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Reading 1 v 0 Queens Park Rangers
SkyBet Championship
Thursday, 26th December 2019 Kick-off 19:30
QPR punished for wastefulness again - Report
Friday, 27th Dec 2019 20:52 by Clive Whittingham

A catalogue of missed chances across two games have turned six points into one against Charlton Athletic and now Reading for profligate QPR.

Do you know what, as it’s the season of goodwill and I’m a naturally benevolent and festive person anyway, I’m almost inclined to just write this one off as one of those weird things that happens sometimes in football.

Nobody can explain how or why but occasionally you’ll bang away all night and through a variety of increasingly convoluted and flukey reasons not score, while of course shipping a crucial single goal at the other end. Like that time Grimsby Town won 1-0 at Loftus Road with Lev Yashin in goal disguised as Danny Coyne.

There was Ilias Chair’s glorious effort, immediately after he’d come on as a second half sub, that somehow struck inside the angle of post and bar, bounced down without going in, and then fell to Jordan Hugill who hit the rebound straight at goalkeeper Rafael who made one in a serious of unlikely saves to deny him.

Later, with the last attack of the game, Hugill would get on the end of a perfect Todd Kane cross at the back post and fairly well belt the ball straight at the goal from four yards out for a certain equaliser. It struck Rafael square in the face and stayed out. The keeper knew nothing about it. When the loaned West Ham front man did find the net, in the first half, he’d strayed offside expecting the cross to come earlier from Bright Osayi-Samuel and was too busy berating him for holding onto the ball to get back in line with the last man, so it was ruled out.

There was more.

A corner routine seven minutes before half time that had worked perfectly for Grant Hall to score against Brentford earlier this season paid dividends again, freeing the skipper at the near post for a completely unchallenged header on goal from six yards. For some reason he skimmed a flicked attempt rather than planting a firm one and it drifted wide.

Straight after, when Ebere Eze got free into open space for the first time in the game and glided smoothly into the penalty area his progress was interrupted by a crude trip from Liam Moore – leg out, taking the Rangers man down at the thigh, on the linesman’s side of the field. Referee James Linington failed to award a pretty blatant spot kick.

In the second half Eze set off again, picking the ball up wide on the left in his own half and ghosting in field via a one two with Luke Amos before accelerating deep into the danger zone, executing another text book wall pass with Bright Osayi-Samuel, doing a perfectly controlled 360 degree receive and spin to take Rafael out of the game and poke an equaliser towards the empty net. This time Gunter, for reasons known only to himself, was back on the line in just the right place to clear from under the crossbar. Re-run that move 100 times and he’ll never be standing there again.

Naturally when Reading’s John Swift drew his foot back six minutes after half time, 30 yards out from goal, the connection was crisp, the technique immaculate, the shot powerful and accurate, and the ball fizzed into the top corner of the net for what will almost certainly be the Royals’ goal of the season.

Chalk it up lads. One of those nights. On another day exactly the same performance comes away with a three or four one win and we’re all singing everybody’s praises. Don’t sweat it, move onto the next game which luckily is in 20 minutes time.

Except there was more to niggle those of a QPR persuasion here than simply an unjust result, celebrated like a World Cup final victory on the final whistle by a fairly shameless Mark Bowen. Try not to hold that against him, if you’d dedicated your life to being a bibs, balls and cones man for Mark ‘Sparky’ Hughes various managerial disasters you’d celebrate the rare wins when they come along as well.

Firstly, QPR start to the game was abysmal. A real lazy, sluggish, passive, classic of the day-after-Christmas genre. In the first 30 minutes we lost every 50/50 tackle and were second to every second ball. As at Loftus Road, we gave the excellent Swift and talented Ovie Ejaria all the space and time they wanted to do as they pleased. Thrown into the mix this time in addition to that was 63-year-old Charlie Adam, fat as a barrel and with the face of a man who’s stared into the Ark of the Covenant but allowed to just stand in 30 square yards of space in the centre of the field and ping diagonals left and right unchallenged for the first half hour.

Geoff Cameron and Luke Amos both weakly lost out on tackles in the first five minutes to set the tone and then when Adam was given all the time he needed to get Chris Gunter in down the right his low cross was smacked goalwards first by Ejaria and then by Swift only for Joe Lumley to save well twice in quick succession. A low cross from the other side by Tyler Blackett was excellently cleared by Leistner. Gunter ran in field and shot over. It took until 19 minutes for QPR to have a serious attack, with Eze winning a free kick for a pulling offence but then wastefully hitting it over the bar from a distance and angle he was ever likely to score from. One of two such incidents in this game.

The frustrating thing is we got away with it. The score was still nil nil when Bright Osayi Samuel moved to the right of the three behind Jordan Hugill and the ineffective Marc Pugh came to the left. That, and a move by the rest of the team ten yards further up the field, sparked a turn around in the flow of the game and Rangers were much the better team after that. Which made Swift’s wonder strike all the more galling, but even then he had time and space to take two touches on a cleared corner before getting a shot away, and thereafter Lumley twice had to be at his best away to the left to keep out Joao efforts – one with his head, the other on the half volley. And even while playing better, there were still times when Jordan Hugill was bringing the ball down with his back to goal on the edge of the Reading box with no teammate within 30 yards of him.

Warburton kept adding technicians from his bench to try and crack the code. Ilias Chair was impressive, Matt Smith less so, and like I say on most other days in most other games either the Chair one off the bar or the Hugill one into the goalkeeper’s face, at least, go in and we don’t lose the game. But at the same time, it wasn’t bad luck for Nahki Wells to go through on goal against Charlton and piss about long enough for the keeper to make a save and it wasn’t bad luck that Hugill sent two absolute sitters in this match straight at the goalkeeper. Apart from his trademark lean back and high over the bar favourite, Hugill does seem to have an unerring ability to shoot straight and powerfully at whatever obstacles are left on the line once the chance has fallen to him.

Premier League strikers don’t come on loan for free, or even that cheaply. QPR will have paid money to borrow the pair of them to make the difference this season and while they’ve done that to this point, their glaring misses over the last 180 minutes have turned six points into one.

Match Gallery: 15 photos

We had tough games in November and gave the team something of a free pass through a poor set of results. The reward for that was victories against Preston and Birmingham but we’ve now taken one point from Barnsley, Charlton and Reading which are three of the easiest games on the calendar this year and were meant to be a chance for us to kick on up the table. You’ll forgive me some nagging doubts because it was this time last year, with a disappointing 0-0 at home to Reading over Christmas, that things started to go seriously south for QPR, and it was the strikers Nahki Wells and Tomer Hemed who led that nosedive from the front.

Just one of those nights? Be nice to get a bit of extra confirmation on that in two quickfire home games to come between now and New Year.

Links >>> Photo Gallery >>> Ratings and Reports >>> Message Board Match Thread

Reading: Rafael 8; Gunter 6, Moore 6, Morrison 6, Blackett 7; Ejaria 7 (Boye 86, -), Swift 8 (Olise 84, -), Adam 7 (Rinomhota 74, 6), Gomes 6; Joao 6. Meite 6

Subs not used: Walker, Miazga, Loader, Obita

Goals: Swift 52 (unassisted)

Yellow Cards: Gunter 74 (foul)

QPR: Lumley 7; Kane 5, Leistner 7, Hall 6, Manning 6; Cameron 5 (Smith 68, 5), Amos 6; Osayi-Samuel 6 (Wells 83, -), Eze 7, Pugh 5 (Chair 61, 6); Hugill 5

Subs not used: Barnes, Wallace, Scowen, Ball

QPR Star Man – Joe Lumley 7 I don’t know, tough one to award really. Four saves, including a tidy double stop when we were under pressure in the first half, probably nudges it for Joe who has played better in recent weeks (bar Barnsley), though his distribution was again haphazard.

Referee – James Linington (Isle of Wight) 6 Not too bad, but I thought he missed a pretty blatant penalty for the foul on Eze and like everybody else that officiates at this level quietly and passively allowed some biblical time wasting to go on second half without so much as a warning.

Attendance 12,495 (1,351 QPR) And if you believe that…

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WestonsuperR added 21:15 - Dec 27
I didn’t think we worth any more than a draw, can’t overlook a poor first half and the fact Lumley got Clive’s MOM tells its own story, Reading could quite easily have found themselves 2 up and cruising.

Thought Matt Smith was reasonable when he came on and although Hugill’s misses were frustrating it is pleasing he is getting in those positions.
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enfieldargh added 21:44 - Dec 27
interesting to hear thatReading were the biggest spenders this season in the Championship with the owners insisting on a top six finish

Little old QPR 50k. know whose future looks more brighter
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Burnleyhoop added 22:21 - Dec 27
The first 30 mins was as flacid and sterile as QPR of old.
Amos tackled like a fairy in the first half but showed what he is capable of in the second. Perhaps a pairing of Amos and the rat at the base might have more bite and tenacity.

Pugh was poor and Chair showed him how to to play that role through the middle with great movement and penetration.
I also thought Smith grew into the game and showed plenty of potential, although he clearly lacks physicality.

We still lack the belief to go out there and grab the game by the scruff of the neck. What we need is a leader.....still.
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Myke added 01:09 - Dec 28
Cheers Clive. Agree with all that except Eze's was never a penalty in the first half. He barged straight into Moore and went down. I fully expected him to glide past him al la Blackburn but it didn't happen unfortunately. Also probably a bit harsh to describe Hugill's shot that smashed into the keeper's face as a 'glaring miss' although I accept he should have done better with the rebound off the post. Even more harsh to compare him with that lazy waste of space, Hemed (who indicated exactly how little he could be arsed with his performance against Swansea) i thought Hugill put in a super shift against Reading, especially as you rightly say with little or no support from Pugh. I like Pugh but he is not a second striker, or indeed a starter at all in my view.
I feel Warburton must take some responsibility for recent dropped points with his team selections (Wallace, Pugh, dropping BOS etc) We bemoaned Olli for his constant chopping and changing, bemoaned McClaren for flogging the same 11 to death until they eventually lost form or picked up long term injuries. I feel however, that Warburton is over-thinking things and trying to be too clever with his selections and tactics at times. Anyway onto Hull, we could do with a win to settle the nerves again.
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Myke added 01:18 - Dec 28
Oh and I never comment on your ratings, but to give Pugh the same as Hugill ??? 4 and 7 imo
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062259 added 04:58 - Dec 28
14 points from safety
11 points above the drop zone
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062259 added 05:00 - Dec 28
And can someone confirm the Sky commentator’s remark that QPR has the 5th lowest payroll in this season’s Championship?
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stneotsbloke added 07:50 - Dec 28
Okay, I know this comment is utterly pointless but how many would Charlie Austin or, going back a generation or two, Clive Allen have scored this season …………..
Hugill works hard and contributes well but doesn't score nearly as many as he should. He even looks like a larger, stronger version of Connor Washington
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CliveWilsonSaid added 08:06 - Dec 28
Could have been 3-0 to Reading, 0-3 to us, 0-0, 3-3 and everything in between. 1-0 probably the most unlikely and most unfair result of the lot, yet that's how it ended. Bizarre but entertaining game none the less.
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Paddyhoops added 09:01 - Dec 28
Quiet happy with where we are points wise but let's not beat around the bush( no pun intended), Wells and Hugill are proving why they're not premier league strikers at the moment. It may sound harsh but stone cold sitters are thier staple at the moment. Fix that and we'll fly up the league which as Clive pointed out is not a particularly good one!!
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Northernr added 12:06 - Dec 28
Myke, not often we disagree, but we do today.

On Hugill, a striker who doesn't score is always going to struggle for more than a 6 in our ratings, particularly in an overall team performance we rated somewhere between a 5 and a 6. IMHO the goalkeeper shouldn't even have been in the equation for the two in the second half, so a 5 is fair. Accept the point about lack of support.

On the Eze penalty, I don't know how anybody watches the other angle of this replay (which was the view the lino had) and still doesn't think it's a foul.

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kingfisher6404 added 14:27 - Dec 29
Thanks as ever Clive!
"Chalk it up lads. One of those nights. On another day exactly the same performance comes away with a three or four one win and we’re all singing everybody’s praises. " Definitely the case and partly due to BOTH strikers going through a bad patch at the same time... Would say that Eze did not look as productive in defending as earlier in the season, resulting in breaks by Reading or others having to assist. Needs a rest! (Look at how sharp Chair looked after his rest!!). We are doing OK for a team built on the cheap, but we do need to work harder at preventing crosses (Kane & Manning) and minimise 'switching off' (Hall & Cameron). Amazingly perhaps, but Barbet is being missed!
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