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Another long night by the river – autopsy
Saturday, 26th Sep 2015 22:00 by Clive Whittingham

Another London derby, another heavy defeat, another game over before half time, another humiliation for the long suffering QPR fans at Fulham.

On Saturday March 14 this year QPR were beaten 3-1 at Crystal Palace in the Premier League having trailed by three goals at half time. Afterwards, I wrote this…

“Blame Furlong and Yun, blame Phillips and Wright-Phillips, blame Caulker and Onuoha, blame injuries, blame Chris Ramsey, blame who you like really, but consider this… QPR have been in the Premier League for three of the last four seasons. In that time they have played 27 London derbies in league and cup. They’ve lost 18 of those and drawn four. This season they’ve lost seven and drawn one of the games against the other London sides. They’ve conceded 45 goals in those 27 games and scored just 18. On two separate occasions they’ve conceded six goals. This has been under four different managers, with vastly different teams and players. When the going gets a little tougher, the atmosphere gets a little hotter, the intensity increases – QPR cannot live with it.

“There isn’t the quality to match Arsenal and Spurs and there isn’t the attitude, stomach, pragmatism, strength and resolve to match sides like Palace and West Ham. Remember Fulham running riot, remember that Monday night when Sam Allardye bullied Granero and Faurlin with a massive three man midfield? QPR are playing at being a Premier League club and on days like this they’re playing at being a Premier League team, wanting to play with inverse wingers and false nines and young kids and wide open midfields and all of this sort of trendy shit without any sort of foundation or base. It’s naïve and it’s arrogant. Whether Furlong and Yun and Wright-Phillips start or not, whether Ramsey is the manager or somebody else, this will happen again while that attitude persists. It will happen again.”

On Friday September 25 at Craven Cottage it happened again, as it was always likely to. Two London derbies so far this season, QPR are six nil down on aggregate and have been abject in both.

Chris Ramsey will carry the can for the latest disaster and his ever growing band of critics have plenty of material to work with. Fulham aren’t regarded by their own fans as particularly well coached or managed, but they absolutely had Rangers' number here from the first four seconds of the game. It looked like they’d watched every QPR game so far this season and meticulously picked areas they could exploit, QPR meanwhile turned up and played in exactly the same system and style as they have done all season as if there’s no difference between Blackburn, Forest, Charlton or Fulham and Rangers are simply good enough to play as they like against everybody. It looked like we’d never seen Fulham before.

Neither of QPR’s full backs are playing well – Paul Konchesky unsurprisingly, because he’s been poor for several years prior to arriving here, James Perch more puzzlingly because he seemed like a decent signing after two Player of the Year awards at Wigan. Furthermore, the formation QPR play every week exposes them with Matt Phillips and Tjaronn Chery, not noted for their defensive ability anyway, pushed forwards into the attack. Fulham feasted on that, overloading the visiting full backs with two men in every attack and giving them lots of ball. That, in turn, pulled the defence left and right trying to cover, leaving space in the number ten slot for Ross McCormack to run amok. Special mention to Karl Henry, who as defensive central midfielder should be covering that pocket in front of the centre backs – as I said previously, if this is him protecting the defence I’d hate to see him exposing it.

Ramsey, and Rangers, were far too slow to realise and react to that weakness and Fulham’s obvious tactic to target it. When a substitution was finally made, the game was lost and throwing Jamie Mackie on for Tjaronn Chery didn’t change the system and succeeded only in pissing off the departing player, who was no more or less at fault for this than anybody else.

But this propensity to completely collapse in London derby games is not a new phenomenon resulting from Chris Ramsey’s management. QPR change managers far too frequently, and turn over their entire squad every 18 months, but as much as things change this stays the same. Neil Warnock’s QPR lost 6-0 here, Mark Hughes’ QPR lost 6-0 at Chelsea, Harry Redknapp’s QPR lost 4-0 at Spurs and went 3-0 down here before half time, and now Ramsey has this and the Palace debacle on his CV. To be losing these London games so often, and completely blowing out in them with such monotonous regularity, is not a coincidence and given that it’s happening despite the rotation of managers and players it’s not something to lay solely at Chris Ramsey’s door.

Another running theme is the timing of the goals. QPR are out of these matches before they’re in them. On our last three visits to Craven Cottage we’ve conceded goals on 1, 2, 8, 19, 20, 22, 31, 38 and 41 minutes’. At Palace we conceded after 21, 40 and 42. At Chelsea they went in on 1, 13, 19 and 25. At Tottenham they scored on 12, 30 and 37. Six games there, Rangers never anything less than 3-0 down at half time. Games over before they’ve begun.

It’s unprofessional, or arrogant, or naïve, or a combination of the three. On these highly charged occasions it’s important to get into the game, to build a platform. In that first ten minutes you don’t give possession away cheaply, you work the ball around and give everybody a touch, you don’t take risks, you don’t over commit, you get in your shape and settle into the task. Get a shot off early if you can, give the keeper a loosener. Snap into a few tackles, let them know you’re there and they’re in a game. Concede a couple of free kicks, disrupt their rhythm, niggle. Once that foothold is gained, then grow from there into a more expansive game if that’s the plan. Rugby league coaches call it “getting into the arm wrestle”. Simply put, don’t get beaten before you’ve got started.

QPR turn up in these fixtures and seem to think they can just tippy tappy about and do as they please and Fulham, or Palace, or Spurs, or Chelsea are just going to stand there and fucking admire it. QPR kicked off last night. They had the kick off. Free possession, on the centre spot, without an opponent within ten yards of them. They could have done any number of things with that, but a sensible idea might have been to hold onto possession for a few passes, give players an early touch, get Fulham running early. Instead they did what they’ve done with every single kick off they’ve had this season – overloaded the right side, laid it back to one of the deep lying midfielders, and then pumped it high into the air. On almost every occasion so far this season it’s bounced out for a throw in. This time it flew straight onto Richard Stearman’s head. Either way, four seconds in, and free, uncontested possession had been handed straight back.

Thirty seconds later the ball was deep in QPR territory, being shepherded behind for a Fulham corner by Karl Henry, to the bemusement of the Fulham players in attendance, presumably because he believed it was going to be a goal kick for some weird or wonderful reason. It was a piece of play so moronic, so lacking in concentration, that even the linesman standing three yards away struggled to believe what he’d seen and paused for a moment, wondering if he’d missed something, before signalling for a corner. Two Sunday League-standard pieces of play in the first 30 seconds and two more followed in the next 30. First Rob Green, who has been in dreadful form throughout 2015 whatever his happy band of fan club members say or believe, came out for the corner and dropped it under no pressure. Then when Fulham worked the ball wide, Matt Phillips stood off James Husband and allowed him to deliver a beautiful left footed cross that Moussa Dembele could hardly miss from six yards out dead centre of goal. Within a minute of starting the game in possession on halfway, QPR had contrived to concede a goal of pathetically amateur standard.

At this point our group agreed we would leave when it got to 4-0. And it was a ‘when’ rather than an ‘if’. When you’ve followed this club away from home as regularly as we have for the past few years you recognise the signs, even after sixty seconds, and you know what the result will be and you know there’s no stopping it. Sick and tired of being let down, we were back in the Boathouse in Putney before the full time whistle.

One thing Chris Ramsey can’t really be blamed or legislate for is players who were fantastic one week turning into dog chocolate the next. At Hull a week ago, where QPR did stay in shape and did establish themselves in the game and did play well, the three best players in Hoops were Charlie Austin, Ale Faurlin and Gabrielle Angella. Here, the latter two were just about the worst. Faurlin, in particular, had his worst ever game for the club – calmly passing the ball straight to Ben Pringle on the edge of his own area after 20 minutes allowing the former Rotherham man to stroke the ball into the corner of the net.

The only slight hint that things may turn out differently came after a quarter of an hour when Rangers put together their one and only move of the match, working Massimo Luongo free in the penalty box with four crisp, one-touch passes. But the Australian, as he had done against Blackburn, bottled out at the crucial moment and finished weakly into the side netting. That was it by way of response. It was 2-0 soon after, and 3-0 soon after that.

Twice Fulham got Tom Cairney free, one on one with Faurlin, at the back post for deep corners. Twice the Argentinean got involved in dangerous wrestling games with him. Twice referee Kevin Friend could have awarded penalties. Husband was roasting Perch, crossing low after 24 minutes forcing Angella to clear behind inside his six yard box. The Italian, supposed to be our ball playing centre half, distributed the ball here with all the accuracy and finesse of a drunk giraffe. McCormack’s third, crisply finished from Cairney’s pass on the half hour, was embarrassingly easy.

The mood in the away end was ugly by this point, having been so loud and supportive to start with. The travelling thousands were being publicly humiliated by their team yet again, and they didn’t like it one bit. The idea behind the Mackie substitution was grounded in some logic – switch to 4-4-2, drop two traditional wingers back in front of the full backs for some cover and defensive help, introduce a willing runner – but the game had already gone and it only served to anger Chery, and further rile the away supporters who he stormed out in front of. Ramsey was harangued on the long walk across the pitch at half time. His persistence with Perch and Henry in particular a theme of the half time ranting.

It never rains. Mackie was withdrawn injured at half time after just ten minutes of action. Charlie Austin soon followed him with a worrying knock. Chasing the game, Rangers were left with four defenders and six midfielders – somewhere Paul Hart bristled with pride. With Sebastien Polter nursing a hamstring injury, that’s something we might have to get used to ahead of Bolton next week. Leroy Fer’s re-appearance after a long injury absence provided some solace, but it didn’t stem the tide.

The away end went all the way through anger into black humour, and sang to the end. The performance went all the way through inept and embarrassing to catastrophically hideous. The fourth goal, scrambled in from close range by McCormack in farcical circumstances after Angella had hit his own cross bar then hung out a lazy leg to try and divert the rebound away, summed it all up and we were away down the steps before it even hit the net.

QPR have now conceded 17 goals in nine matches, only bottom of the table Bristol City have conceded more.

Absolutely fucking abysmal.

Links >>> Knee Jerks >>> Ratings and Reports >>> Photo Gallery >>> Message Board Match Thread

Fulham: Lonergan 6; Fredericks 7 (Voser 77, -), Stearman 7, Ream 6, Husband 8; Cairney 8, Tunnicliffe 6, O’Hara 7 (Christensen 65, -), Pringle 8; McCormack 8; Dembele 7 (Woodrow 76, -)

Subs not used: Lewis, Mattila, Kavanagh, Burn

Goals: Dembele 1 (assisted Husband), Pringle 18 (assisted Faurlin), McCormack 30 (assisted Cairney), 62 (assisted Angella)

QPR: Green 3; Perch 2, Angella 2, Onuoha 2, Konchesky 2; Faurlin 2, Henry 2; Phillips 3, Luongo 3, Chery 3 (Mackie 35, - (Fer 45, 5)); Austin 4 (Tozser 59, 5)

Subs Not Used: Hall, Smithies, Doughty, Gladwin

Bookings: Perch 79 (foul)

QPR Star Man – N/A

Referee – Kevin Friend (Leicestershire) 7 Guessed at bits and pieces, getting some right and some wrong. Little to referee in an uncompetitive game.

Attendance – 19,784 (4,500 QPR approx) The travelling support was a credit to the club. Early leavers, us included, entirely forgiven. Medals for those who stayed and sang to the end. You all deserve so much better than this.

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GetMeRangers added 22:35 - Sep 26
You should be congratulated on writing a report on a performance that didnt deserve one... and you are inflicting more upon yourself with the Podcast on Monday, I believe

Now questioning my sanity in standing in the Bees end, as couldnt get a tciket for the away end... could be very grim indeed

2Thomas2Bowles added 22:44 - Sep 26
CR said after the game it was down to individual errors, true to some extent but went on to say, not tactical errors, omg, sort of leaves you speechless

Marshy added 00:10 - Sep 27
Fulham played exceptionally well, but we made it far too easy for them. It was a pathetic performance of monumental proportions, with the players completely clueless on how to contain and control any moment of the 90 minutes, and the manager even more clueless on employing any rational tactics. I was in the camp of let's give Ramsey a chance, but my patience has run out. It's clear that whilst he might be a decent coach, he is not a manager that will be able to take our club forward. If we could get someone decent in to "help" CR I'd be happy with that, but if this is either not possible or unrealistic, then regretfully we have to get rid now! The reality is we won't. We will leave it too late and too long as we always do when faced with these situations. TF and the board need to be strong, decisive and resolute. Unfortunately not a chance in hell of that happening.

ScubaHoop added 02:11 - Sep 27
Truly horrible, the only consolation for the entire day was when I read Bluce Ree's post 'we're gonna piss in their faces with a cock made of goals' in the match thread. Genius.

QPRinCT added 06:39 - Sep 27
Great report as always, Clive!
This made me halt: " It looked like they’d watched every QPR game so far this season and meticulously picked areas they could exploit..."
Why are QPR not doing this to their opponents? Why is there no plan? No thought?

stevec added 08:32 - Sep 27
Great report as ever but whilst I get your local derby analogy I think it's slightly missing the point. This kind of result has been coming, whether North or south. We have a set of players now who are, shall we say, not too keen in the strong arm department. The type who's heads go down at the slightest hint of adversity. The only difference was Fulham put the ball where others failed.

If by now Ramsey has been unable to convince them of the need to put themselves about, get tackle after tackle in, close down, then I'm afraid he is not the solution.

davman added 08:47 - Sep 27
I see the same main issue we had before Warnock got here. Where are the Leaders ON the pitch? I rarely see anyone shouting, pointing, leading. Its what Derry and Hill gave to us and its what's needed.

Christ, Steve Palmer had to do it all those years ago. We are better being organised during game time, but who is the leader of that lot?

It's getting thoroughly depressing following this lot AGAIN. There is nothing in life that punishes you like a rubbish football team. If it were your job, your mates or even your wife / girlfriend, you'd get shot of the hurt and pain, but we can't do that, can we???

wrinklyhoop added 09:11 - Sep 27
Kudos for writing anything about that Clive. Horrible night and even more concerning is Ramsay putting the defeat down to 'individual errors' not tactics. Aren't they what happens when you've got the tactics so wrong that players are totally under the cosh?

paesanu added 09:34 - Sep 27
As always, putting into words the thoughts swirling and fogging our heads.

Special mention to O'Hara, we made him look like he should be on the front cover of Fifa 16. That's hard to digest.

HastingsRanger added 09:48 - Sep 27
Report excellent and comments above very valid too. It was as if Rangers had just had a Sunday lunch or had mistakenly thought the game was at 3pm the following day. They looked woefully unprepared for the match.

Partly seems to be fitness, or is it attitude. At points Rangers players were simply being outrun.

Individual errors may have led to goals but the majority of the game R's lacked fluency or shape.

The full backs were particularly poor and Fulham clearly researched that. Is Onuoha really a captain (Who else is there)? The midfield seemed static in back tracking and didn't seem to have an awareness of each other, in the way Fulham did.

Plain worrying!


Addinall added 12:17 - Sep 27
I've watched the Rangers since 1947 and with all the highs,and rather more lows,this performance left me totally deflated. I agree with with your overall assessment completely.

However at the risk of incurring your wrath,I wonder just how you justify a rating of 3 for Green's performance.I don't think he was culpable for any of the goals directly and had little
chance of saving them.

If fumbling one cross (which subsequently was put safely into touch) is the reason then I
presume a minus rating will be due when he really does have a stinker.

cranieboy added 12:17 - Sep 27
We never seem to be motivated when it comes to derbies or tv games, this has been going on for a while now. Of the players and tactics, Ramsey seems to be setting us up to play a pass and move game going forward but all we do is help the ball forward and hope and without a big target man to even challenge. As a result the defence is left hopelessly exposed, especially out wide. It doesn't help that our two holding midfielders are then having to push further up to try and fill the space left by our front four being to far up the pitch when we don't have the ball (more often than not), hampered further by the fact that Faurlin is not very quick and Henry is not very good and doesn't seem to be doing his main job which is to break up the oppositions play. We obviously need a mobile defensive midfielder who can then simply retain posession when we do have the ball but also team mates who are also keen to receive the ball and move enough to make it work. We also need to be a better unit throughout the team to make this system or any other work, there is obvious gaps in front of the fullbacks and in front of the deep lying midfielders, it reminds me a bit of England in the last World cup, none of the front four seem to know or have been instructed as to how to revert back to a defensive shape when without the ball or even to defend from the front, having said all of that it is still useless if one of your defensive minded players then gives the ball straight to the opposition in your own danger zone, but then maybe that is a product of the players who should be getting closer to our our goal at times to create options for passes so it wouldn't have to be lumped forward or passed square to Karl Henry. At the end of the day I guess all of this comes back to the manager, I like the system he is playing but it will only work if all the players want the ball, work hard all over the pitch and show some intelligence and movement to defend and attack as one , its great to watch when you have the players for it, I'm just not sure we have.

Addinall added 12:19 - Sep 27
I've watched the Rangers since 1947 and with all the highs,and rather more lows,this performance left me totally deflated. I agree with with your overall assessment completely.

However at the risk of incurring your wrath,I wonder just how you justify a rating of 3 for Green's performance.I don't think he was culpable for any of the goals directly and had little
chance of saving them.

If fumbling one cross (which subsequently was put safely into touch) is the reason then I
presume a minus rating will be due when he really does have a stinker.

shooters47 added 13:32 - Sep 27
Addinall, Green deserves a 3 every week!! Clive, can you suggest to the club that they sell tickets only to half time for Fulham games as never been guilty recently of staying past then!! Did anybody spot Chery at the Bus Stop? and how does Henry get picked every week, unbelievable..

Addinall added 16:06 - Sep 27
Shooters.You really don't like him do you?How can you possibly justify thatcomment?

Northernr added 17:59 - Sep 27
First goal comes as a result of him strolling off his line and dropping a cross under no pressure. He doesn't do it, goal doesn't go in, goal doesn't go in, tone of game changes. I'm not having him mate, I don't care if I'm marking him harshly. Even when he was on top form he was still only a shot stopper, his decision making and kicking was dreadful, Now his decision making and kicking is still dreadful, he's not saving shots and he's costing us a goal a month.

Addinall added 18:45 - Sep 27
Thanks for agreeing the mark was harsh.Your view of his overall performance is of course entirely up to you and I accept it is as valid as anybodies.But not the 3.


TacticalR added 21:32 - Sep 27
Thanks for your report, and a bit of perspective on our long-standing weakness in London derbies.

Fulham played passing football, we played hit and hope football. Fulham had their players spaced apart, we had players bunched together. Result: we got cut to pieces. Everybody had a bad game, and if Faurlin has a bad game then the wheels really start to come off. The centre-backs looked terrible, but they were exposed by the defensive two in front of them, and our full backs also got caught too far forward. Our hit and hope football also enabled Fulham to cut off the supply to Austin.

I really wanted us to keep Phillips, but it is worrying how he can completely disappear from a game.

We are very lacking in leaders, especially in defence. Onuoha and Angella don't work as a pair. Is it time for Hill to come back for one last gig?

SimonJames added 21:42 - Sep 27
I'm pretty sure I heard Ian Holloway (on Absolute Radio's Rock & Roll Football) say to Ian Wright, that Fulham's was the best performance he'd seen in the Championship all season.

probbo added 22:30 - Sep 27
We should go to 4-4-2. Austin needs a foil for him upfront. As a lone striker he looked totally out of the action on Friday although admittedly that was probably due to what was going on behind him. The defence was a total shambles, you see more cohesive units over the parks on a Sunday. Fair point from Hastings about Onuoha as Captain. I'm not necessarily in the 'we should have kept Barton' camp but he was good at this level 2 seasons ago. Worrying times - again!

romfordranger added 22:54 - Sep 27
This was probably the worst I have felt for a while after the game, the journey home to Romford seemed to take forever, and no time to get it out of the system before going to bed. A sleepless night, and downstairs at 3 in the morning cursing the day I chose to support QPR as a 6 year old, certainly many more lows than highs over the past 40 years. We just seemed so ill - prepared for the game, certain players just didn't show up and the team is lacking leaders. Ramsey only got the job due to being Les Ferdinand's pal, and will soon be found to be completely out of his depth. The best thing the club could do is appoint an experienced no 2 to sort the defence out. I would love to see someone like Gerry Francis back. If Ramsey is left to his own devices, things won't change. We will continue to leak goals, take a few hammerings, and flirt with relegation. He is not the man for the job, but I think the club will stick with him anyway, its going to be a long and painful season.

bacardiinbrissie added 01:04 - Sep 28
Cheers Clive,
another good report that opens my eyes to a few unknown facts (goals etc)
i enjoyed it even if some on another site didnt and "stooped that low".
Hope you got the apology you deserved and keep the reports comning, no matter how depressing the games are. Some of us sad gits were up at 4am watching this crap !

snanker added 01:44 - Sep 28
Phew where do you start after that "effort" ! Clive you've been kind to a rabble. It was like watching a Vauxhall Conf. side wearing cement boots ! The lethargy and in general couldn't give a toss attitude ! I commented 3-4 weeks ago about the lack of leadership on the park and it was embarrassing to see no one showing some back bone and aggression. Fulham did play well but we gave them MORE space than the Milky Way. It will be particularly interesting to see what response we get as the pressure at home v Bolton builds from the natives. Defeat there and CR will be for the chop despite players missing through injury. Clint Hill has more steel in his little finger than what this lot showed Friday night. This was not a one off. This has been coming for a while now & defensively you can see it especially in the new starters Perch looked like he was on one for most of the game and Angell looked dizzy & Konchesky bewildered. ! Green has done his dash & time to give Smithies a guaranteed run in goal. A good looking squad on paper but a patchy rudderless workforce going through the motions on the pitch

shooters47 added 08:24 - Sep 28
Addinall, sorry for delay but not a case of liking or disliking him and I believe Northernr's reply was enough said re his performances this season. Obvious why no other club wanted him as they must have been watching as well.

qprninja added 09:20 - Sep 28
I think the fact that we only had one yellow card (Perch's obligatory booking for being unable to tackle properly) in a local derby speaks volumes. Where was the effort, the aggression, the pair of b*ll*cks?! I'm sure Ned is a nice chap an all, but where was his leadership on Friday night, no real reaction from him all night as the goals flew in. Get mad, issue some roastings to those not getting stuck in. Alan McDonald must be turning in his grave.

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