck with Royce in goal and the same back four. Lee Cook returned to the starting line-up with Doherty, Gallen and Langley in midfield. Langley started on the right with Gallen deputising in the centre. Up front the rarely fit Dean Sturridge was partnered by big George Santos in the absence of Nygaard and Furlong.

We started poorly and with less than a minute on the clock, Reading had their first chance of the game. Our back four had fallen asleep and this allowed Kevin Doyle a free run at goal. Luckily for us, Royce continued his excellent form and saved well under pressure.

The game settled down and both teams stated to pass the ball around. After only ten minutes Reading took the lead. It was a good move from their point of view; we were opened up by quick incisive passes which started from midfield. After a quick one-two between Harper and Kitson ¡V the ball was at the feet of Harper just inside the box and he drilled home a shot past the outstretched Royce.

QPR came back stronger though and continued to press forward and were playing some good football. Doherty was seeing plenty of the ball in midfield and spraying passes around. Up front, Santos was chasing everything and being a general nuisance. Although he didn¡¦t win as many headers as I was expecting him to. However, for a centre back, playing as a focal point of our attack he did an admirable job.

Sturridge though received little of the ball and wasn¡¦t exactly over stretching himself shall we say. So far he has been so disappointing and at the moment he doesn¡¦t even look like scoring. Down the left hand side Dyer was seeing plenty of the ball and his pace was a problem for Reading all afternoon. When he overlapped Lee Cook a couple of times he proved a menace with his darting runs.

Dean Sturridge decided he¡¦d had enough after 40 odd minutes. After challenging for a ball with the Reading keeper, he picked up a knock that will no doubt keep him out for a few weeks. Holloway had to juggle things about and moved Gallen up front, while Ainsworth came on at right midfield and Langley moved into centre midfield.

After the restart we came storming back into the game. Ainsworth went on a typical rampaging run down the right flank and switched the ball inside to Gallen. He found Cook in space and he fired home a shot past Hahnemann. It was a fully deserved goal after prolonged periods of possession.

During the second half Reading were very lucky to still have 11 men on the pitch. The annoying and petty Glenn Little firstly went in late on Langley and then on Doherty. After dishing out one yellow, the official, Tony Leake, didn¡¦t quite have the balls to hand out the second. Steve Coppell was on the ball though and immediately subbed the big idiot before he got himself sent off.

The ref didn¡¦t have the best of games, but we shouldn¡¦t be surprised as we¡¦ve had the displeasure of watching this man once already this season. He also missed numerous fouls from Dave Kitson, who time and time again went up for ball with his elbows flying around. He and Evatt were having a good old battle and Kitson was on the receiving end of a few flying Evatt challenges.

On 66 minutes Reading re-took the lead. They won a corner after Shittu had mistakenly touched the ball when trying to let it run out of play. From the resulting corner Ainsworth sliced at the ball and it went behind again. This time Reading didn¡¦t make any mistake and Ingimarsson was left unmarked at the near post and his powerful header was too much for Royce to handle. It was a poor goal to give away defensively and was painful after fighting to get back in the game.

We tried to get back into the game but ultimately couldn¡¦t find the breakthrough. Langley blasted a couple of efforts over and despite yet again having long periods of possession we just didn¡¦t have that cutting edge in front of goal. It isn¡¦t a one off problem either, we really do lack a killer touch and with Furlong out of sorts and suspended and Nygaard injured ¡V we look very short.

Big George tried his best and worked hard for the team but he is no centre forward. With Sturridge offering nothing in terms of goals and Moore completely out-of-sorts we lack an in-form striker at the moment.

We would normally have got a point out of this sort of game but Reading, although not at their best by a long way, are a very difficult team to break down. They defended soundly and Ingimarsson was a rock at the back for them. Lesser teams would have crumbled under that pressure but its no surprise that Reading were solid at the back and their league position confirms this.

Holloway will be disappointed that defensive frailties and goal shy-strikers have combined to costs us the points again. There are positives to take from the game though. Langley got another 90 minutes under his belt and fans got a chance to see him in central and right midfield. There is also the on-going progression of Lloyd Dyer and he maybe soon pressuring Cook for a spot on the wing. Evatt also continued his encouraging partnership with Shittu and despite lacking pace he has settled in well.

With another enforced break coming up we can work on getting some players fit again and hopefully this may give the spark our season needs at the moment.

QPR: Royce 7, Bignot 7, Shittu 7, Evatt 7, Dyer 7, Langley 7, Doherty 7*, Santos 7, Cook 6, Sturridge 5 (Ainsworth 44, 6), Gallen 7.
Subs Not Used: Cole, Milanese, Moore, Shimmin.
Booked: Gallen.
Goal: Cook 47

Reading: Hahnemann, Murty, Sonko, Ingimarsson, Shorey, Little (Oster 63), Harper, Sidwell, Convey (Hunt 71), Kitson, Doyle.
Subs Not Used: Stack, Makin, Obinna.
Booked: Little, Kitson.
Goals: Harper 10, Ingimarsson 66.

Att: 15,347.

QPR Man of the Match: Tommy Doherty ¡V Was at the heart of much of our play from midfield. His passing was spot on and he also put in a few superbly timed tackles with devastating effect. His fitness also looked better and hopefully that¡¦s a sign of more to come from the Irishman.

Ref: A Leake (Lancashire). 4 ¡V Not surprises here. Another poor performance from Mr Leake. He gave us precious little protection up at Coventry and he was his usual petty self. Little should have really got his marching order and if Coppell hadn¡¦t been on the ball he just might have done.

Photo: Action Images

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