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Bore draw relegates Royals and Rangers – full match report
Bore draw relegates Royals and Rangers – full match report
Sunday, 28th Apr 2013 22:43 by Clive Whittingham

QPR and Reading were both relegated from the Premier League this afternoon with three matches of the campaign left to play after labouring to a dire 0-0 draw at the Madejski Stadium.

Sky were almost embarrassed to show it. Arsenal v Manchester United was what the people had come to see and even that, in this least competitive Premier League in living memory, mattered little. A quarter of an hour into the broadcast they had to confess that they were showing Reading v QPR first; not so much a relegation dog fight as two dogs sniffing each other’s behinds. By the time it was over these two hapless outfits had contrived to finish each other off - a lifeless, goalless draw relegates both with three matches left to play.

Reading believe they’re better set for the impending Championship campaign. John Madejski, who sold the club earlier in the season and now just sort of loiters around the place, spent the week in the lead up to this battle of the damned emphasising that through whatever media channel would listen. Harry Redknapp tried to rally his own troops in return, but sounded like a man as fed up as the club’s supporters. His noises about sticking around to tough out the division below remain unconvincing – excuses about the challenges posed by the second tier aplenty and everything always qualified with a comment about his future being up the board and the club’s finances. In the director’s box Steve Cotterill sat next to chairman Tony Fernandes and wrote things down/drew pictures.

A turgid 2-0 defeat by an almost equally woeful Stoke side a week ago suggested a QPR side that had exhibited questionable commitment to its work all season anyway had well and truly clocked off altogether with relegation all but confirmed, but the early evidence here was more encouraging. Redknapp started with Loic Remy in attack with support from the lesser-spotted Jay Bothroyd and Adel Taarabt arriving late from deep. Taarabt, suitably recovered from a shoulder injury that forced a premature withdrawal from that meek defeat a week ago, jinked past one and set up Jermaine Jenas to hack over the bar early on and then won a free kick which midfielder Esteban Granero pulled rank on and clipped the top of the bar with young Reading keeper Alex McCarthy beaten.

When a tidy pass from Granero gave Bothroyd a sight of the target McCarthy’s inexperience got the better of him and he raced forward presenting an open target which the former Cardiff man contrived to miss with a tentative lob. Taarabt then side footed wide when Bothroyd nodded another set piece down into his path – a firmer strike may have yielded greater reward but the signs were reasonably positive.

Reading were notoriously slow starters in the second tier but twice staged dramatic late runs of form to claim a play-off final place and then, a year later, a league title. A burst of six wins and a draw from eight matches over the New Year period suggested Brian McDermott might be about to pull off the same trick at a higher level but in truth apart from that six week spell the Royals have been every bit as bad as Queens Park Rangers this term. McDermott paid with his job in March but his replacement Nigel Adkins has struggled to arrest the slide with three defeats and a draw from four games in charge prior to this encounter.

Here the home team’s great white hope from last summer Pavel Pogrebnyak was anonymous – well marshalled by Nedum Onuoha who was given a rare start at centre half in the absence of Chris Samba who was either injured or actually thought the game was taking place the previous day if you want to take his light hearted Tweets literally. But there were troublesome signs for the visitors in the full back areas. The tireless Jobi McAnuff supported Pogrebnyak along with young Nick Blackman and Garath McCleary. They had a good deal more success than their Russian team mate, aided and abetted by Rangers right back Jose Bosingwa’s lethargic approach to his day of work. Dislikeable midfielder Danny Guthrie swung an early free kick through the six yard box from wide with Robert Green – still preferred to fancy dress enthusiast Julio Cesar – stuck on his line when he should have commanded the situation. A weak pass back from Bosingwa placed Green in danger again a while later but this time the keeper was alert to the trouble – although he was still somewhat fortunate that his hurried clearance smacked into the onrushing McAnuff and flew out for a goal kick rather than anything more serious.

Bosingwa oozed apathy from every pore and when he lazily pushed McAnuff to the floor eight minutes before half time a quick free kick spread terror in the six yard box. Green was suddenly panicked by the sight of football and Portuguese right back was required to redeem himself and execute a goal line clearance to keep the game deadlocked.

Sustained Reading pressure then brought two quick fire penalty appeals. First Traore upended Blackman and then Bosingwa hung a lazy arm and leg out to knock McAnuff to the ground. Both could easily have been given had referee Kevin Friend been so inclined but the Leicestershire official waved the claims away. Reading had good cause to feel aggrieved.

The second half began much as the first half had ended. Stephane Mbia, partnering Jermaine Jenas in a less than dynamic midfield set up, tried his luck from ambitious distance and found the adjacent retail park. Redknapp, Shaun Derry and Jamie Mackie couldn’t hide their amusement on the substitutes’ bench but, as John Gregory found right at the very beginning of the dawn of the minted Queens Park Rangers, laughing in the face of our own side’s incompetence wins few friends among a long suffering support base.

Rangers tried again. Taarabt and Remy combined well to set the former up for a sight of goal but he bounced a volley into the ground and felt his shoulder. Moments later a half cleared cross fell to Taarabt and he side-footed a half volley wide. The Moroccan’s fascination with taking chances with his instep when the ball cries out for a firm strike with the laces continues to frustrate. Taarabt isn’t a player you would associate with a lack of confidence but his recent performances betray the toll the last 18 months have taken on Rangers’ outstanding talent. Redknapp removed him midway through the second half and sent on Junior Hoilett who introduced himself to the action by giving the ball away and then spent the next half hour doing much the same. Both players will hope for moves this summer, but their recent form may force them to go down with the ship; both look like a summer of rest and recuperation followed by a harsh fitness regime and confidence rebuild is required.

Reading were every bit as bad and will enjoy the same joints to Burnley, Blackburn and Birmingham next season. They could easily have taken the lead on the hour when a QPR counter attack broke down with a poor pass from Remy and Pogrebnyak cut inside Bosingwa before curling a shot wide when he should have scored. Five minutes later a downward header from the Russian bounced wide.

He should have at least hit the target, as should Jenas when Jay Bothroyd cut in from the left and pulled the perfect ball back into his path only for the former Tottenham man to skew hopelessly into the stand behind the goal. Redknapp sent on Jamie Mackie late in the day and he sniffed round a Bothroyd shot that McCarthy threatened to spill into his path but the keeper gathered at the second attempt.

It was little wonder both managers turned to their benches early in search of game changer such was the paucity of quality on display. Adkins sent on Adam Le Fondre and Hal Robson-Kanu but by removing Blackman and McCleary rather than Pogrebnyak he made little difference to the pattern of play. Le Fondre is out of favour and seemingly angling after a move which should really interest QPR this summer but here he could only head a chance over the bar ten minutes from the merciful, merciful end.

Redknapp decision to take off Bosingwa for Fabio Da Silva smacked of a mercy killing and the Portuguese full back endeared himself further to the Loftus Road faithful by laughing as he headed down the tunnel at full time, seconds after his club had officially been demoted to the Championship. Bosingwa crossed himself three times on the way off the field and to be honest if I pulled his salary each week as a reward for playing football as badly as this I’d be thanking God every day as well.

Ultimately Reading were left to rely on set pieces, and even those were reasonably predictable. Each corner and free kick was lofted high to the back post for giant centre half Sean Morrison to arrive late and attack. Although QPR have been poor at defending dead balls this season – and conceded twice from set pieces against Reading earlier in the season when former hooped favourite Kaspars Gorkss scored in league and cup – the intentions were so obvious even the beleaguered Rangers could read what was coming. Clint Hill won pretty much whatever came his way bar a late Morrison effort which Green palmed over the bar with one hand. Granero and Da Silva were both yellow carded by Friend for their part in conceding the free kicks in the first place.

The QPR fans regaled their current charges with songs about their predecessors. Kevin Gallen, Marc Bircham, Gareth Ainsworth and Paul Furlong were all more technically limited than the current crop but far more effective on the field because football isn’t about ability alone and teams always succeed against groups of individuals. Whatever is said about Mark Hughes, Tony Fernandes, Philip Beard, Harry Redknapp, Kia Joorabchian and a host of others who have had a hand in this dire campaign – this QPR team has enough ability to have made a better fist of things than it has. Much of the talk over the coming weeks and months will centre around incoming and outgoing personnel, but a change in mindset is required here just as urgently. Redknapp and Fernandes sit down tomorrow morning at 11am to start planning who is going to enact that and how.

Links >>> Have Your Say >>> Interactive Player Ratings >>> Photo Gallery >>> Message Board Match Thread

Reading: McCarthy 6, Gunter 6, Mariappa 6, Morrison 6, Kelly 5 (Harte 76, 6), Karacan 5, Guthrie 6, McAnuff 7, McLeary 6 (Le Fondre 64, 6), Blackman 6 (Robson Kanu 55, 6), Pogrebnyak 5

Subs not used: Taylor, Pearce, Caricco, Hunt

QPR: Green 6, Bosingwa 4 (Da Silva 73, 5), Onuoha 7, Hill 6, Traore 6, Granero 6, Mbia 6 (Mackie 89, -), Jenas 6, Taarabt 5 (Hoilett 68, 5), Bothroyd 5, Remy 5

Subs not used: Cesar, Ben Haim, Derry, Park

Bookings: Granero 71 (foul), Da Silva 90 (foul)

QPR Star Man – Nedum Onuoha 7 Presumably a late replacement for regular centre half Chris Samba but showed – albeit in the face of meagre opposition – that he can be a future mainstay for Rangers in that position if he sticks around.

Referee – Kevin Friend (Leicestershire) 6 Very little to referee bar Reading penalty shouts in the first half – both of which could have been given, both of which he waved away. I thought Traore and Boswinga were both fortunate not to be penalised.

Attendance – 23,388 (1,800 QPR approx)

Photo: Action Images



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Pommyhoop added 22:50 - Apr 28
Mucho respecto Clive for delivering a report on that dross.
Cheers..
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N12Hoop added 23:06 - Apr 28
Respect for reliving this dross again having to write a report on it when most of us have tried to erase it from our minds. Hope we can regroup and rebuild rather than do a Wolves and with some of the players who should be sticking around there is potentially a strong spine and some options on the wing; our obvious weakness will be a strong 20 goal striker. The standard of the Championship is poor and if we get a good start and have the right mentality there is every reason to be optimistic.
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CiderwithRsie added 23:06 - Apr 28
"not so much a relegation dog fight as two dogs sniffing each other’s behinds."

Brilliant
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N12Hoop added 23:08 - Apr 28
Edit: having read your stats re striking rates, sod the 20 goals+ man, lets go for 2x10 instead!
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carrotcrunch_R added 23:13 - Apr 28
Nedum onuoha was the light in that performance if we can work with him in the centre of defence that is a start for next season. I thought we preformed better than them but that isnt saying a lot lol and as for boswinga the sooner he goes the better waste of a space on a football pitch .
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MelakaRanger added 23:47 - Apr 28
The change in mindset is by far the most important thing on Harrys 'to do' list. But the wrong 'mind set' is ingrained so deep in a number of our players that it can only change after radical surgery - i.e get rid of a lot of players

So hopefully this summer we will get rid of/pay off as many of these as possible. Maybe 10 of the 25 will be gone and I'm sure that we will be glad to see the back of them. I'm equally sure that we will be surprised at some of the players who leave too.

The 11 that played today would do no better that mid table mediocrity in the Championship, maybe even worse.
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Kiwi76 added 01:03 - Apr 29
Thanks for report Clive - apart from that home run to finish last season its been pretty bloody rank. Almost pleased relegation has been confirmed so whatever you think of our "brains trust" they can get some plans in place for a response next season.
QPR are never boring and expect mad summer but hoping we can surprise everyone and "do a Newcastle"...
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JAPRANGERS added 01:35 - Apr 29
You got this report up and running quickly Clive! Thanks for your season's work and I look forward to reading your Championship reports next season when hopefully we will all have something to cheer about.
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DesertBoot added 06:17 - Apr 29
Thanks Clive. All season just a hint of desire and positive attitude would have yielded more reward. Another manic transfer window beckons. Heaven help us.
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AussieRs added 06:48 - Apr 29
Thanks Clive. When I saw Rob Green taking his time with last goal kick I was in disbelief. Still, they all appeared relaxed and happy, Jose, Arry and the rest. I spose that's the main thing.

I posed the question some weeks ago about our starting XI for first game next year. Limiting ourselves to current squad (which may not be far off the mark!) and also trying to be realistic about who we might be able to keep (not Remy for example), here's my team:

Green
Young
Onouha
Samba
Traore
Diakite
Mbia
Hoilett
Taarabt
Mackie
Zamora

Love Tarbs to stay but he may well go now. Zamora might be crocked, as is Johnson and with QPR likely to cash in on Remy we will need another striker for sure. Cesar likely to go for $ too.

Even then, based on what I have seen over past two long years, v doubtful this team would be adequate to fight 46 game long campaign. Pity Hill and Derry are getting on.

If it is the hope that kills you, at least we can all relax these next few weeks.




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R_in_Sweden added 08:05 - Apr 29
Thanks for the report.

First league game that I've missed all season either via TV or in the Bush, due to attending of a beer brewing course. Reading your description of the game it seems as though I made a very wise decision.

Can't see 'Arry sticking around for next season. But who the hell can we attract now? Poyet? Solskjaer? Any suggestions?

Some nice seaside trips possibly on the agenda at least.
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qprmick added 09:08 - Apr 29
Thanks for the report mate. 6 for Green, he frightens the life out of me from first sight to last. A sad indictment on the beautiful game. I will stick to watching teams over the park to see a bit of sweat and effort.
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probbo added 10:28 - Apr 29
I recall when we went down in '96 we bet the house on bouncing back up the following season and spent heavily on John Spencer. We didn't get promoted and it all went downhill after that. As Redknapp keeps reminding everyone, the Championship is not an easy league to get out of and therefore he needs to decide whether he can commit to the club for a few seasons (if thats how long it might take) and he needs to get the owners to back him to the hilt and not sack him after 10 games if we are mid table. If he can't commit he should probably move on now but if he's given the backing and could build a young exciting team for the future, he may well be up for the challenge.

But as R in Sweden has observed, if he does go its hard to think of an obvious replacement. I appreciate that age is not on his side but i'd like Harry to stick around. But whoever it is really needs to wipe the floor with (most of) this lot and start again and not p further millions up the wall in the process.

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QPunkR added 11:19 - Apr 29
Bosw@nker just summed it all up at the end there, though I did indeed also notice Arry having a little chuckle at the full time whistle.
Fúck the lot of 'em anyways, not a bead of sweat was shed on that pitch, and that's been the problem all season. Desire rather than talent, MIA.
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isawqpratwcity added 11:53 - Apr 29
Thanks for the report, Clive. I'm really going to miss the live links next season.Your reports are great, better than anything else around, but I like seeing the team, too. In case you are considering it, your retiring from LFW would be a major loss to many people.

I'm quite calm about the relegation. What I have been railing against for the last season and a half as being "not an option" is now an actuality. Ah well, tbf, we were more "not very good" than "not very lucky". On paper, we should have been ok. But now is the time for anyone with an opinion (hare-brained or otherwise) to speak up. I am unfazed by even the most ridiculously extreme indictments being bandied about, never mind the trolls and WUMs crawling out of the woodwork. Knock yourselves out, boys and girls. No need to avoid undermining some-one's motivation now.
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MackemR added 12:20 - Apr 29
Both teams deserve to go down. I thought I had run out of emotions this season but I have discovered a new one - weary indifference. A neutral observer wouldn't believe this was a must-win game. The lack of ideas we showed to break down Reading's defence, the misplaced passes, Rob Green deciding to select exactly the right blade of grass to take a kick from rather than banging the ball downfield as the seconds counted down to the final whistle, Bosingwa playing with the air of someone who has just enjoyed a lavish and long lunch, etc, etc.

I really don't know where we go from here. There are obviously some major cultural issues as well as a lack of talent and application for Tony and Harry to get a grip on. Normally you would draw a line and set fresh expectations but a raft of alleged top level players on immense contracts who won't want to shift may send that scenario flying out the window. This could take a few years to sort. Still, I haven't been to Donnie's new stadium yet.
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merovingian added 12:23 - Apr 29
Clive - "this QPR team has enough ability to have made a better fist of things than it has. Much of the talk over the coming weeks and months will centre around incoming and outgoing personnel, but a change in mindset is required here just as urgently. Redknapp and Fernandes sit down tomorrow morning at 11am to start planning who is going to enact that and how."

HR: We need this one out.
TF: No we can't, he's under contract.
HR: How about this guy?
TF: Same.
HR: This?
TF: Same story.
HR: And this too?
TF: Yes.
HR: How to rebuild the team from scratch then?
TF: Add cheer leaders?
HR: Huh?
TF: Just kidding. I'm a bit serious in during this time but hey look where we are now, stucked.
HR: What happened before I came in?
TF: A lot.
HR: Such as?
TF: Nevermind, just read the news you'll get the scope.
HR: So back to discussion, who do we let go? The underperformed football players?
TF: That's the problem, the one considered good has release clause & the one that doesn't are not good.
HR: So basically there's nothing to discuss here unless further up next season where some contract will then expire.
TF: Yes, presumably so.
HR: Can we move on about who to bring in?
TF: Wait... Excuse me, I need to retweet this. A minute please. (Click click click).
TF: You're saying?
HR: Who do we bring in? Any new players from the list.
TF: We can't, club is running along the line of Deficit budget. Well unless Player & Cash package, if we're lucky enough.
HR: Please don't say 'Luck,' Tevez have took it all away from me.
TF: Okay.
HR: Okay.

- Meeting adjourned.

IMHO.
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Phildo added 16:19 - Apr 29
Thanks for all your work this year. Murderers are given less punishment.

Glad Ned got MOM for us- am guessing he will be our best player next year.

and that is the only positive I can find!
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extratimeR added 17:23 - Apr 29
Thanks Clive!

Not easy to put together report on this dross, (Onuha and Clint apart), cannot understand shambolic Reading bus service back to Station, hundreds of stewarts/Police all staring at jammed round-abouts. just takes dedicated bus lane open for match days, two coppers on each round-about, and hey-presto, back to Paddington for early pint.

The other earth shattering idea from us in Q, was boarding more than one Bus at a time.

Not looking forward to coming back.
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TacticalR added 20:24 - Apr 29
The ship was holed a few weeks ago, we are just watching it sink below the waterline.

The forlorn shots from the edge of the box by Taarabt and Jenas only illustrated the lack of ideas and the lack of class on offer.

Granero. At least his free kick clipped the bar.

Bothroyd. Nearly got a goal from a pass over the top from Mbia.

Traoré. He put in some good crosses, and his runs from the back toward the centre give us a bit of the unexpected. He did that a couple of time last season, and it was good to see him doing it in this match. One run on 70 minutes saw him get right through the Reading midfield to the edge of the box.

Boswinga. Very weird lackadaisical behaviour, and could have given away a penalty with a tackle from behind in the box.

Rémy. A very quiet game by his standards.

I don't like the idea of Cotterill drawing pictures. It's a sight that blights our game and shouldn't be allowed.
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derbyhoop added 21:20 - Apr 29
Predictably low quality game, ending in both clubs getting what they deserved. When the officials announced 3 minutes of added time, we asked what had we done to deserve another 3 minutes of this.
What did we learn? We were organised, didn't look like conceding. Granero and Jenas in midfield were neat and tidy. But with both Taarabt and Remy (both gone before August?) having poor games, we never threatened. Against a side that concede goals for fun.
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smegma added 17:20 - Apr 30
"Sustained Reading pressure then brought two quick fire penalty appeals. First Traore upended Blackman and then Bosingwa hung a lazy arm and leg out to knock McAnuff to the ground. Both could easily have been given had referee Kevin Friend been so inclined but the Leicestershire official waved the claims away. Reading had good cause to feel aggrieved."

I think we would've been aggrieved even more had they been given and you would have slaughtered the refereee for doing so as well no doubt. Both appeals were pathetic attempts at cheating, END OF.
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