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Sky curse strikes again
Sky curse strikes again
Friday, 25th Aug 2006 17:01

QPR were beaten by Ipswich Town at home, we only managed to hold onto our lead for a measly four minutes until a controversial penalty changed the game.

After naming a changed team for our rare cup victory during the week, Waddock reverted to the players who have featured so far this campaign. Rowlands was missing as was Gareth Ainsworth. Jones returned between the sticks with Rose, Rehman, Stewart and Milanese in front of him. Lomas partnered Ward in the centre while Cook provided the width and Gallen was playing out of position on the right. The youngsters continued in attack with Blackstock and Jones leading the way.

Despite the disappointing result and well below par performance from the Hoops on the night we actually started the game in a whirlwind fashion. For the first 15 minutes or so we took the game to our visitors and put them under real pressure. However, for all our domination we couldn't break the deadlock and we seemed to lose our rhythm more as the half went on.

Our start was similar to the Leeds home game; that night we started well but faded away as our opponents got to grips with our style. It happened again - Ipswich grew in confidence and once the goals went in for them they looked a different side.

Early on Nick Ward and Gallen had shots blocked then Ward blasted over the bar and Cook had a shot well saved. Cook started well and looked a threat on the wing. Ward was also keen to get involved and wasn't shy in attacking and shooting at will. He did fade badly in the second half but it's going to take some time for him to bed into the pace and the physical side of the game.

The visitors had their first chance when a free kick from Mark Noble, one of the best players on the night, was fumbled by the normally reliable Paul Jones. Luckily for Jones and Rangers we got away with it, but it was an early warning.

Once the QPR pressure begun to lose its spark Ipswich slowly grew in stature. Billy Clarke had the best effort for Town as his shot was tipped round the post by Jones. From the resulting corner we continued with our new style of defending corner kicks this year. Every single player in hoops trots back to in and around the box, including someone like Lee Cook who is a dangerous attacker but quite frankly next to useless at defending.

Waddock has opted for zonal marking this season, but we just look unorganised at set pieces and the opposition exposed this. But why we don't leave one player up field I don't know as when we do clear the ball it comes straight back to us because we've got no-one to hold the ball up. There should be more than enough players to mark the Ipswich men who have come forward, surely?

Billy Clarke went close for Ipswich on 36 minutes as he hit the bar from 12 yards out and then Matthew Richards blasted over the bar. QPR meanwhile had somewhat lost their way. Our young strikers were looking lost and the experienced De Vos and co marshaled them well.

We did however have one excellent chance before half time as Blackstock had his best chance yet in a Rangers shirt. He was clean through with just the keeper to beat but was unable to hit the back of the net as Price in the Ipswich goal saved well. It was a superb chance and Dexter I'm sure would have been kicking himself.

The second half continued with Rangers struggling to click into gear and continue on from the pressure of the opening stages. Ipswich looked brighter and a half time talk from Magilton had obviously stirred his players. It was Rangers however who opened the scoring at the Loft End and it was one of the old guard who got the goal. Lee Cook was once again the provider as he received the ball on the left and his deep cross to the far post was met by Gallen who got in front of his defender. It looked for a moment as if the defender had recovered by Gallen managed to shrug him off and tap home past the diving Ipswich keeper.

Ipswich immediately fought back and stepped up their play. Once again we led a lead slip after just a few minutes which is ever so frustrating. This time it was a controversial penalty decision as Stewart was adjudged to have brought the on rushing Gavin Williams down. It didn't look like a penalty from our seats, but Ipswich had the perfect opportunity to get back in the game. Walton stepped up and shot low past the diving Jones. Then it all went wrong for Rangers and the defence in particular fell apart.

Ipswich turned up a few gears and from a well-rehearsed corner kick found an unmarked man who hit the post. A warning sign for Rangers - and one that we didn't really take any notice of. Another corner followed and from the deep cross into the Rangers box, De Vos was unmarked to ram the ball home much to the delight of the Ipswich fans in the upper tier of the School End.

Waddock then changed a few things round and replaced the ineffective Lomas for Bircham and brought Baidoo on in a 3-4-3 formation. This unfortunately didn't help our cause. Bowditch headed home five minutes from time when our defence went missing yet again and Ipswich were heading back to East Anglia was all three points.

This was a terrible second half performance from QPR, the team is still gelling together and at this moment in time don't seem able to perform consistently for 90 minutes. We were badly exposed at the back and Lomas in midfield had a shocker and didn't offer enough protection to the back four.

Our front two worked very hard but found it difficult playing against an experienced defender like De Vos. Gallen was out of position and doesn't do what we need from a wide man, he instinctively goes into the middle and this causes a problem as we then don't have enough width. He is fair better suited to a position in the middle of the park where he can get the ball and pass it around.

We now have a couple of weeks to get some players match fit and worked damn hard on the training ground. Plymouth away is next and that's one match you can bet they'll be up for winning!

QPR: Paul Jones 6, Rose 6, Stewart 6, Rehman 6, Milanese 6 (Baidoo 77, 7), Gallen 6, Lomas 4 (Bircham 72, 7), Ward 6, Cook 7, Ray Jones 6, Blackstock 6.
Subs Not Used: Cole, Kanyuka, Oliseh.
Booked: Bircham.
Goals: Gallen 58.

Ipswich: Price, Wilnis, Bruce, De Vos, Harding, Williams (Currie 90), Walton, Noble, Richards, Lee (Haynes 88), Clarke (Bowditch 77).
Subs Not Used: Naylor, Sito.
Goals: Walton 62 pen, De Vos 68, Bowditch 86.

Attendance: 10,918

QPR Man of the Match: Lee Cook - Not many contenders for this one and I doubt many will agree but it was difficult picking this one. Cook made our goal and created chances for himself and other in the first half. But like other faded badly and couldn't do anything to get back in the game.

Ref: L Mason (Lancashire)- 6 - Was a not popular man in W12 after awarding the penalty to our visitors, this was a big turning point but we were quite frankly hopeless after this so can't really argue. He did manage to keep his cards in his pocket though but the penalty decision was the major talking point.

Photo: Action Images

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