Chery's late strike picks off Huddersfield - report
Sunday, 30th Aug 2015 19:15 by Jeff Quilter
A third consecutive league win for QPR at Huddersfield on Saturday was sealed against the run of play by a late Tjaronn Chery goal. Jeff Quilter was there for LFW.
Huddersfield, the town in the shadows of the M62, on the Yorkshire side of the Pennines sandwiched between Manchester and Leeds.
I’ve always enjoyed my trips here. For some the wounds from 2001 will always remain, however on that fateful day, as relegation was confirmed via a late Delroy Facey goal, I was too immersed in self-pity to pay much attention to those gloating and gesticulating from the adjacent section of home supporters. Indeed I was taught at an early age to be magnanimous in victory and gracious in defeat, for the shoe is too often quickly on the other foot, and so it proved for those celebrating Rangers’ demise on that day, as a strange sequence of results saw Huddersfield take the final relegation place on the last day of the season and join Rangers in the descent to Division Two.
And so we returned again on Saturday, to the John Smiths’ Stadium, on a bright, mild afternoon with the threat of rain never far away.
Rangers made one change from the team that defeated Rotherham the previous Saturday with Michael Doughty replacing Karl Henry in midfield, given the advanced pregnancy of Henry’s wife. The imminent closing of the transfer window raised questions around the inclusion of the trio of Rob Green, Charlie Austin and Matt Phillips, however Ramsey included them in a settled formation, no doubt keen to bounce back from the disappointing result against Carlisle. So Rangers adopted the now familiar 4-2-3-1, with Doughty slotting in alongside Ale Faurlin in the holding two. There was therefore no place for Alex Smithies in the starting eleven as he returned to his former club, however he received as warm a reception as anyone could hope for returning to a previous home and Town fans still talked fondly of his winning penalty at Wembley in the Play Off final in 2012.
Huddersfield lined up in a 4-4-2 with the line lead by Nahki Wells and former Rangers loanee Ishmael Miller. The centre midfield was held by the brawn of Dean Whitehead and the guile of Jacob Butterfield, with the latter likely to be featuring strongly in transfer speculation ahead of the window closing on Monday.
Huddersfield attacked the end occupied by the Rangers travelling support who were accompanied by a noisy section of Town supporters in good voice for most of the game. The irony of the pre-match warning of Huddersfield’s zero tolerance policy of standing will have not been lost on many as the Town supporters appeared to be on their feet for the whole game. That said there was no evidence of heavy handed stewarding towards the Rangers’ supporters.
The match started with an Onouha interception in the second minute, conceding a corner and preventing a Wells through ball reaching Miller. That set the tone for the game with the Rangers’ captain was in imperious form.
Rangers went closest first as Austin’s shot from the edge of the box took a deflection and looped agonisingly just over the cross bar.
In the twelfth minute Scannell got the better of Konchesky delivering a low cross which was cleared by Onouha. The contest down the right side between the ex-Crystal Palace winger and the experienced Rangers’ left back was of interest all afternoon until Scannell’s substitution in the seventy second minute. Konchesky held his own in this duel.
Phillips had a shot deflected narrowly wide in the fourteenth minute, however goalmouth incidents were generally at a premium as the two sides jabbed, bobbed and weaved to try to create some supremacy.
A poor aerial challenge by Miller on Perch was fortunate not to be punished by a yellow card by Kevin Wright, however this was balanced out as a late challenge by Onouha on Miller was treated as charitably by the official, who generally had a comfortable afternoon.
Butterfield had a low shot around the 20 minute mark which was comfortably held by Green down by his right hand post and but for a couple of punched clearances in the second half, that was about as active as the Rangers’ keeper was to get. That by no means suggested Rangers were on top, indeed far from it, but the service through to the Huddersfield front men could have been better and Hall and Onouha largely had the position under control.
Rangers laboured at times and were over-elaborate in their attempts to build from the back with the midfield two and three not linking effectively for much of the time and the Rangers front four also struggling with poor service as a consequence. Whitehead was nibbling away to limit time on the ball and generally Huddersfield worked hard to shut Rangers down. Butterfield was starting to pull the strings in midfield and moved the ball around well without Town ever really looking threatening. The game drifted to half time goalless.
The second half saw Martin Cranie replace Mark Hudson in the centre of defence and Cranie’s arrival was shortly followed by the West Yorkshire rain.
In the forty eighth minute Miller shrugged off and turned Hall, but his pass through to Wells was intercepted by Onouha and a corner conceded. As Rangers’ fans will recall Miller is a big strong centre forward but Hall competed well with him and he looked composed on the ball moving it out of defence. Early days but promising indications of a decent signing here.
A corner caused alarm in the Rangers defence and a goalbound header was scrambled away and the danger averted. Huddersfield started to gain some momentum at this stage with Butterfield pulling the strings and Rangers often conceding possession cheaply or not providing a quality final ball. The Rangers’ full backs could have been quicker to support the forward three and space for both Chery and Luongo was at a premium. Austin worked hard with little reward and Phillips, whilst looking dangerous when pressing forward, was drifting in and out of the game.
To Rangers’ credit though the shape held good and the team worked hard to maintain this whilst not in possession. Doughty was tidy and will no doubt have benefited from his time alongside Faurlin.
On the hour Scannell got the better of Konchesky on the right hand side of the Rangers box and the resultant foul earned the Rangers’ left back a yellow card.
Both sides were battling hard to try to create a dominant position, and Town were still probably having marginally the better of things. Green pushed away a cross when under pressure, but clear chances remained at a premium. A Phillips break away midway through the second half saw a low drilled shot from the right pushed away by Lumley in the Town goal and at the other end a Butterfield shot was blocked by the Rangers’ rearguard.
Lolley replaced Scannell and ten minutes from time Miller finally shook off his markers from a corner only to head tamely wide.
Chris Powell made his final change with loanee Mustapha Carayol (hadn’t even made the programme player list) replacing Wells and his direct running was to trouble Perch, conceding a foul and a yellow card in the closing minutes.
As the away end became more unsettled and cries for Ramsey to make changes were starting to ring out the games defining moment arrived six minutes from time. A mix up between Davidson and Lynch as they both competed for the same header saw the ball deflect off the former into the path of Luongo, he broke into the right side of the box and his cross narrowly evaded the sliding Phillips only to reach Chery who calmly slid the ball home in front of the delirious Rangers’ following.
The end of the game passed largely without incident, save for a yellow card from Phillips stopping a quick free kick from being taken quickly. Good game management from Rangers saw both Phillips and Austin run the clock down by the corner flag and the three points were secured to be taken back to London.
Generally there is a lot to be pleased about. Ramsey now has three wins on the spin and it was clear from the set up today that the team was not to be beaten. The structure was good and disciplined and the hard work was done off the ball with constant focus on shape. There was, however, a lack of fluidity and the quality of passing and ball retention will, I’m sure, be an area of focus in the match post mortem. Rangers are a work in progress, but notwithstanding the comings and goings they now sit fourth in the league and have three league wins on the bounce. Encouraging signs that the plan is coming together and the international break is entered with good heart, although a clearer picture of what we are working with will no doubt have emerged on Tuesday morning.
Spare a thought for Huddersfield, the better side at times and probably on top at the time of the goal. A draw would not have flattered them.
QPR: Green 6, Perch 5, Onouha 8, Hall 7, Konschesky 7, Doughty 6, Faurlin 6, Phillips 7, Chery 6, Luongo 6, Austin 6
Goals: Chery 84 (assist Luongo)
Subs not used: Emmanuel-Thomas, Hoilett, Smithies, Blackwood, Furlong, Comley, Kpekawa
Bookings: Konchesky 63 (foul), Perch 90 (foul), Phillips 92 (ungentlemanly conduct)
Bookings: Hogg 62 (foul)
QPR Star Man – Nedum Onouha 8 Impressive performance from the captain, anticipation excellent and dominant in the tackle. Will be positively influencing the form and development of Hall.
Referee – Kevin Wright 7 straightforward afternoon for the official. No tackles of malice, generally let the game flow and no obvious mistakes made.
Attendance 11, 189 (Away 836) A good following from West London, noisy at times, impatient at times, delighted at the end. Noisy home support who no doubt felt aggrieved at the injustice of it all.
Pictures – Action Images
Photo: Action Images
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