|Derby County 1 v 1 Queens Park Rangers|
Saturday, 30th November 2019 Kick-off 15:00
QPR take excellent point from Wayne's World - Report
Monday, 2nd Dec 2019 10:09 by Clive Whittingham
QPR recovered admirably from their midweek mauling by Nottingham Forest with an improved defensive display and composed performance with the ball in a 1-1 draw at home specialists Derby on Saturday.
Just north of 26,000 traipsed through office car parks and vehicle showrooms to the world’s most valuable patch of retail estate land on Saturday afternoon.
In the main, they were here to enter Wayne’s World, with the 34-year-old record England goalscorer in town for the first time since his shock move to the Championship from DC United in the MLS was confirmed, courtesy of a handsome sponsorship deal from the sort parasitic online casino that has infested our sport to improve the public image of leaching off the poor and vulnerable.
Out he podged at ten to three, looking like somebody had glued some discarded pubes to a potato for an art project, for a bit of a wave and a deep and meaningful before he retreated back to the smoking area. The reaction was strangely muted, the locals perhaps frozen in their seats on a bitterly cold afternoon, or simply tiring of the circus their owner has created here. Derby have tried to win promotion by rapid firing managers at the first sign of trouble, by spending big money on proven players at this level, by selling their stadium to their owner to free up more paper money for the roaring fire, by throwing themselves at the feet of Frank Lampard and a battalion of excellent young boys on loan from the Premier League, and now they’re trying this – staking the season on a veteran striker whose lifestyle choices rendered him finished at the highest level by 30 years of age. Fourteenth in the Championship, Rooney took his place on the bench and gormlessly watched his new team turn in an insipid performance, like a stunned bollock.
High up in the corner, 1,000 or so QPR fans had battled engineering works, conductor strikes, apathy and pessimism to be there. As legendary fanzine editor Dave Thomas remaked at half time, what they wanted – needed – to see was the Queens Park Rangers they saw at Hull City a month ago. Confident in possession, solid in shape, threatening in attack, with Ebere Eze stealing the souls of defenders and goalkeepers alike. Things have gone rather awry since that fourth away win of the season was achieved in fine style, with disappointing home draws against struggling Reading and Middlesbrough, gifted wins for high flying Fulham and Middlesbrough, and a 4-0 aberration at home to Nottingham Forest on Wednesday.
Under successive managers QPR have fallen into these six game winless runs with the frequency and ease Deirdre Barlow falls into wedlock, but divorce is always more complicated hassle than saying “I do” and breaking free of them with a nourishing victory often proves tough. Mark Warburton, the latest gaffer to try and crack the code, returned to his preferred 4-2-3-1 set up with Lee Wallace’s suspension and Yoann Barbet’s ongoing injury issues forcing his hand away from a back three. Angel Rangel was recalled for dynamic attacker but suspect defender Todd Kane; Marc Pugh got a rare start at ‘ten’ behind another recall, Jordan Hugill; Bright Osayi-Samuel’s pace and purpose was added to the right side. QPR looked calm, composed and comfortable. They dominated the ball and were much the better side, particularly in the first half. They didn’t win, but there was plenty here to reassure restless natives.
They were rather aided by what can only be described as a strange approach from the home team. Derby were always going to suffer for losing three players of the quality of Harry Wilson, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori over the summer – and let’s not forget they only squeaked into the play-offs with that trio in the team courtesy of two scandalous penalty awards in their favour against QPR and West Brom at the fag end of last season. New manager Phillip Cocu has had to contend with a catalogue of injuries, and lost influential enforcer Krystian Bielik (a big money summer arrival from Arsenal) from his midfield at the eleventh hour, as well as disgusting off field behaviour and the fall out from it. George Evans played 85 minutes with a nasty eye injury here. Plenty of mitigation then, but still difficult to see what the Rams were trying to accomplish, sitting off a QPR team that hates to be pressed and letting them play the ball around as they wished. They took to the field with two left backs – Scott Malone and Jayden Bogle – and dropped centre forward Martin Waghorn out onto the left flank as well for good measure, and yet still kept allowing Bright Osayi-Samuel to isolate defenders one on one down that side and run at them.
They took the lead – of course they took the lead – as QPR’s hopelessly porous defence creaked, and then panicked, tripping Jack Marriott in perfect range for Waghorn to curl the ball over the wall and past Joe Lumley from the dead ball situation. But for the most part Marriott’s clever play to win set pieces round the box was their best outlet, and when he was replaced late in the second half by a Chris Martin-themed bouncy castle, just as the Rams seemed to be getting up a head of steam to push for a winner, the whole thing rather died away for them.
The question was whether QPR’s fragile confidence would mean the Waghorn free kick was enough to win the game. They’d been the better team before it – Eze picked out Manning free at the back post from a corner but the Irishman planted a free header over the bar, then when Manning took on the wide set piece duties himself Geoff Cameron flicked the delivery fractionally over the bar – but heads could easily have dropped after the twenty third minute blow.
In actual fact, Rangers grew into the game still further. Malone was carded for hauling down Osayi-Samuel. Manning tried a shot from range that was nervously parried by stand in home goalkeeper Ben Hamer – Kelle Roos dropped after a number of recent gaffes. The keeper saved again, well, off to his right, when Jordan Hugill hit a first time shot on the turn. Referee David Webb awarded a goal kick.
Webb was the official here last Easter that awarded that nonsense injury time penalty against Luke Freeman which won Derby the game. That was one of several decisions at the back end of 2018/19 that QPR received a letter of apology for from the PGMOL, but such contrition starts to ring a little bit hollow when they then decide to send the same referee back for the next meeting between the sides at the same ground. Thankfully Waghorn’s rash hack at Osayi-Samuel in the penalty area in first half injury time, after a prolonged period of QPR possession, was so blatant a penalty was the only possible outcome. Eze trolled the goalkeeper, and those who haven’t read the rules on penalty run ups, with the trademark run and calm finish from 12 yards.
The second half started much the same, with Derby almost inadvertently playing Marc Pugh through on Hamer with some slack defensive work, and quickly settled into a pattern of QPR having all the ball and Derby occasionally launching a half decent looking counter attack. Rangers didn’t create that much – Hall’s free header from a corner on 54 which he really should have done better with about the best of it – and they were reliant on the excellent Angel Rangel to block from Malone at the end of one sweeping home move. Waghorn glanced a header well wide and Geoff Cameron was lucky Webb was in a generous mood and allowed him to get away with a flagrant incident of kicking the ball away when he was already on a yellow card.
A winner for the home team would have been beyond tough on QPR, and fortunately when a weak free kick was awarded within striking range deep into injury time they decided to sportingly leave it to their worst player on the day, Tom Lawrence. Things Tom Lawrence is too bereaved to do: get a taxi home after a skinfull, do some time inside when this results in a horror crash, jog back into his own half to help his defence after carelessly conceding possession while attempting some gratuitous drag back. Things Tom Lawrence isn’t too bereaved to do: ponce about with one of those jinky run ups and laces-through-the-valve-of-the-ball up and down free kicks he’s seen proper footballers do on the television. Up it went, down it came, straight into the arms of Joe Lumley.
A point settled on then, and even though Derby were poor here they have won their last five games on this ground and kept clean sheets in their last four so it’s a decent result. Angel Rangel’s experienced hold of position and marshalling of the back four, and Toni Leistner’s second half aerial tour de force whenever Derby slung a cross into the area, crucial in an improved defensive effort. It was the first time in 11 outings Rangers hadn’t conceded at least two in a game, and although Waghorn’s excellent free kick still leaves them hunting an elusive first clean sheet of the season, they did at least look like a team that is capable of defending when it needs to here. We looked better in this shape, with Osayi-Samuel back in the team, and if that means one of our two very good strikers has to sit on the bench, as Wells did here, then we probably are going to have to do that for the overall good of the team.
A terrific travelling support received their team warmly at full time, having backed them to the hilt throughout, and Joe Lumley seemed genuinely appreciative of an ovation from the away end after the match. None of the toxicity or abuse towards the manager and players that we see online. Anybody would think these angry, pre-pubescent keyboard warriors don’t actually go to the games.
Match Gallery: 19 photos
Derby: Hamer 6; Wisdom 6, Davies 6, Forsyth 6, Bogle 5 (Whittaker 67, 6); Holmes 6, Lawrence 5, Evans 5, Malone 5; Waghorn 6 (Martin 81, -), Marriott 6 (Knight 81, -)
Subs not used: Paterson, Dowell, Roos, Lowe
Goals: Waghorn 23 (free kick, won Marriott)
Bookings: Malone 16 (foul)
QPR: Lumley 6; Rangel 7, Leistner 7, Hall 6, Manning 6; Cameron 6, Amos 6 (Scowen 71, 6); Osayi-Samuel 7, Pugh 6 (Wells 78, 6), Eze 7; Hugill 6
Subs not used: Kane, Smith, Ball, Chair, Barnes
Goals: Eze 45+4 (penalty, won Osayi-Samuel)
Bookings: Osayi-Samuel 49 (foul), Cameron 75 (foul), Manning 88 (foul)
QPR Star Man – Bright Osayi Samuel 7 Gave Bogle and Malone nightmares down the flank, particularly in the first half, culminating in Waghorn chopping him down for an obvious penalty. I like Chair a lot but his influence has waned in recent weeks and now might be a good time for him to take some time out of the team and Osayi-Samuel to get a similar run of games that he enjoyed. We stretch teams widthways with him on one side and Eze on the other in a way we simply don’t when he’s not there. Some notable big defensive efforts as well, charging back down the line to pick up players or make covering tackles.
Referee – David Webb (Durham) 7 Feared the worst when I saw it was the same referee as the one who shafted us here last season but this was a much better display with few errors. The penalty was blatant and Eze’s run up perfectly legal despite all the complaints. Geoff Cameron very lucky to stay on after chipping the ball away after a Derby free kick had been awarded late on when he was already on a yellow card.
Attendance 26,289 (1,100 QPR approx.) How’s ya dad, still going to Derby matches to stand by himself and bang that drum? Yeeeeeeeehhhhhhhhhhhh.
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Pictures – Action Images
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