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The annual League Cup humiliation – report
Thursday, 27th Aug 2015 02:06 by Jordan Foster

QPR suffered their annual pathetic defeat at the hands of lower league opposition in the early rounds of the League Cup on Tuesday as lowly Carlisle won 2-1 at Loftus Road. Jordan Foster was there for LFW.

After two promising performances in the league, QPR's fortnightly meltdown came at the hands of Carlisle in the Capital One Cup. Head oach Chris Ramsey made wholesale changes to his squad with six of the starting XI featuring this season for Paul Hall's Elite Development Squad.

Alex Smithies made his debut in goal after signing from Huddersfield, only Grant Hall remained from the side that played at the weekend. Alongside him was Clint Hill, whilst Darnell Furlong and Cole Kpekawa took either fullback slot respectively. Michael Doughty and Oscar Gobern played as deep lying midfielders with an attacking trio of Reece Grego-Cox, Junior Hoilett and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas operating behind Sebastian Polter.

Rangers have scored seven goals in the last two games, but failed to make their dominance count in a subdued, somewhat typical Loftus Road cup game. Grego-Cox's right-footed drive forced a smart save from Carlisle goalkeeper Mark Gillespie after Junior Hoilett's shot ricocheted into the youngsters path. Polter was next to come close for the home-side in a move which kind of summed up the forward's QPR career so far. The pony-tail wearing German turned Michael Raynes in a move Johan Cruyff would have been proud of, only to make his way into the area and balloon the shot high into the top tier of the School End under next to no pressure.

At the other end, Angelo Balanta continued to find space between Emmanuel-Thomas and Furlong. The former QPR youngster was tipped to have a bright future and showed enough to suggest he could play a little higher than League 2. It was his through ball that to Anthony Sweeney that set up the away side for their opener. Smithies was caught not knowing whether to stick or twist and by the time he had made up his mind, Sweeney had teed up Derek Asamoah who fired into an empty net.

Three minutes later and the scores were level. Emmanuel-Thomas, who scored in the last round against Yeovil, looks a little predictable at times with his cut inside run – which left a lot to be desired for the most part - but after being found by Doughty his left-footed drive made its way in. On first showing I thought the keeper should have done better and since watching the highlight I think Gillespie would have expected to do better.

Carlisle had the majority of chances in the second half, Alexander McQueen had a speculative attempt his the crossbar from wide on the right whilst Troy Archibald-Henville's effort was headed off the line by a frustrated-looking Clint Hill. Hoilett should have done better for his side when played through by Polter but despite being through on goal, in the centre of the goal, could only shoot tamely at Gillespie.

Asamoah's pace had caused problems for QPR all night and when Polter lost the ball midway inside his own half, the forward broke down Ranger's right-hand side and drilled the ball across the goal for subsitute Tom Kennedy to tap home for the winner.

QPR tried to push for an equaliser, but more in hope rather than expectation. Doughty took up a quarterback role with 10 minutes remaining as they went long but nothing really came close. There was muted claimed for a penalty, Emmanuel Thomas cut inside from the right-hand side and went down under a challenge from Raynes but in truth the Arsenal graduate went down a little too easily. I don't think anyone truly expected it to be given other than Emmanuel-Thomas who remained on his knees distraught that his moment of magic was so barbarically ruined by the League 2 centre half.

The result caused pandemonium on social media, and many fans adamant the poor performance was down to the youngsters and them not being good enough or 'ready', however I thought they all did fairly well. Furlong had nearly no protection but still got forward well down the right, was strong in the tackle and did well in most one-v-one situations. Kpekawa has a tendency to go to ground a lot, but made two quality tackles and fizzed a great cross into the box midway through the second half. Doughty and Gobern dictated the play early on, of course they were left wanting when the going got tough did more than just compete against a five-man Carlisle midfield – even looking a class above as times. Grego-Cox, who played in the Premier League towards the back end of last season, did okay too. He had one decent strike at goal and got it on target and apart from one moment in the second-half where he seemed to be frustrated not getting the ball and tried to run the ball out of his half his decision-making was often good as well.

The fact of the matter is that if you have a EDS side in one of the lowest leagues of that level, then you're going to get players that aren't quite up to the standard you need. Furlong played against a 17-year-old wing back for Huddersfield making his debut at EDS level last week, he was up against journeyman Jabo Ibehre at times last night. Being brutally honest, there was a fair few players on the pitch who would do well to have Ibehre's career.

There's potential in the youngsters but they weren't helped by the senior pros in the side not having the greatest of nights. Emmanuel-Thomas for all his 'swazzyness' going forward offered little protection or defensive discipline, Hoilett had glimpses of his former self, his touch is often impeccable but he drifted in and out of the game too much. That being said, he didn't deserved the response he got from the home fans when he was being substituted.

More than anyone else though it was a bad day at the office for Seb Polter, his touch was often poor and he didn't know whether to come short or play on the last defender which left him doing something in between for most of the second-half. He then gave away the ball for the second goal and seemed unable to offer Rangers a focal point for attacks.

Thankfully though, seasons aren't won and lost in cup games against lower league opposition. They are won and lost when you're two goals down, away from home against promotion hopefuls. A win and decent performance against Huddersfield and all will be forgotten.

Links >>> Ratings and Reports

QPR: Smithies 5; Furlong 6, Hall 6, Hill 7 , Kpekawa 6; Doughty 7, Gobern 6 (Comley 67 6); Grego-Cox 6(Chery 83 -), Emmanuel-Thomas 5, Hoilett 4 (Luongo 72, -), Polter 4

Subs not used: Lumley, Perch, Phillips, Blackwood.

Goals: Emmanuel-Thomas 39 (assisted Doughty)

Bookings: Doughty 21 (foul)

Carlisle United: Gillespie 7; Miller 6, Raynes 6, Grainger 7 (Archibald-Henville 55 6); Brough 7 (Ibehre 85 -), Balanta 7 (Kennedy 72 7), Dicker 6, Sweeney 6, McQueen 7; Joyce 7, Asamoah 8.

Subs not used: Hanford, Hery, Rigg, Thompson.

Goals: Asamoah 36 (assisted Brough), Kennedy 78 (assisted by Asamoah)

Bookings: Sweeney 23 (foul)

QPR Star Man – Michael Doughty 7 In what was a disappointing night for QPR, academy graduate Doughty did enough to stake a claim for a regular first-team spot. Not only clever, but brave passing, good positional sense and a provider of constant encouragement to the younger players.. Was caught ball watching for Carlisle's winner, but had plenty of positives in his performance.
Referee – James Linington (Isle of Wight) 6 Like most one the night, another average performer. QPR and Emmanuel-Thomas might have thought they deserved a penalty but my first impressions were that the referee got it right. Played advantage well and pulled the play back when needed.

Attendance – 5,501 (500 Carlisle approx) With only one main stand open, the atmosphere was obviously effected, a long trip for Carlisle fans though – who remained vocal throughout.

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YorkRanger added 08:58 - Aug 27
Seems like a fair write up Jordan. As I commented on the match thread, losing in the league cup having played a number of youngsters feels a bit different to losing watching the likes of SWP, Trarore and co stroll about. The common denominator is Hoilett - I'm still staggered at his apparent unfulfilled potential....

Marshy added 11:54 - Aug 27
Having attended the match I don't think any real blame can be attached to the players, as I felt they gave it their best shot. I feel that Chris Ramsey has a lot to answer for in the approach to team selection. There were 10 changes to the team that beat Rotherham. Surely it would have made more sense to have rested say 5 of the team that played on Saturday, to then combine youth and experience. I know all the arguments about squad rotation, but surely even in the modern game players are more than capable of playing more than 1 match in a week without knackering themselves too much. Like most supporters on here, I'm getting very hacked off by the way we are treating the cup competitions as almost an inconvenience. It would be great to see the team progress in a cup, and would also help build confidence and positivity around the place.

The Manager has quite clearly blamed the defeat on the performance of the players, but sorry Chris you've only got yourself to blame.

fakekerby added 14:16 - Aug 27
Very harsh on Polter and probably too kind on the rest, especially Doughty who again looked no more than average to me.

I really didn't see us as being dominant whatsoever - maybe being sat directly behind the goal skewed my vision a little bit!

Polter's turn and shot was class - the turn bit was anyway! And he took down a long punt from Smithies perfectly to lay it on for Hoilett who just passed it straight into the keeper's hands.

If either of those moves were finished properly then we'd be saying he had a very good game. I did, however, think he was poor aerially, in terms of his jumping - he didn't seem to get much height.

southernR added 17:58 - Aug 27
Thought the youngsters played ok to be honest, a half decent cup run would have lifted everyone though so I'm not convinced such wholesale changes were worthwhile.
Not seen anyone mention the poor corner taking, of the 8 corners we had at least 6 sailed beyond the back post. Clearly we were trying to hit Hill or Polter at the back post but we should be able to make better use of corners.

Patrick added 17:29 - Aug 28
Simple fact is, QPR under-23s with a few reserves are not a real match for a professional and up-for-it League side of any division, on this showing. Very little goal threat and Carlisle got stronger as the game went on. Surprised we made TEN changes and expected a result, and that we stuck to "the plan" to the end, as going 4-4-2 with JET more central with Mad Seb seemed the only way we might get something in the last 20 minutes. Hoilett deeply disappointing, verging on unprofessional, no urgency at all. Maybe he really is a one-trick pony who has now been rumbled all the way down to the nether regions of League 2.

TacticalR added 21:47 - Aug 28
Thanks for your report.

In some ways it sounds like the same old story, although I'm sure most of would rather see the youngsters given a chance than watch Redknapp's team of unenthusiastic misfits.

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