QPRâ€™s troubles deepen with Posh defeat â€“ full match report Monday, 8th Feb 2010 14:22
QPR’s awful run of form extended still further on Saturday when the R’s were beaten 1-0 at bottom of the table Peterborough United.
This could be a much shorter match report than usual. Firstly because I spent most of the first half having a conversation with friends, secondly because I left early again and thirdly because what more is there left to say? What can I write here that I haven’t already written? How many different words for ‘abject’ and ‘embarrassing’ can I actually think of?
Heartless, gutless, soulless, passionless – we were all of those and more. Again. One win from 14, no clean sheet in 20, no goal scored in more than 270 minutes of football. The numbers just keep increasing. As do the number of loans, and not a single one of the five used on Saturday brought anything to the team that a fully paid up and contracted member of our squad could not. We now have so many loans we cannot pick them all at the same time and with Aston Villa’s central midfield clogger Issiah Osbourne apparently about to increase that number still further it remains nothing short of a scandal that good, talented, honest young players that we own are sidelined to make way for temporary signings who couldn’t give a toss. What must Ephraim and Balanta have made of Bent and Priskin’s performances at London Road?
I’d like to be able to get worked up and angry about it all but what’s the point? At no stage on Saturday did we ever once look capable of taking anything at all from a game with the worst team in the division who have won only three times all season and only once in their last 16 matches and possess the worst defensive record in the entire Football League. Peterborough had lost five in a row coming into this game but never looked like doing anything but win once Aaron McLean had made the most of abysmal QPR defending to poke the home side ahead after nine minutes. It was the inevitability of it that kills any anger I may have felt – and even if I was cross the board have made it quite clear that mere £20 punters like me don’t matter anyway so what’s the point.
QPR’s starting eleven saw Marcus Bent and Tamas Priskin make their debuts in attack after signing on loan from Birmingham and Ipswich respectively. Lee Cook made a long awaited first start after his knee injury wide on the left with Quashie and Faurlin in the middle. Mikele Leigertwood, who is the latest player who for some reason cannot be dropped under any circumstances regardless of forum, ridiculously started the game in the right wing position. At the back Ramage and Hill were the full backs either side of Connolly and Gorkss with Ikeme in goal.
Peterborough were under the guidance of the third new manager of the season for the first time and Jim Gannon changed their system to a back three Aaron Mclean and Craig Mackail Smith partnered in attack and George Boyd playing centrally behind them to great affect.
QPR started as the meant to go on with ragged defending inside the first sixty seconds. Twice the home fans appealed for a penalty as Matt Hill desperately tried to block crosses from Chris Whelpdale. The first appeared to strike Hill in the chest but the second looked a much more plausible shout for a penalty and QPR were perhaps fortunate to escape punishment from referee Danny McDermid. The referee then tried to make amends for this in the rest of the half by awarding a free kick for every single tiny bit of contact anywhere on the field resulting in a disjointed and frustrating game to watch.
The pathetic defending continued as Peterborough took the lead with the time still in single figures. Kaspars Gorkss cam racing out of the line to intercept a through ball and missed it, Mackail Smith was then afforded far too much time and space on the byline by Matt Connolly and swung over a cross when he really should have been closed down. Boyd collected it at the near post and Gorkss went to ground far too readily on him allowing the ball to be squared to McLean who was totally unmarked and scored easily. A goal that owed much more to QPR and their inept defence than Peterborough anything good their attack had put together.
QPR attempted an immediate response but Marcus Bent miskicked a 20 yard shot well wide of the post after being laid off by Tamas Priskin. The two new strikers both failed to impress on Saturday with Priskin looking very lightweight and prone to hitting the deck too easily, and Bent’s touch found wanting on many, many occasions. Hopefully they will improve with more game time under their belts but on this showing we have another couple of duds on our hands.
Rangers were indebted to brave keeping from Carl Ikeme for keeping the score at one when he raced from his line to tackle Craig Mackail Smith on the edge of the area as the Peterborough man raced onto a fine through ball from the impressive Boyd. Rangers failed to collect the second ball or put in any challenges at all as Posh then rallied and came again with Boyd eventually teeing up Whelpdale who skied over after being left unmarked in the area. Whelpdale did find the target with his next effort but a low drive after cutting in from the right wing was comfortably saved by Ikeme. We were, to put it mildly, a total shambles.
Even when we did finally put a move together and force a corner from a deflected shot by Marcus Bent we attempted to work a short routine that saw Lee Cook flagged offside receiving the second pass. You really do have to wonder why on earth we bother sometimes if this is the best they can come up with. In fairness to Cook he did really look like he was trying on Saturday, which is more than can be said for many of his team mates, and his terrific cross just after the half hour should have resulted in an equaliser but Matt Connolly headed over the bar. Bent and Leigertwood both sent tam efforts straight at Lewis so it was far from one way traffic, but QPR’s attacks were fleeting and lacked genuine threat.
Boyd, a constant pest to QPR in the first half, crossed for Rowe to head wide at the back post just before half time and he really should have done better. Then the straggly haired midfielder fired a shot from the edge of the area that Matt Connolly blocked before it reached Ikeme – although Connolly knew little about it.
Peterborough had Charlie Lee booked for a foul on Quashie just before half time and then when he was replaced at the break, presumably due to injury, his replacement Josh Simpson was also immediately carded himself for a mistimed tackle on Priskin who sprawled across the ground as if he had been knifed in the back. McDermid bought every single piece of play acting from both sets of players on the day.
Peterborough had attacked at will in the first half but seemed to start the second period with a more conservative attitude and Matt Connolly was able to strike a low shot through to Lewis for our first serious effort on target in the entire match. Harford was forced to shuffle his pack ten minutes after half time when Nigel Quashie limped out of the action with the inevitable injury we always knew he would pick up after signing from West Ham and Hogan Ephraim came on to replace him.
QPR were absolutely awful with 11 men on the field so the last thing they needed was to be reduced to ten. Alas that is exactly what happened when Mikele Leigertwood was sent off on the hour mark. With Harford preparing to introduce Jay Simpson from the bench (how many times have we self destructed as we are about to make a substitution this year) Alejandro Faurlin played a wayward pass across the pitch and Leigertwood lunged into a tackle he was never likely to win on Tommy Rowe and sent the Peterborough man flying. Legs pleaded his case, which probably centred around the fact that he hasn’t actually made a tackle of any sort for five matches so it would be a bit harsh to send him off for his first attempt at one, but referee McDermid had already raced across full of his own self importance and hoisted a red card. Leigertwood will at least now mercifully be suspended for a bit and he deserves to – with a picky referee doing everything by the book it was a ludicrous challenge to make and an obvious red card.
This served as great encouragement for the hosts who could have gone two up but for a fine save from Ikeme who denied Craig Mackail Smith. Ikeme had to work less hard to deny Boyd who hit a tame shot 20 minutes from time and then dragged an effort wide of the post on the next attack.
Ten men became nine eight minutes from time. Rowan Vine played a hospital pass towards Ramage made a tired lunge on Rowe as the Peterborough man nicked the ball away from him. A second yellow was the obvious outcome and Ramage trudged from the field to join Leigertwood in the early bath water. Both sendings off the direct result of players trying to retrieve awful passes from team mates and all three cards for fouls on Rowe who I had picked out as a danger man before the game in the match preview and who looked a great little player on this evidence.
Bizarrely QPR could have snatched a point with nine as Joe Lewis spilled a through ball under pressure from Vine, Simpson sent a low ball flashing across the face of goal and Hogan Ephraim blazed over with time and space to spare in the penalty box but, I’m sorry to say, I was long gone and back in the bar by that time. It would have been a travesty had Rangers taken anything from the game.
There’s not a lot else to say really. As you can probably tell I’ve never enjoyed writing a LoftforWords match report less. There were some positives – Cook showed up well on his comeback from injury, Ephraim tried hard when he came on, and Leigertwood is now banned for three matches which is three less games this season where I have to endure the heartbreak of watching my club captained by him.
Apart from that there was nothing to take from this. We were a mess tactically, the effort and work rate levels were embarrassing, the defending was rank and our loan players brought absolutely nothing of any note to the team whatsoever. I’ll put the broken record on again – the best thing Harford can do now if get good, honest, QPR players like Ephraim, Balanta, Cook, German and others in this team because at least he knows they’ll give him everything.
Medium to long term we all know what we want to see – a good manager, given time to do his job, left alone by the board, and an end to the Sporting Director system. Short term where exactly are we going to get a win from? I personally cannot see us beating anybody at the moment. We never once looked like doing anything but lose this game and Peterborough are the worst side in the division by any measurement you choose to use. I’m gravely concerned for where we’re actually going to end up this season because at the moment I cannot see us beating anybody ever again.
Referee: Danny McDermid (Middlesex) 3 A by the book man who served as a constant irritant to both sets of supporters and players with a picky, whistle happy attitude. A referee who knows the rules but doesn’t know the game. Having said that it was hard to argue with either sending off.
Attendance: 8,933 (1570 QPR) Credit the QPR fans who travelled in great numbers and did actually make an effort to back their players with a few rousing choruses of ‘come on you R’s’ in the first half before they correctly realised it was going to make no difference at all and started singing songs of recent greats of the QPR past such as Paul Furlong and Kevin Gallen. The Peterborough fans were pretty quiet although from past experience noise does not travel well from one end of London Road to the other.