|Queens Park Rangers 3 v 0 Coventry City|
Friday, 2nd April 2021 Kick-off 15:00
A very Good Friday, QPR run riot against hapless Cov - Report
Sunday, 4th Apr 2021 11:40 by Clive Whittingham
QPR returned from the latest international break rested and in flying form on Good Friday, running riot against a dire Coventry side before declaring at 3-0.
Yoann Barbet to Charlie Austin, Charlie Austin to Ilias Chair, Ilias Chair to the rampaging man in the Lee Wallace costume, the rampaging man in the Lee Wallace costume to Chris Willock, header, post, net. One minute gone, one goal scored. A proper, all-singing, all-dancing, pass-and-move football goal the likes of which proper, all-singing, all-dancing, pass-and-move football teams score. Print it out for Joan.
No fluke either. Seven minutes in more wonderful football had Chair through in the left channel but his across-the-goal attempt was saved with his feet by Coventry keeper Marko Marosi. Then a brilliant through ball from Stefan Johansen got Willock in behind Cov’s woefully exposed back three but his touch back for Charlie Austin carried just too much muscle to be struck first time and the chance slipped away. Literally within seconds Osman Kakay, using all of that solid grounding he picked up in the “Scottish Second Division”, robbed his man high and crossed for Austin to score but for a fine save from Marosi again. Chair’s corner, Dickie’s header, saved under the bar. Austin’s glorious flick, Chair in on a tight angle, another save. That one is also sexual.
Queens Park Rangers have been playing well since Christmas, though whether they’ve played this well is up for debate. They’ve also faced some tired dross in a truncated Championship this season, though whether they’ve played anybody quite as inept as Coventry, two away wins all season and seemingly on a mission to give the ball away on the edge of their own box every time they had it, I have serious doubts. The combination of rested Rangers in flying form and calamitous Cov unable to find their own arse with both hands was electric for those of a hooped persuasion. Even the fear that we’d only made the early dominance pay with a single goal was quickly dissipated by a second, headed over his own goalkeeper and into the far corner by Scottish defender Michael Rose from Ilias Chair’s near post corner.
It was, it’s fair to say, not Rose’s day. He’d already been more guilty than most of losing the ball in lethal areas prior to scoring QPR’s second goal for them, and his day later came to a premature end when he caught one square in the gentleman’s area, took a full count from the referee, and then eventually surrendered to a substitution after a quick check down his shorts to make sure everything was still in order. Thoughts and prayers.
He wasn’t alone though. Even the usually excellent Gustavo Hamer spent much of this game just passing the ball straight back to QPR. Cov’s midfield were completely overpowered, over-awed and outclassed by a superb showing from Johansen and Sam Field in the centre of the park for Rangers. Every touch of Field’s took him cutely away from his man and into space, and once there he found a clever and well executed pass on every occasion. Johansen, meanwhile, was doing his best Ray Wilkins impression, with a string of beautifully executed through balls further exposing Coventry’s hopeless back three. Several visiting players looked like they needed a stomach pump before the half hour had even ticked by, particularly Julien Da Costa, certainly a lot more wing than back down the right-hand side without a defensive bone in his body or brain cell in his head and brutally exposed by the in-form Wallace and others whenever the ball went his way.
It’s a brave side that goes wing-back to wing-back against Warbs Warburton when his team is in this form, and Cov’s attempts to play Rangers at their own game turned into little more than an episode of knifey spoony. That’s not a press. That’s a press. Willock’s superb hold up play and back flick around the corner for Wallace to cross and Austin to head would have been an even better goal than the first but for a last-ditch clearance ahead of the QPR striker. Soon it was Austin getting Wallace in for the perfect cut back which the otherwise faultless Johansen somehow missed entirely. Chair robbed Rose before half time, carried the ball into the area and drew another save from another unfavourable angle.
Hamer’s-forty fifth minute strike straight at the goalkeeper from a free kick won by Godden, and an earlier brief panic from a corner nodded down at the back post, were not only Coventry’s only threats, they were really the only time they’d crossed the halfway line. A nice, relaxing return for Joe Lumley in goal, recalled with Seny Dieng late back from international duty with Senegal.
Any team would do well to maintain the pace, tempo, press, enthusiasm and total domination QPR had managed in the first half going for a full 90, and so it transpired that at the start of the second Coventry did come back into the game slightly while Rangers had a slack ten or 15 minutes. I thought it strange that Mark Robins had left out Callum O’Hare, so good in the first meeting between the teams and whenever else I’ve watched Cov this year, and his introduction as one of three subs did at least help them ease the pressure on an overworked defence. Sam Field’s big, strong block on McCallum’s cross shot on 50 was then bettered by Yoann Barbet’s ball-and-all clean out as another sub, Tyler Walker, got a look in for a shot.
A third goal settled all that back down, scored at last by the all-action Ilias Chair. He’d already gone through on goal for the umpteenth time in the game off another outstanding Johansen press and pass but been crowded out by the goalkeeper when he picked the ball up on halfway, ran most of the length of the Coventry half, and hit a low shot which Marosi rather hopelessly gloved into his wok. Has Bobby Gould resigned yet?
George Thomas, aged 24, Ferrari chassis, fantastic set of shelves and legs up to his arse. Muchos substitutions later, I'm in a cab with him. Marosi saving once from the Welshman off yet more Johansen approach work, then a second effort deflecting over as his desperation to score against his former club perhaps shone through a little bit too much. Don’t overlook Osman Kakay tracking all the way across to the other side of the pitch to put in a crunching tackle and interrupt one counter attack - £13.2m Sheff Utd bid incoming – nor Sam Field’s near post clearance on 72 after he’d come tearing back from midfield to help out, one of several occasions recently that he’s combined his stylish midfield work with graft in his own penalty area.
Rangers were perhaps lucky to escape when sub Dom Ball conceded possession exposing Geoff Cameron and the American fouled Josh Eccles right on the edge of the box when he looked to be running clean through on goal. Referee Jeremy Simpson quickly on the scene to end the debate about whether it would be a yellow or red card for Cameron by booking Ball instead. Well, yes. Gyokeres’ free kick beat the wall, and Lumley, and missed the bottom corner by a foot or so. Still time for Lumley to preserve his clean sheet with a nervy save from Eccles’ long ranger, and QPR sub Albert Adomah to bundle past three men and hit a powerful shot which Marosi only just about managed to tip away from under his own crossbar.
It could, perhaps should, have been many, many more. More three for nil declared than three nil. QPR now W4 D3 L0 when playing after a break of eight days or more this season – I’m starting to think if the Championship gave you a week off between games we’d win the bloody thing with 100 points.
QPR: Lumley 6; Dickie 8, Cameron 7, Barbet 7; Kakay 7, Field 8, Johansen 8 (Ball 83, -), Chair 8 (Adomah 76, 6), Wallace 8 (Kelman 83, -); Austin 7 (Dykes 66, 6), Willock 7 (Thomas 66, 6)
Subs not used: Kane, Bonne, Dieng, Bettache
Goals: Willock 1 (assisted Wallace), Rose og 22 (assisted Chair), Chair 68 (unassisted)
Bookings: Ball 84 (mistaken identity)
Coventry: Marosi 5; Rose 3 (Pask 66, 5), Ostigard 5, Hyam 5; Da Costa 3, Hamer 5 (Eccles 77, 5), James 6, McCallum 5; Allen 5 (O’Hare 58, 6), Godden 5 (Gyokeres 58, 5), Shipley 5 (Walker 58, 5)
Subs not used: Kelly, Wilson, Bakayoko
QPR Star Man – Stefan Johansen 8 A whole load of candidates for this one this week, but Johansen just looked a cut above everything else on the field to me. Ray Wilkins-style passing in behind an exposed defence created six goalscoring opportunities for team mates. A classy combination with Sam Field.
Referee – Jeremy Simpson (Lancashire) 6 Very little to referee in a completely uncompetitive game. Couple of flashes of the pedantry we’ve come to know him for, stopping the game because a second football had blown onto the field miles and miles away from where the play was taking place. Seemed to book the wrong man for the Geoff Cameron foul at the end.
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