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QPR cut loose as Buzsaky makes spectacular return to form - full match report
QPR cut loose as Buzsaky makes spectacular return to form - full match report
Sunday, 27th Sep 2009 16:10

QPR delivered the thrashing they have been threatening for several weeks on Saturday. Barnsley were the victims as Leigertwood, Buzsaky, Watson and Simpson all got on the score sheet.

I will get these bloody t-shirts given away eventually. In conjunction with LoftforWords has been trying to shift two free W12 shirts to supporters who could predict the score, scorer and attendance of a Rangers home game. We ran the competition for the Palace home game that was bizarrely rained off in the middle of September and had intended to roll it over to this match only for a combination of my chronic forgetfulness and a form of jet lag brought on by spending all of Wednesday night on a train back from Chelsea that broke, diverted and then broke again on its way to Sheffield from St Pancras to stop me posting the details up. We’ll try again for the Preston home match.

Predictions have never really been a strong point of mine. I put score draw in the match preview for this one fearing my curse would afflict us again if I said we would win, and backed QPR to win 2-0 in the prediction league. Both were wrong. I went through 46 league games last season without getting a single guess right on either league or match previews. Things have started well this term, although I fear my slamming of Newcastle as a club in a mess that would do well to finish fourteenth this year may well come back to haunt me on Wednesday, and as well as three correct scores on the prediction league I called Simon Davey correctly as the winner of the Championship sack race.

In fairness to me I have also said on several occasions QPR would give somebody a sound beating sooner or later if they kept playing as they have been in recent games. Few could have predicted the outcome of Saturday’s meeting with Barnsley where the decision by Davey’s replacement Mark Robins to make changes to his defence and give two loaned kids debuts and play an open, attacking game at Loftus Road set the stage nicely for QPR to pick their visitors off at will. There was a nervy ten minutes in the second half when QPR crashed from 3-0 to 3-2, but Robins wasn’t the only Barnsley man bearing gifts on Saturday and his goalkeeper David Preece capped a nightmare performance with a poor error that handed QPR a fourth goal just when it seemed that a disaster may be upon us.

As expected Magilton made two changes to his side from the Chelsea game in midweek. Despite an impressive performance between the sticks in midweek Tom Heaton dropped back down to the bench to accommodate the return of Radek Cerny. Another impressive performer from Stamford Bridge may also have felt a little hard done to when he dropped out, but Alejandro Faurlin was always likely to have to make way for Ben Watson who was cup tied on Wednesday. Watson partnered Rowlands at the heart of the team, Routledge and Buzsaky played wide of them, with Simpson up front and Vine playing off him. With Hall and Connolly both injured Gorkss and Stewart picked themselves at centre half with Leigertwood and Borrowdale at full back.

New Barnsley manager Mark Robins went into the transfer market for the first time last week and gave debuts to loaned Stoke defenders Ryan Shotton and Carl Dickinson in a new look back four. It was always going to be a risk for him to change his defence so much for an away game against a side with attacking players of the quality of Simpson, Buzsaky, Vine and Routledge, especially as Barnsley actually kept a clean sheet in their last league game, and possibly by 5pm Robins may have been wishing he had left well alone. Andy Gray partnered traditional scourge of QPR Iain Hume in attack.

The intentions of both teams were very clear from the first seconds of the game. Barnsley were certainly in no mood to sit back and intended to attack, QPR likewise. Right from the kick off Hume caught Leigertwood napping trying to shield a long ball out of play and delivered a dangerous cross but thankfully no Barnsley player had made it that far forward from the halfway line to meet it. Leigrtwood had another nervy moment in the third minute when he attempted to chest a cross back to Cerny and came within about a foot of planting it straight in his own net. From the corner QPR failed to deal with Hume’s delivery and a scramble ensued that ended with Anderson De Silva blasting over the bar.

In between those two incidents Wayne Routledge got going at the Tykes down the right for the first time and crossed for Akos Buzsaky whose fierce goal bound volley was blocked away to safety by Shotton. As the breathless start continued Iain Hume went close to his fifth career goal against Rangers with a low shot from 20 yards that beat Cerny but went past the post as well.

After that frantic start it was no surprise to see an early goal go in – thankfully it went to Rangers after seven minutes. Mikele Leigertwood was played into space down the right wing on halfway as Rangers moved the ball from left to right and, with Routledge and Simpson’s movement ahead of him taking Barnsley defenders away like the parting of the Red Sea, Legs was able to run forty yards into the opposition half before firing a low right footer past David Preece in goal and into the bottom corner of the net.

Seven minutes later it was 2-0 as Akos Buzsaky registered his first goal for the best part of a year. Ben Watson made it for him, drawing both Dickinson and Colace to him before threading the perfect ball through into the area and with the aid of a slight deflection Buzaky was able to beat Preece in the far corner from an acute angle. Despite the knick off the defender, the keeper probably should have done better with it but credit to Watson for a skilfully crafted assist.

Rangers were running hot and could have made it three within two minutes when Watson again pulled the strings through midfield and released Wayne Routledge in behind the Barnsley defence but his low shot from a tight angle was just about saved by Preece. The introduction of Rowlands’ bite, Watson’s craft and Simpson’s strength to the spine of the QPR side has transformed us in the last three games and it was all too much for Barnsley’s new look defence to cope with as Watson and Buzsaky picked them apart at will.

Mark Robins may well have been regretting making such wholesale changes to his defence all at once because had Barnsley been able to hang onto the tails of the QPR attack and keep them level, at the other end they were actually playing reasonably well. De Silva was excellent against the R’s in February and having volleyed an earlier chance over from a corner he went closer in the twenty second minute with a 20 yard effort that Cerny caught in full flight diving off to his right.

The teams swapped very presentable chances at the end of flowing passing moves either side of the half hour. Barnsley went first, Iain Hume again making the most of a QPR defender gambling on the ball running out of play when he nipped round Gorkss on the byline and flicked the ball into the six yard box – only a wonderful sliding tackle from Damion Stewart denied Andy Gray a simple tap in. QPR quickly strung the passes together through midfield themselves and an attractive move ended with a Martin Rowlands shot being blocked on the edge of the box after a good lay off from Simpson. Buzssaky blasted over from the resulting corner.

It was Gary Borrowdale’s turn to put in a goal saving tackle seven minutes before half time when he got underneath Hume as he prepared to let fly from 15 yards, and he was then alert enough to head a deep back post cross out for a corner with Gray lurking for scraps. Hammill tried his look from long range with little success as Barnsley hunted a route back into the game.

After several near misses at the Loft End it was tough on Barnsley to concede a third before half time on the counter attack. Jay Simpson collected the ball wide on the left, fed it in field to Akos Buzsaky and buoyed by his earlier goal the Hungarian drew his right foot back from fully 30 yards and curled a world class shot over the out of position Barnsley goalkeeper and into the top corner of the net. It took Buzsaky some time to get back to form after his injury this time last year and sadly he then picked up another season ender just as it looked like he might be doing so. A slow start this season has drawn pointed criticism from his manager but he was right back to his brilliant best on Saturday against Barnsley and if he can stay fit and Magilton leaves him in the team the Championship needs to be very wary of the Magical Magyar in this sumptuous form.

With confidence coursing through the QPR veins it could easily have been 4-0 before half time when Routledge crossed for Vine at the back post and his deflected shot was beaten away by Preece who did well to thrust an arm up above his head and save after the shot had flicked off one of his own men at close range. The scoreline perhaps flattered Rangers as it was but there was no doubt the home side was confident, playing well, and passing the ball superbly – they deserved their warm applause at the half time whistle.

The feel good factor washing across Loftus Road in the glorious September sunshine only increased as the Down’s Syndrome Tiger Cubs came on during the break to take shots at goal, perform laps of honour and in one enthusiastic youngster’s case break dance in front of an appreciative Loft End. It did seem like one of those rare days in W12 where everything was just going to fall into place for a wonderful afternoon.

Things are never simple at Loftus Road though and there was a hint at the start of the second half that QPR thought their work for the afternoon was done. Barnsley got a whiff of that and immediately went for the jugular pulling two goals back in three minutes immediately after the break to set the Rangers faithful back on edge again. First captain Stephen Foster rose unchallenged at the back post to head home Iain Hume’s free kick after a soft foul by Leigertwood on Adam Hammill in the fiftieth minute.

Then former Liverpool trainee Hammill was at it again, skipping into the area before being tripped by a lazy challenge from Damion Stewart for an obvious penalty. Andy Gray took it and although Cerny guessed the right way and saved he could neither hold the ball nor parry it away to safety and Gray was grateful for a second chance to slam the ball home from close range.

Jay Simpson did his best to calm the nerves on the hour with a turn in the penalty area and shot into the side netting that some on the far side of the ground to me thought had gone in but Barnsley’s tails were up and they were soon back on the attack. Radek Cerny had to be at his very best to save from Hammill and then in the sixty fifth minute Andy Gray would have been left with a simple tap in equaliser had Doyle played him in when he broke down the Barnsley right.

There is little wonder that in just my twenty fifth year I have the hairline of somebody twice my age and the stomach lining of a 62 year old air traffic controller. QPR had been in cruise control and ready to celebrate a massive win, and suddenly they were threatening to not even win narrowly, not even win at all. Mercifully ten minutes of nerves were settled by Ben Watson’s first goal for QPR thanks to another goalkeeping error straight after the Gray chance.

Buzsaky was again at the heart of things, tricking his way into the penalty area while waiting for men to arrive and then picking out Rowan Vine with the perfect cross to the back post. Vine nodded the ball back across the face and Watson met it first time on the edge of the six yard box. The shot carried power, but was straight at Preece and he really should have done better than simply allowing the ball to spin out of his hands and then back over the line to Watson’s obvious delight and surprise.

With the mood suddenly more relaxed Jim Magilton replaced Wayne Routledge with Alejandro Faurlin, moving Rowlands out to the right flank when Buzsaky right and Faurlin left seemed the obvious option. He also brought on Adel Taarabt for Rowan Vine which, with Vine tiring and Barnsley’s defence as thin as tissue paper, was a change I felt could have been made much earlier. Barnsley for their part sent on Rob Kozluk to try and tighten the defence and Jamal Campbell Ryce to try and inspire a further come back. Kozluk’s first action, within seconds of coming on, saw him booked for a nasty foul on Buzsaky – his mission for the remaining 20 minutes of so laid bare right away.

Taarabt immediately posed a threat to the visitors by tricking his way into the area, working space for a shot and unloading a powerful effort that almost knocked Preece clean off his feet as he thrust out his right arm to save well. A rare good moment for the keeper on an otherwise torrid afternoon.

Rangers tied the game up with 12 minutes left for play. Buzsaky’s well flighted corner was met by Gorkss at the back post and a queue of QPR and Barnsley players in the six yard box was headed by Jay Simpson unmarked and he tapped the ball over the line from close range – although at the time it did look suspiciously like an own goal.

Relaxed and clearly in charge QPR started to show boat a little in the closing minutes that led to an unpleasant incident with Adel Taarabt. On two or three occasions the loaned Tottenham man took on too many players and when he did so and lost the ball with Akos Buzsaky ideally placed for a pass the infamously impatient Loftus Road crowd got on his back. This in turn provoked a hand gesture from the Moroccan towards the Loft End, more an exasperated shrug than anything Tony Adams would have been proud of but that provoked a further dose of ridiculous over reaction from the QPR fans and then, shamefully, booing of the player the next time he touched the ball. Taarabt was visibly destroyed by this, spending the rest of the game with his head and shoulders slumped. At full time he hammered the ball down the field, took off his shirt and stormed off the field pausing only briefly to begrudgingly accept congratulations from assistant manager John Gorman.

I am astounded really. QPR fans moan, justifiably, for years and years about the standard of football at Loftus Road, about playing too much long ball rubbish, about partnering Palmer and Bean, Bircham and Johnson, Leigertwood and Mahon in the centre of midfield, about a longing for flair players in the Bowles, Marsh and Wegerle mould – then they actually get a talented flair player who tries one or two things to entertain them and they abuse him. Presumably Taarabt is expected to be perfect – every single thing he tries must come off.

Yes Taarabt holds onto the ball too long, yes he should get his head up and pass it more, yes he’s frustrating sometimes, but this is the sort of player we have been crying out for for years. Somebody who can make things happen, somebody who is good to watch, somebody you’d wish was on your side if you were playing against him. If you abused him for taking players on in the last five minutes of a home match that we are winning 5-2 I suggest you need to have a bloody long hard look at yourself. Three weeks ago at Scunthorpe he did it, he scored and we won 1-0, it’s not going to come off every time but don’t abuse the poor sod for trying it when it doesn’t. We’re never happier than when destroying our own players it seems. Let’s just stick Mahon and Leigertwood together in the centre of midfield again shall we? They definitely wouldn’t take on too many players. It would be nothing more than we deserve if that did happen. A sad and sour end to an otherwise wonderful afternoon.

Borrowdale picked up a late yellow card for a challenge on De Silva as the referee then chose to add an inordinately long five minutes that passed with only a Faurlin shot that forced a routine save from Preece to report.

Overall this was excellent. Again it was hard to pick out a poor QPR player on the pitch. Things really seem to be coming together and the recent improvement is all revolving around Watson and Rowlands at the heart of the midfield. I’ve been saying for some time now that somebody would get a thrashing from QPR if we continued to play like this and sure enough it has now happened. I was impressed not only with Watson and Rowlands but also Buzsaky who had his best game for 18 months or more, scored two good goals and was a clear man of the match. Jay Simpson as well I feel deserves a lot more credit than he is getting – his all round play as a lone striker is quite superb and he has three goals to his name now. A great addition.

I felt Gorkss fell asleep a couple of times – Stewart got him out of jail with a tackle in the first half and Foster was his man for the first Barnsley goal – but that is a nitpicky complaint for the sake of looking for a negative. Barnsley looked good with the ball, abysmal without it and while their recent result under Robins have been good it is clear that when new manager syndrome subsides at Oakwell he has a hell of a job on his hands to keep them in the league this season. They were punished by QPR remorselessly for trying to play an open game and I would say managers of our future opponents watching the video of this will think very seriously about packing the midfield and trying to stop us playing.

A thoroughly enjoyable, entertaining game littered with good football, mistakes and entertainment.

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QPR: Cerny 7, Leigertwood 8, Gorkss 6, Stewart 7, Borrowdale 7, Routledge 7 (Faurlin 69, 7) Rowlands 8, Watson 8, Buzsaky 9, Vine 7 (Taarabt 69, 6), Simpson 8 (Pellicori 80, 6)
Subs Not Used: Heaton, Ramage, Mahon, Ephraim
Booked: Borrowdale (foul)
Goals: Leigertwood 7 (unassisted), Buzsaky 15 (assisted Watson), 39 (assisted Simpson), Watson 67 (assisted Buzsaky/Vine), Simpson 79 (assisted Buzsaky/Gorkss)

Barnsley: Preece 3, Butterfield 5 (Kozluk 57, 5), Foster 6, Dickinson 4,Shotton 4, Colace 6, De Silva 7, Hammill 7, Doyle 6, Hume 7, A Gray 6 (Campbell-Ryce 76, 6)
Subs Not Used: Rusling, Bogdanovic, Devaney, J Gray, Thompson
Booked: Shotton (foul), De Silva (foul), Kozluk (foul)
Goals: Foster 51 (assisted Hume), Andy Gray 56 (penalty)

QPR Star Man – Akos Buzsaky 9 Two good goals, the first created by Watson the second all his own spectacular work, put the cap on a terrific performance from Buzsaky who was back to something close to his best in this game. While wide in midfield is obviously not his best position, and he may well benefit more from playing where Vine is currently being selected when Lee Cook is fit again, with Routledge sticking very close to the touchline wide on the right Buz is able to come infield whenever he likes without making us too narrow and that worked to great effect on Saturday. Fantastic to see him playing so well again and Magilton may well point to this justifying his post Accrington rant.

Referee: Karl Evans (Greater Manchester) 6 Nothing massively wrong, the penalty was certainly the right decision, but I did feel he was very kind to us a lot of the time and I can imagine the Barnsley fans were not too happy with him. Nothing major, just lots and lots of marginal, 50/50 calls that went QPR’s way. The bookings all seemed justified although Colace was very fortunate to escape with one for a deliberate hand ball in the second half that prevented Routledge racing away into the Barnsley half with little opposition between him and the goal.

Attendance: 12,025 (500 Barnsley approx) Despite the QPR performance and goals the atmosphere inside Loftus Road was strangely flat for the most part. Barnsley brought very few supporters with them and I didn’t hear a peep from them all afternoon. I have already discussed the Taarabt incident at length, I thought it was a disgrace but I’d welcome further discussion.

Photo: Action Images

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