|Queens Park Rangers 1 v 1 Nottingham Forest|
Friday, 29th October 2021 Kick-off 19:45
Just that sort of a week - Report
Sunday, 31st Oct 2021 10:23 by Clive Whittingham
For injury time heartbreak for QPR on Friday night as Jack Colback scored for the first time in two-and-a-half years to equalise at the death for Nottingham Forest.
Sometimes it’s just one of those weeks.
Queens Park Rangers, beaten in injury time at Peterborough last Saturday, brutally cheated out of a first league Cup quarter final since 1988 on Tuesday, now carrying a morale boosting 1-0 lead into time added on against Nottingham Forest on Friday but destined not to see it through. A desperate defensive clearance landed with Jack Colback, who hadn’t scored a goal of any description since March 2019, and his first touch sat it up perfectly for a speculative long ranger which Seny Dieng would surely have saved but for Jimmy Dunne trying to block the ball himself and inadvertently diverting it into his own bottom corner. Nobody could argue it wasn’t a fair result, that Forest weren’t good value for their draw, but to come so close and suffer such disappointment again was sick. Rangers have now conceded last minute goals in five of their last ten games at a cost of five points.
Given there were only three Championship teams left in the League Cup at the round of the last 16 during the week, one would have thought it fairly easy and sensible for the division’s host broadcaster not to make any of them back up with another game on the Friday. QPR’s next eight matches are all live or on the red button and they’ve been selected as the main game ten times already this season. By Christmas Sky subscribers will have been able to watch 15 of Rangers’ 23 matches, and there are cruel Monday night trips to Derby and Sheffield to come in short order. Play-off rivals Luton, by comparison, will have been on twice. Between October 2 against Preston and January 15 Rangers play on a Saturday at 15.00 at Loftus Road once (Swansea, December 18) and given the January date is high-flying West Brom at home the cunts will no doubt want that for some new Tuesday breakfast slot they’ve created to try and shave some audience of Channel 4’s Everybody Loves Raymond repeats. As we enter November, we still haven’t been deemed worthy of hearing what their plans are for our Christmas, when Sky use the Championship to try and cockblock Amazon’s Premier League picks, and given we’ve got Bournemouth here on Boxing Day one dreads to think what’s coming there. This one could, should, have been left well alone, but, alas.
Don’t underestimate the effect it has out on the pitch. I’m not talking about the ‘poor old QPR’ routine where we talk about how we never seem to win on the television (Rangers had lost 20 of their previous 22 Friday night games prior to the start of play) but tangible, practical stuff. Asked to play on Friday after the Tuesday, Jordy De Wijs lasted half an hour before he had to be replaced by Jimmy Dunne. Attempts to nurse Sam McCallum’s long standing hamstring injury through seven games in 21 days finally blew up on 26 minutes when he got back to stop Brennan Johnson on the byline but then collapsed in a heap with Moses Odubajo summoned from the bench. Shorn of their subs, QPR wilted late in the day, with Lyndon Dykes playing on one leg and leaving the ground in a protective cast. Take your boots to Cardiff on Wednesday and you too might get a game. This division and its fans are trapped in an abusive relationship with Sky – wholly reliant on and addicted to its money, but being treated like absolutely shite as a result.
It had felt like one of those weeks from the moment Siriki Dembele went screaming through on goal in injury time at London Road last Saturday. It certainly appeared to be one of those nights here right from the very first whistle. There was the Remembrance Day silence and playing of The Last Post, which, thanks to football’s mawkish obsession with this, or perhaps more accurately fear of backlash if it’s in any way seen not to be paying enough respect, we now do on October 29. Then there was the whistle and the kick off, except that some of the players had kicked off, and some of the players, and the referee, had taken a knee. Confusion reigned, and within it the kick-off had already been retaken with some players still on the ground and most of the others wondering what the hell was going on. Literally within ten seconds QPR had given the ball away, Forest had marauded through, Albert Adomah had chucked himself at preventing the opening goal, he was injured, the physio was on, and the game was stopped again. If you needed a metaphor and microcosm of how entangled football is getting itself with gesture politics and culture wars then this was surely it.
The first half an hour was pretty much all about the visitors and their electric 20-year-old forward Brennan Johnson. He was constantly into the space behind Yoann Barbet, with huge overlaps behind McCallum, and probably should have done more than simply win a corner on seven minutes from one of those situations. Forest, who didn’t play midweek, looked more confident and energetic than a leggy home team, epitomised when Seny Dieng was almost caught dawdling over a pass back on 12 minutes. Soon Johnson was muscling past Barbet into the area and then hitting the deck under clumsy contact that I’d have wanted a penalty for – referee Andy Davies said no – and Joe Lolley was trying his luck from distance and drawing a camera save from Dieng up in the top corner. McCallum’s injury came recovering another Johnson break after a questionable non-offside decision and when the brilliant youngster got in behind again it was only a desperate one handed save from Dieng and improvised clearance from Albert Adomah that almost went in off Rob Dickie and only missed the bottom corner by inches even without that which prevented a score.
The main, nee only, positive for QPR at this point was that Forest hadn’t scored, but then things started to happen a little bit for the home team. Albert Adomah took matters into his own hands, first with some lovely flicks and tricks to win a dangerous free kick, then with a brilliant cut back from the byline off a glorious Stefan Johansen switch ball which Dykes almost seized upon at the near post. These moments brought a previously morose home crowd into proceedings for the first time. It’s a hell of a weapon to have in these circumstances – somebody who wants the ball even when things aren’t going well, somebody who isn’t going to hide, somebody who can produce moments of skill and magic that get people excited, off their seats and into the atmosphere. It’s not much of an exaggeration to say he dragged QPR into this game by himself and in an extended period of first half stoppage time because of the two injuries he ran onto an Odubajo through ball in the left channel, worked space for himself brilliantly with a chop and scoop back, and then stood a cross up to the far post so exquisite that he’d already turned away to the Ellerslie Road stand to begin the celebrations even before Lyndon Dykes had powered in at the far post to open the scoring against the run of play. God love you Albert, exactly the right man at exactly the right time, perfect for this situation, and QPR led at the break.
At times to begin the second half the overlaps either side of QPR’s back three were so severe I had to keep counting to make sure we weren’t playing with ten men. Johnson giving Adomah a taste of his own medicine out on the far touchline then allowed him to charge unchallenged to the heart of the penalty box but his shot only found the side netting. Lolley’s 25 yarder was always arcing away from Dieng, but thankfully also the post as the keeper launched himself full stretch to try in vain to reach it. But as time ticked on, confidence seemed to grow in the home ranks. Stefan Johansen looked much more like his old self - pressing effectively higher up the field, intercepting possession and using the ball intelligently – which he inevitably will do when we don’t ask him to form the entire midfield by himself. The removal of the second striker, and addition of the tidy Dozzell, freed the Norwegian up to be much more 2020/21 Johansen, and QPR reaped the benefits of that. His ball through to Dykes on 68 should have been struck towards goal before Djed Spence emerged from nowhere with a superb block tackle. Earlier Dykes and Chair’s lively combination had put the Scotsralian through on an angle and Samba sprung from his line to save excellently. A cross into the six-yard box would have resulted in a goal for Willock had he anticipated and gambled, but flat on his heels he kneed it straight to the keeper.
The press was good, and effective, but it needed a second goal desperately to see the job through. Even with the addition of Luke Amos, QPR were absolute baggage through the final ten minutes. Dykes, who could barely move, headed an increasingly long list of players you’d have subbed off in an ideal world. Johansen was down with cramp, his WWE body slam on Alex Mighten over on the far touchline for a thick yellow card betrayed how spent he was. It wasn’t like Forest were penetrating too often, though sub Loyal Taylor’s improvised backheel tight to the South Africa Road touchline set up an enormous overload which Odubajo rescued brilliantly at the back post. When the stoppage time board flashed a four into the gloom it became hard to suppress the belief we might drag this one over the line after all. Alas, it’s more a headless horseman than a fourth official at QPR games these days, the blinking lights a harbinger of doom to come. Given that Forest scored twice in stoppage time at Bristol City last week, there was still three minutes to play after Colback equalised, and Rangers looked like somebody had just shot their dog in front of them, perhaps we should be grateful we didn’t end up losing the bloody thing altogether. Difficult to be anything other than gutted having got so close though.
Not quite. Not this time. And certainly not this bloody week.
QPR: Dieng 6; Adomah 8, Dickie 7, De Wijs 6 (Dunne 36, 6), Barbet 6, McCallum 6 (Odubajo 26, 6); Johanson 7, Dozzell 7, Chair 6 (Amos 78, 6); Willock 6, Dykes 6
Subs not used: Austin, Ball, Archer, Gray
Goals: Dykes 45+5 (assisted Adomah)
Bookings: Dozzell 44 (foul), Johansen 83 (body slam)
Forest: Samba 7; Spence 7, Worrall 6, Figueiredo 6 (Mighten 61, 7), McKenna 6; Lowe 6; Yates 6, Colback 7, Lolley 7 (Zinckernagel 67, 6); Johnson 8, Grabban 6 (Taylor 61, 7)
Subs not used: Horvath, Bong, Ojeda, Garner
Bookings: Worrall (foul)
Goals: Colback 90+1 (unassisted)
QPR Star Man – Albert Adomah 8 Again, not a difficult decision, though Stefan Johanson benefited enormously from having some support in midfield and looked much more like his old self second half, and Andre Dozzell had his best game for the club.
Referee – Andy Davies (Hampshire) 6 I suspect if this was a Forest website I’d be giving him a four and talking about two first half penalty appeals. On those, I’d certainly have wanted the first one, for Barbet on Johnson, but having won the ball in the first place by shoulder charging (legally) the French centre back I guess the referee felt Johnson then went to ground a little easily when the same was done back to him. I’d have certainly wanted it. The Spence and Adomah one far less so. Overall a vast improvement on some of the nonsense we’ve seen in our games lately.
Attendance 15,089 (3,000 Forest) Great following from Nottingham, perhaps buoyed by the news that EMR had agreed to kindly hold the 22.30 train to allow them some time to scoot round the Hammersmith and City Line to catch it. A rare moment of common sense and joined up thinking on our extortionately expensive and shambolically run railways. Except… they then forgot to do it. Remember kids, football without fans is nothing. Still, at least we’re inside two months to our next Saturday 3pm at home though now.
Pictures – Action Images
The Twitter @loftforwords
Please report offensive, libellous or inappropriate posts by using the links provided.
You need to login in order to post your comments
Blogs 31 bloggers
When Saturday Comes #17 by wessex_exile
Honestly dahling, playing on a Saturday is so passé these days. Yep, When Saturday Comes and yet again we’re not playing on a Saturday afternoon, meeting the 2013 FA Cup winners Wigan Athletic at the dreadfully uncivilised kick-off time of Sunday lunchtime at 12.30pm. Mind you, the only one of our six games in November that we lost, the Stevenage horror show, was also the only one played on a Saturday afternoon, so maybe I shouldn’t complain too much about rearranged kick-offs? If our improved performances avoiding Saturday afternoon continues into December, I certainly won’t be complaining, with five of our seven scheduled matches also on days other than a Saturday.
When Saturday Comes #16 by wessex_exile
When Saturday Comes, and this time instead of an international break we played yesterday evening, and now have the luxury of sitting back and seeing what’s going to happen around us in the league table. A gritty display last night saw the U’s fight back from a being a goal down, with Freddy netting his 8th of the season, helped in no small measure by an inch-perfect through ball from Alan Judge. Whisper it, but with (at least) 30 competitive matches to go to the end of the season, Freddy’s average of 0.4 goals per game would actually see him reach that mythical ’20 goals per season’ figure – not bad for an Ipswich reject 😊.
When Saturday Comes #15 by wessex_exile
When Saturday Comes, and finally the U’s return to the league programme after what seems an age as a result of our international break. The Forest Green match has been rearranged for 21st December, the last Tuesday before Xmas, and it will no doubt be a chilly night on top of the hill overlooking Nailsworth. Originally billed as a 7pm kick-off, it seems to have been pushed back to 7.45pm now – better make sure before I set off on the short drive for that one. Talking of short drives, bravo to our U18s winning 2-0 at Swindon in the FA Youth Cup midweek, to set up a mouth-watering home tie against Arsenal in the 3rd Round.
When Saturday Comes #14 by wessex_exile
This week, When Saturday Comes the U’s find themselves on an international break and a weekend off for the WAGs to get in some Christmas shopping. Just as well too, given the U’s have inconsiderately eased past AFC Sudbury to deny them the customary FA Cup Second Round break in December to do likewise. We wait to hear who our opponent will be at the JobServe – it’ll be either top of League One Wigan Athletic or Cameron Coxe’s National League parent club Solihull Moors, who replay at Damson Park on Tuesday evening. Incidentally, Solihull Moors may be part of history being made today, with their match at Meadow Lane already expected to easily top 10,000, and may break the record attendance for that league, which currently stands at 11,083 when Bristol Rovers faced Alfreton Town in 2015.
When Saturday Comes #13 by wessex_exile
When Saturday Comes…will we still be in the FA Cup? I heard somewhere during the week that the U’s have been eliminated from the FA Cup by non-league opposition more times than any other league club! Remarkable really when you consider that many non-U’s associate Colchester United with the greatest FA Cup giant-killing of all time. Following tonight, we travel to Portman Road on Tuesday night to see if we can stay in the Pizza Slice Trophy. Regardless that it is a much-maligned competition these days, surely that’s motivation enough for our tractor boy contingent?
Queens Park Rangers Polls
[ Vote here ]