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Lessons unheeded, QPR down to ten and beaten at home again — full match report
Lessons unheeded, QPR down to ten and beaten at home again — full match report
Sunday, 26th Feb 2012 22:57 by Clive Whittingham

For the third time in four home league games QPR had a man sent off in the first half on their way to a damaging defeat. On Saturday Fulham were the beneficiaries of Rangers’ chronic stupidity.

Premier League football module 1.1:

1.1.1 – Chances to score are hard to come by. You must be clinical and ruthless in front of goal.

1.1.2 – Possession of the ball should be treasured. Without it teams will hurt you at will.

1.1.3 – Premiership teams are difficult enough to play against with 11 men, pick up early red cards at your peril.

Queens Park Rangers are a lousy pupil. They’re the boy who sits at the back of the class talking about all the fantastic things he’s going to do when he grows up while ignoring the teacher and firing bits of rolled up inky paper at other kids through a biro tube.

They’re the lad that has teachers nipping off to the supply closet for a mental breakdown because despite being told something five, six or seven times he still returns only a blank look when questioned on it later. “What have we said about red cards in the first half of Premiership games class?” “Don’t know miss, remind us again.”

Following the dreadful performance at Blackburn Mark Hughes took the class away on a field trip to Portugal last week, proving once again just how different football is to any other walk of life where poor performance tends to result in punishments and sanctions rather than weeks in the sun. On this evidence that trip, no doubt made at great expense, achieved absolutely nothing. Nothing.

After five minutes Fulham striker Andy Johnson, a man QPR fans turn their noses up at whenever his name is linked with our club but whose work rate and movement in this game was a cut above anything offered by those in Hoops, had the ball in the net with a fine header from a John Arne Riise cross but was half a yard offside. After seven minutes Fulham were allowed to play two passes through the centre of the field unchallenged which created an opportunity for the excellent Moussa Dembele to trick his way into space on the edge of the area and brilliantly find Pavel Pogrebnyak who made it two goals in as many English league games with a cool finish past Paddy Kenny. After ten minutes a simple ball in behind the defence from Bryan Ruiz who had left Barton for dead carved QPR apart again and Clint Dempsey fired a foot wide of the bottom corner.

Two weeks to prepare a team for the game, two more weeks of players and management talking about how hard they’re working and how great the training is and how important the games are to them, and QPR were, if anything, even more shambolic than they had been at Ewood Park. There they were three nil down by half time, here they could easily have been three behind with the time in single figures.

Hughes had returned Clint Hill to the heart of the defence alongside Anton Ferdinand with Nedum Onuoha at right back and Taye Taiwo on the left and while Hill did himself credit with his performance the defence as a whole was a disaster zone. Never once did Rangers look capable of dealing with Johnson’s movement or Dembele’s ability.

In midfield QPR had hoped that Mali international Samba Diakite would bring the strength and muscle so sorely lacking from our team so far this season. Diakite started alongside Joey Barton with Adel Taarabt left and Shaun Wright-Phillips on the right, a set up that became a five with striker Jamie Mackie dropping back whenever Fulham had the ball, but sadly turned out to be more mentalist than messiah. With the ball he looked promising, without it he looked like somebody who’d recently escaped from a secure unit of some kind. Somewhere out there are two Malian doctors in white coats walking around with a laden syringe looking for this guy. The gratuitous violence he unleashed on an unsuspecting Fulham side in the 32 minutes he managed to stay on the pitch for actually had me feeling sorry for referee Phil Dowd. Never before has an official tried so hard to keep a man on the pitch, rarely has a referee been left with so little choice but to produce a red card by the player. It was mindblowing to watch.

Up front, with Mackie when in possession and alone when Fulham had the ball, was Bobby Zamora against his former club. He must be wondering what on earth he’s done. Seeing the performances of Zamora and Pogrebnyak up close the 3,000 Fulham fans in attendance must have wondered why on earth they were so bothered about the deadline day switch.

To be fair, despite the Fulham goal and two other excellent chances, the opening stages were far from one way. In a frantic opening QPR were able to worry Fulham out of possession in their own half with Joey Barton starting the game like a whirling dervish and twice winning the ball back in the Fulham half to allow Taarabt to get away a weak shot on goal, hindered somewhat by an attempt to hack him down by Danny Murphy. Then more hard work, by Wright-Phillips this time, drew another foul from Murphy which did result in a free kick – Barton passed short to Taiwo who cracked a shot from range but missed the target.

But on the rare occasions the Fulham defence, marshalled calmly and with real authority by Brede Hangeland, did appear to be in trouble QPR could only fire weak shots straight at Mark Schwarzer. Fulham were much more clinical with theirs at the School End, the only blot on the copy book being the yellow card for Pogrebnyak for diving into the crowd to celebrate that opening goal.

The goal did little to calm the frantic tempo of the encounter. Barton and Jamie Mackie combined for the latter to drag a shot wide of the post, then within 60 seconds Pogrebnyak was in behind the QPR defence again and forced a save from Kenny with a shot from a narrow angle. Two weeks to prepare for this game, and Rangers were running an offside trap like a rusty drawbridge.

On the quarter hour a weak pass out of defence from Danny Murphy went straight to Diakite who released Taarabt but his shot the edge of the area was weak, scuffed and straight at Schwarzer. Four minutes later the Moroccan repeated the trick, unable to test the veteran Australian goalkeeper with a dazy cutter along the ground – Schwarzer may have found himself with a stiff back this morning given the amount of times he had to bend down and collect a tame shot rolling straight to his feet.

The other developing theme in the game was Diakite. He’d already committed three fouls that were worthy of yellow cards in their own right before he finally did pick up a booking from Phil Dowd in the nineteenth minute for hacking first into Dembele and then into poor Bryan Ruiz who was little more than a punching bag for the Malian in the first half an hour of this game. Diakite apparently doesn’t speak much English – perhaps “stay on your feet you pillock” should be the first phrase he is taught.

The only thing I will say in Diakite’s defence is that Danny Murphy conceded four free kicks in the first 20 minutes, and six overall on the day, and wasn’t even spoken to by referee Dowd. The fourth came immediately after Diakite’s first booking and resulted in a free kick that Taiwo his straight at the keeper.

QPR haven’t scored a goal against Fulham since sealing the Second Division title with a 3-1 win on this ground against them in 1983 – five meetings have taken place in the meantime. Had either Bobby Zamora or Adel Taarabt found the net at the midway point of the half then they would have found the flag had long since been raised against them but how they failed to do so only they will know. Shaun Wright-Phillips hit a low shot from 25 yards out that Schwarzer should have held but recovered with an unlikely save to deny Zamora at point blank range and Taarabt then bobbled the second rebound wide of the open goal.

That did seem to inspire the Hoops though. Soon after Jamie Mackie’s swashbuckling running style carried him to the byline but nobody had shown the initiative to get into the penalty box and tap home the cut back. Then Taarabt drilled a low long range shot wide of the post.

At the other end another Diakite foul allowed Ruiz to find Dempsey with a well delivered free kick but Onuoha denied the American a sight of goal and just about bundled the ball out for a corner, missing an own goal by no more than a foot. Kenny saved well from Murphy in Fulham’s next attack.

Now one of the criticisms that is coming up time and again with QPR at the moment is a lack of leadership, talking on the field and people taking responsibility. The responsibility for what happened next lies solely at the feet of Diakite who showed stupidity on a level I can scarcely remember by continuing to fly into ridiculous challenges he had no chance of winning until - three fouls, a final warning from Phil Dowd and ten minutes since his first booking – he wildly chopped down Ruiz at the knee for a final time and was sent off. But I’d also question where the leadership and talking was as well.

Our club captain Joey Barton spent much of the first 30 minutes berating Adel Taarabt for reasons known only to the pair of them, but I never once saw him go to Diakite and attempt to explain to him that he was going to get himself into serious trouble. Diakite is a professional footballer and shouldn’t need telling, but it wouldn’t have hurt to break off from the unjustified Taarabt persecution for a minute and try.

In addition given that everybody in the stadium, certainly everybody sitting near me, were unanimously in agreement that it would be a miracle if Diakite made it to half time why didn’t Mark Hughes act? Earlier this season Jonathan Woodgate conceded a penalty while playing for Stoke at Wolves and escaped what should have been a sending off after previously being booked – Tony Pulis substituted him after 19 minutes to prevent the team going down to ten men and that’s exactly what should have happened to Diakite here.

The definition of insanity is repeating the same action and expecting a different result. This is the fifth time this season at Loftus Road, and the third time in the first half of a home game, QPR have gone down to ten men and they have taken just one point from a possible 15 with a numerical disadvantage. Still, Diakite got a round of applause as he left the field from some of the more easily pleased supporters in the South Africa Road stand. At most clubs costing your team the match earns you a bit of grief, at Loftus Road you get a round of applause for it. If I spent Saturday afternoons setting fire to my own flesh I don’t think it would be as agonising as this.

Still, at least QPR have had plenty of practice at playing with ten. The early signs were promising when an unusually purposeful and well executed passing move ended with Onuoha crossing for Barton to volley over after arriving late in the penalty box. But Fulham had looked a more accomplished side than QPR before the red card and having seen the game through to half time they then cruised through the second half in third gear, rarely troubled by their hosts.

The second period initially started much like the first with basketball style tit for tat attacking moves. Ruiz ran in behind the QPR defence and rounded Paddy Kenny before being crowded out of the chance, and then Taarabt unleashed another low shot straight at Schwarzer. He shot over in the next attack and Fulham went straight to the Loft End and did likewise through Pogrebnyak. Martin Jol’s men, as they do most seasons, have the division’s worst away record this term with only one road win at Wigan in October to their names. You’d never guess that looking at them here, although as Craven Cottage is only two miles away and Fulham actually played at Loftus Road for two seasons while their own ground was developed perhaps that’s understandable.

Clint Hill and then Taye Taiwo both headed Joey Barton corners off target as the hour mark approached. The second set piece came after Shaun Wright-Phillips had actually run past three men but he was poor again here in general.

Fulham seldom threatened in the second half, happy to hold what they already had, but Clint Dempsey got a volleyed shot away on the hour after being given time and space on the corner of the penalty box to chest down a throw in and turn to face Paddy Kenny. Joey Barton responded with a shot of his own deflected wide.

QPR went close to an equaliser twice in identical circumstances either side of the midway point of the half. First Aaron Hughes was fortunate not to turn the ball into his own net after Dowd had played advantage through a foul on Shaun Wright-Phillips and Nedum Onuoha had crossed. Dembele was retrospectively booked for that foul, and John Arne Riise also saw yellow five minutes later for a late chop on Barton which had again been initially waved as play on so that Taarabt could feed Mackie into the penalty area but he dragged a low shot across the face of the goal and out.

Phil Dowd certainly isn’t my favourite referee, but I thought he had a good game here apart from the free license he gave Danny Murphy and one obvious piece of poor officiating 18 minutes from time. Having just been booked Moussa Dembele cynically and deliberately dragged back Joey Barton after the midfielder had gone past him. It was an obvious second yellow card but Dowd, who to be fair had tried hard to give Diakite the benefit of the doubt for a long time, only awarded a free kick. Then, ten minutes later, he booked substitute Chris Baird for a foul on Bobby Zamora where the contact appeared to be minimal if it existed at all.

When play restarted Barton planted the set piece straight into the Fulham fans behind the goal without a bounce. This, and a later sitter missed by Wright-Phillips from six yards out after an exquisite through ball from Taarabt, brought about the first genuinely audible sounds of anger towards two of QPR’s most high profile players. Neither Barton nor Wright-Phillips have been as bad as people have made out since they came to the club in my opinion, but neither has ever been anywhere close to the players they can be. They’re playing within themselves, and the fans know it, so they’re always likely to be given a harder time than the likes of Clint Hill and Jamie Mackie who have limited ability but never play anything less than 100% of their best.

On Saturday Barton worked incredibly hard, and neither he nor Wright-Phillips ever hide from the ball however badly they’re playing. Barton also made more tackles in this game than anybody else in the Premier League at the weekend I’m told by the stats people. That said, both players continue to fail to complete even the most basic task. This free kick typified Barton – a simple long set piece into the heart of the penalty area and he overcooked it by 15 yards. He can be so, so, so much better than he is currently showing and taking to Twitter later in the day to talk about what a great Saturday night out he was having was tactless and provocative in my opinion. As it stands he’s mediocre at best as a footballer, and failing miserably as a captain. Wright-Phillips can’t stand up for falling down at the moment and was replaced by Buzsaky immediately after his sitter.

Martin Jol then engaged in a spot of clock running with Baird sent on for Danny Muprhy, Damien Duff for Bryan Ruiz and Dickson Etuhu for Andy Johnson – three substitutions in ten minutes which disrupted the game and killed any momentum QPR may have been able to build up in that period. Intelligent management. QPR for their part lost Taye Taiwo to injury and replaced him with Armand Traore.

I suspect Etuhu was sent on with instructions to secure the midfield area but he almost scored a rare goal a minute from time when the QPR defence did its very best Red Sea impression and allowed him to storm right down the centre of the pitch unchallenged before firing wide. Any other Fulham player probably would have scored. A push for an equaliser in four minutes of injury time at the end of the game never materialised, in fact Nedum Onuoha had to block a shot from Moussa Dembele to make sure the scoreline didn’t get any worse.

This was a big day for Mark Hughes against his former club, and his reaction to Martin Jol’s sympathies at the full time whistle betrayed how angry he was with the outcome of it.

In my opinion he has to shoulder a good deal of the blame for the outcome – he threw Diakite straight into a Premiership game and then didn’t hook him off after the first yellow card when it was blatantly obvious what was coming. He also set the team up to drop into a 4-5-1, or 4-1-4-1, formation when it didn’t have the ball but this merely allowed Fulham to play the ball out from the back through Hangeland and Murphy which is exactly what they like to do. Instead of falling back into a right wing position to defend Jamie Mackie should have been 20 yards further forward and more centrally positioned, nibbling at Murphy and not allowing him time to pick QPR apart. In addition the defence, after two weeks of being worked on y the coaching staff, was a shambolic mess for the first half.

But Hughes can only do so much. When the players cross the white line it’s all on them. Hughes didn’t make Shaun Wright-Phillips miss from six yard out, or Samba Diakite behave like a rabid dog, or Joey Barton plonk attacking set pieces straight into the front row of the stand. I keep saying QPR are a lethal combination of not very good and not very lucky, here they were even worse - not very good and absolutely braindead.

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QPR: Kenny 6, Onuoha 6, Ferdinand 6, Hill 7, Taiwo 5 (Traore 72, 6), Diakite 5, Barton 6, Wright-Phillips 5 (Buzsaky 83, -), Mackie 6, Taarabt 7, Zamora 6

Subs Not Used: Cerny, Derry, Gabbidon, Bothroyd, Smith

Sent Off: Diakite 33 (two yellows)

Booked: Diakite (repetitive fouling), Diakite (repetitive fouling)

Fulham: Schwarzer 7, Kelly 6, Hughes 7, Hangeland 8, Riise 6, Ruiz 6 (Duff 78, -), Murphy 7 (Baird 74, 6), Dembele 8, Dempsey 7, Pogrebnyak 7, Johnson 7 (Etuhu 81, -)

Subs Not Used: Stockdale, Orlando Sa, Senderos, Frei

Booked: Pogrebnyak (over celebrating), Dembele (foul), Riise (foul), Baird (foul)

Goals: Pogrebnyak 7 (assisted Dembele)

QPR Star Man – Adel Taarabt 7 A toss up between him and Clint Hill for me – once again it’s the players from our Championship winning team showing up and putting the more high profile names and signings to shame. I’ve gone for Taarabt because firstly while Hill played well and dominated Pogrebnyak in the air he was part of a very rickety looking defence in general. Which leaves Taarabt who is quite often the only person showing up and demanding the ball, the only person who wants to get into possession and make things happen. He was greedy at times, and his shooting was poor, but he created our two best chances as well for first Mackie and then later Wright-Phillips.

Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire) 8 Absolutely no choice whatsoever with the Diakite sending off, and actually seemed to do his best for the lad by giving him more warnings and let offs than he probably deserved. That said, Murphy fouled repetitively without ever getting a talking to and Dembele was very fortunate not to be sent off in the second half. No real complaints though, the game was well refereed.

Attendance: 18, 015 (3,000 Fulham approximately) A quiet atmosphere for a local derby, tempered of course by an early Fulham goal and QPR sending off that had the home fans settling in for a repeat of the Norwich and Wolves home defeats.

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Myke added 00:16 - Feb 27
Very good report Clive, very accurate. I agree 100% that Hughes should have pulled Diakite long before he was sent off. Maybe you're a tad harsh on the lad himself. Remember your first day at a new job - how eager you were to impress. Think we all try a little to hard on the first day and I believe the prem was just too quick for him. Wouldn't give up on him yet if he can adust, as he looked decent in possession

qprdan added 00:19 - Feb 27
I said to my mate that came round to watch the game with me that we look less likely to win the Everton and Wolves away games now i.e. we seem to have gone backwards. Interesting that the Championship players are standing out, thought Mackie did well too, would have liked to see Smith get on when Dikite got sent off, but what do us fans know hey!!. On to the next one then..Maybe Cisse is truly regretful and will keep us up, thought he was lively against Wolves before stupidity took over..

18StoneOfHoop added 01:07 - Feb 27
Clive's imaginative metaphores once again hitting the bleeding nail on the head.
A bunch of disorganised unruly recalcitrant recidivist non-adaptive braindead kids? Yeah that's about right. Could give the Everton match the swerve next Saturday and stay indoors instead flaming a lighter under my wrists for kicks..possibly less agonising.. hmmm?
It's not much fun at the mo, is it?

Where do we go from here? Is it down to the lake I fear?

MelakaRanger added 01:17 - Feb 27
We are not being 'beaten' by other teams, we are simply beating ourselves in every match. Its self destruction on an unbelieveably massive scale.

Yesterday Arsenal were 2 down. Did they give up? NO Did they lack leadership ? NO Did they come back and win ? YES

Ever since Barton was made Captain we have been leaderless on the pitch. He is a poison that has steadily infected the whole team. As the season has progressed then the infection has spread.

And SWP has been the biggest waste of money QPR have ever spent - and thats saying something!

Without these two players we may well have been in a better position than we find ourselves now. In fcat I am sure we would be - albeit maybe only one or two positions - but that would be enough to avoid relegation

All the time we have these two players as part of our starting line up we are never going to get any better.

In a way relegation would be putting us out of our misery as this would surely mean that Barton & SWP would be out of the door within days. Then we can take our time and go about building a proper team with an inspirational leader/captain during the summer.


Nov77 added 01:25 - Feb 27
SWP's effort was saved, poor bloke didn't even get a corner, if it wasn't for bad luck he'd have no luck at all. As you say, Barton and SWP never hide and are probably on the ball more than anyone bar Adel. Insane the amount of stick they are getting, anyone who thinks Derry and buz would come in and do better is deluded.
Since faurlin got injured Barton is having to play centre mid virtually on his own, you may not like him personally but I don't see how you could fault his effort or commitment.

Nov77 added 01:28 - Feb 27
SWP's effort was saved, poor bloke didn't even get a corner, if it wasn't for bad luck he'd have no luck at all. As you say, Barton and SWP never hide and are probably on the ball more than anyone bar Adel. Insane the amount of stick they are getting, anyone who thinks Derry and buz would come in and do better is deluded.
Since faurlin got injured Barton is having to play centre mid virtually on his own, you may not like him personally but I don't see how you could fault his effort or commitment.

qprmick added 04:13 - Feb 27
Barton and SWP put in a ton of effort, SWP without much luck, be interesting to see what the fans who don't like these two would do. Derry and Buzsaky, Traore?? There are not many options and neither should there be, too late to spend multi millions on replacements. Barton and SWP do it for me but with a little more thought and composure.

isawqpratwcity added 05:53 - Feb 27
Great report, as ever, Clive, thank you.

Stop making fresh work for yourself: we seem to make the same mistakes each week, so don't change the copy, just the headline!

I don't hold any player completely to blame, though almost all could do a hell of a lot better. I despair for MH and NW before him wondering how to motivate this team, to give them the confidence to play at the level of skill so many are capable of but not showing at the moment. Crack that in the next few games and this season isn't lost. Otherwise its business as usual and hello Championship.

QPRski added 07:48 - Feb 27
Fully agree with the introduction. We all know what we should do - but the team really seem to be misbehaving like a spoiled child. I admit it is painful to watch on a web-feed and live it probably heartbreaking.

I am disapointed with the Diakite double yellow card and agree that MH should have seen it coming and could have (should have ) taken him off.

I am pleased that MH believes QPR will survive, but to achieve this they really will need to score goals and take points until the end of the seasons. Time to perform is really running out fast.

DesertBoot added 08:05 - Feb 27
I look at our run-in and I shudder. Fulham could gave had this wrapped up inside ten minutes.
Nov77 - SWP should have buried that chance. It was an easy one, corner or otherwise.
Zamora looked isolated which didn't help and I can only assume Traore isn't 100% fit as he is much better than Taiwo.

N12Hoop added 09:05 - Feb 27
When 18,000 people could see Diakite was going to be lucky to make it until half time, why couldn't MH? Big error on his part, and he's meant to be more tactically astute than NW. .
When we failed to sign Wayne Routledge I was not disappointed since I did not think he was Premier standard. I don't feel differently now, but at least he had a tendancy to burst through defences. Has SWP ever done that for us? Traore is more likely to do it than SWP. He may never hide, and he seems to get an awful lot of the ball, but he never causes problems for the opposition.
Despite his poor shooting, Taarabt comes out of the game with some credit given he appears to be the only person capable of creating something.
Mackie and Barton were sniping at each other. That's the 2nd time i've seen that in 2 games. Team spirit is clearly lacking with Barton seemingly a big factor here.
How we miss a younger Shaun Derry, ie someone who gives his all and leads those around him. We lack a driving force in the middle of the park. Hill and mackie both have the right attitude, but none are in the position to influence a game.
Finally, fulham are not a good side but for half hr we made them look very good. I think this tells us how 'good' we actually are, ie not very! The Champs beckons.

WokingR added 09:08 - Feb 27
Cant help thinking the SWP miss was the turning point of the season.
If we had gone on to take a point with only 10 men the confidence boost would have been enormous.
As it is, we are now circling the plug hole with fading hope of escape

Still, looking on the bright side, our season tickets may be cheaper next year.

collegeranger added 09:24 - Feb 27
I assume Diakite is a French speaker - surely we had others on the field that speak French!! And should have told him to stay on his feet and be careful - Adel ? Traore on the bench?

adhoc_qpr added 09:28 - Feb 27
I was one of those who thought Warnock had lost the dressing room and replacing him with Hughes should improve things - i admit i was completely wrong!

No manager in the world could do anything with these players - yes Hughes should have subbed Diakite but this is a guy who gets paid (i suspect) more than i earn in a year each month to play football and is entitled to expect a certain level of intelligence...

Doughnut added 10:06 - Feb 27
Doesn't get any better does it! All this money spent and we're worse off now than at any point in the season. JB & SWP aren't hacking it! Even on Saturday morning I still had a lingering hope that all this so called 'talent' that we have, would get off their collective arrrses and have a go; if for nothing else than for professional pride. But no!!
I wouldn't fear relegation so much, if we hadn't sold our soul to stay up, but I fear we're in for an even worse dose of the Portsmouth syndrome than Portsmouth have endured.

QPunkR added 10:40 - Feb 27
Clive - 8 for Dowd??? you must be joking! He didn't lose this game for us, we did that ourselves completely, but how many calls did he get wrong? How about the free kick against Bobby Z in the 2nd half when he had the temerity to be shoved by Hangeland? Or 'the Pob' holding his face following an aerial challenge from Hill, from behind, and being granted a free kick, never mind Dembele not seeing red.

As for replacements for Barton and Shyte-Phillips? We'd be better off with their mothers on the pitch. Or maybe we could hold a raffle every week to see which lucky 2 fans get to take their places, one of them as captain

Northernr added 10:47 - Feb 27
I thought Dowd refereed well apart from the two issues I pointed out. Don't like him as a referee but very few complaints on Saturday.

AshteadR added 11:14 - Feb 27
Last 2 games:

Blackburn sang....."how shit must you be, we're winning 2-0 (and then 3-0)"

Fulham sang......."how shit must you be, we're winning away"

Sums it up really - good report though Clive, thanks.

dixiedean added 11:21 - Feb 27
Clive, spot on as always,although I'd take issue with Zamora getting 6. I gave him 1 for tieing his laces up properly,cos that's all he did of note. I've rarely seen such an anonymous performance, esp considering he supposedly had something to prove against his old club. No passion,no balls,no nothing. Had he made a non-aggression pact with FFC ? Reminiscent of Marc Nygaard on that performance. HH should walk back in. Diakite must have cotton wool between his ears - surely any captain worth his salt would have told him to cool it after the first one, whether he speaks English or not? Sad thing is, the atmosphere is turning very poisonous,sometimes bordering on civil war. The cretin in the Upper Loft ( you know who you are ) who was telling Mackie & Ferdinand to F off at the end of the game should hang his head in shame. The ones who might have deserved that treatment had long since disappeared down the tunnel to go on their PCs.And PLEASE, we are praising Barton for spending 90 mins running around and trying. People in the Conference do that for £200 a week. When you allegedly earn £80k a week I think we have a right to expect some quality along with the running around. Our only hope is that Cisse comes back and does for us what Tevez did for West Ham,but in reality that's clutching at straws.Final rant- as Clive says,we have a bizarre habit of applauding people off the pitch when they've been sent off.Totally irresponsible and letting down the manager,team & fans ,yet some people find that worthy of applause. Mystifying.

Northernr added 11:47 - Feb 27
Dixie - I tried really hard to look for positives in Barton's performance because I lost my rag with him on Twitter on Saturday night when I felt like sht and he was talking about what a "tidy Saturday night" he was having and was immediately met by responses from other fans saying he'd been our best player and I was being childish and out of order. So I sat down on Sunday with the various highlights packages, reviewed my notes, spoke to a few people and tried to pick out some positives so as not to appear biased.

As I've said on the message board, I don't expect the players to live like monks or care for the club as much as idiots like us do. But I did think that Tweeting about what a great night out you're having straight after losing at home again was tactless and provocative.

Antti_Heinola added 12:04 - Feb 27
Totally agree Clive with your marking of Dowd. All refs will get decisions wrong, it's impossible not to, but overall he was excellent and barely noticed him. You can't ask for more than that.

Dixie, you're way too harsh on Zamora who was totally isolated. He won plenty of the ball, but had no one on hand to lay it off to because everyone else was too deep.

Agree with the general consensus that SWP and Barton are being unfairly maligned.

Finally, if JB's tweeting bothers anyone that much, don't follow him. Simple as that. The whole tweet debate is so dull it's unbelievable. I honestly couldn't give a f*ck what he tweets or where he goes to wind down on a sat night or what he says about it.

Northernr added 12:38 - Feb 27
Antti neither could I normally, but I thought Saturday was over the line.

Harbour added 13:46 - Feb 27
Thanks Clive excellent report again very entertaining read more entertaining than sitting in the upper loft on Saturday..I hope MH has now learnt the lesson when a player booked and keeps fouling take him off .... but will he. Only hope I can see for survival is if Cisse delivers in front of the box and Helguson comes back soon..SWP really should have buried that chance, watching the Cardiff 20 year old yesterday bury the first goal at Wembley looked a similar opportunity. At home games we do as supporters have to get behind the team when they need it and we did not do that on saturday it was like a morgue 2nd half.... time and games running out

PinnerPaul added 14:21 - Feb 27
Good report Clive, agree with most.

Hughes HAS to take responsibility for leaving Diakete on, said he should be subbed to my neighbour before he was sent off.

Barton over hit one free kick and had a decent game.

SWP was woeful, more often than not picked up the ball and literally walked a few yards before calmly laying ball to a Fulham player - totally and utterly inept as was Zamora.

How 10 v 11, Hughes can wait until 83rd minute before making a change when at least 2 or 3 players were having stinkers is beyond me.

Subs must be thinking "How bad do you have to be to get subbed?!"

Always been one of the optimists but not now, we're going down.

HamptonR added 15:51 - Feb 27
I think we are going down (I really hope that I am wrong) but I still feel that it is going to be one helluva ride!

Apart from the free kick I thought Barton had his best game for us on Saturday, I just wish people would judge him and a few other players on what they see rather than what they read. Almost before he had touched the ball on Saturday I could hear people shouting at him.
SWP needs a big can of confidence, on the very few occasions that he ran at Fulham he looked good.
I still think he should have played out wide and Adel should have been in the centre, after the sending off.

As for the bloke at the end screaming none of you are good enough, unfortunately that is all we have got so let’s hope they are good enough.

Time is running out but let’s keep the faith and hope for what may have to be a miracle!

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