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QPR shake London derby monkey in fine style – report
Sunday, 13th Mar 2016 19:00 by Clive Whittingham

QPR finally got a London derby win at the seventeenth time of asking with a comprehensive 3-0 hammering of near-neighbours Brentford on Saturday.

Back to back wins for the first time in his reign, now just two defeats in a dozen games and another clean sheet for a rapidly-improving defence – Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s tea will be tasting all the sweeter this Sunday morning.

QPR had lost all four London derbies this season prior to Saturday, scoring just once in the process, including a 1-0 loss at Griffin Park against Brentford towards the end of Chris Ramsey’s reign. That extended their winless run against neighbouring capital clubs to 16, but that monkey was unceremoniously dumped from Rangers’ backs and beaten to a bloody pulp in a comprehensive victory against the Bees at Loftus Road on Saturday.

It’s only seven days since a second half surrender at Milton Keynes so wet and limp it made Arsenal look like World Stare Out Champion Sigmund ‘Siggy’ Spatsky, so it’s important not to get too carried away. This remains a work in progress, still prone to moments of complete collapse, and possibly ultimately doomed to failure.

But, now 19 games into Hasselbaink’s reign, obvious signs of progress can be seen. Rangers have won three of the last four games without conceding a goal, and are clocking up the victories at Loftus Road in increasingly confident and comprehensive style. This 3-0 win moved things up another notch from the 2-0 successes against Birmingham and Derby in more ways than simply the scoreboard although, again, worth sounding a note of caution – Brentford are about as poor a team as we’ve seen in Shepherd’s Bush this season.

QPR had shape, game plan, fitness and solidity sadly lacking before Christmas. They were led from the front by Seb Polter, whose overly-physical style snapped referee Fred Graham’s patience and brought him a yellow card before half time but also meant Brentford’s defence was unable to play the ball out from the back as it wished. Forced back, and comprehensively beaten for strength by QPR’s rudimentary centre forward, the Bees’ back four ceded acres of space directly in front of them where Tjaronn Chery and Junior Hoilett, the two outstanding home players on the day, were able to run amok.

Hoilett, in particular, played like a man possessed. He was fouled after six minutes – referee Graham expertly seeing a potential advantage through before bringing play back for the free kick – allowing Ale Faurlin to curl a 25 yard dead ball round the wall but straight at visiting goalkeeper David Button. Then he played Tjaronn Chery into space in the area but his shot straight at the keeper from an impossible angle would have been better as a pass back to Polter awaiting a tap in. A low drive from the edge of the area, comfortably saved by Button, got the Canadian’s eye in before the main event on the half hour.

Collecting the ball just the right side of the halfway line he’ll have been grateful that Alan McCormack’s challenge on him was so half-hearted and uncommitted, but having been able to move into space 30 yards from goal relatively easily there was nothing simple about a spectacular curling finish into the far corner of the net, all the way round Button and back again into the side netting. That’s probably the QPR Goal of the Season tied up right there. Just a week after the first one Mrs Hoilett's vagina may not be keen, but maybe Junior should consider fathering children more often.

Brentford had enjoyed chances of their own to this point. With former Shrewsbury man Ryan Woods their outstanding player in midfield, they profited first from a loose Gabrielle Angella pass only for Sergi Canos to drag his shot wide from the edge of the box, then Ale Faurlin was slow to get across and shut down Alan Judge who cracked one wide from similar range. Later, when Woods fizzed an inch-perfect 50-yard ball out to the left flank, Canos was able to cut inside and smack a 25 yarder into the side netting with the visiting Brentford fans at the other end on their feet believing they’d scored.

Immediately after the goal Woods, who will surely be attracting interest like so many other recently departed Brentford players on this evidence, pinged one off the base of the post from the best part of 35 yards as the visitors looked for an immediate equaliser. But he faded from the game in the second half as Karl Henry’s influence on the midfield grew – the pair clashed immediately after the break when Woods objected to a Henry tackle and both were yellow carded but while the Brentford man didn’t regain his temper or his composure for the rest of the game, Henry calmly turned in his best performance of the season so far.

Overall, Brentford were poor. With pint-sized Alan Judge as a lone striker they lacked any kind of presence to trouble Angella or Clint Hill, once again excellent at centre half despite playing with a hamstring injury. They would try and play out from defence time and time again but with only Woods in the midfield capable of passing the ball creatively, and McCormack the link man between the two banks of four looking behaving and playing like that 40-something year old who only gets in the pub team because he collects the subs and gets his wife to wash the kit, it just didn’t work for them. QPR’s high press, high work rate and physical approach combated the strategy perfectly and with no plan B to speak of, Dean Smith’s team finished the day well-beaten. Polter may not be pretty, or technically brilliant, but he enables QPR to play high up the pitch and provides a presence completely lacking in this Brentford side.

They complained about a foul from Nedum Onuoha in the build up to the second, played through by the excellent Chery and finished firmly by tireless Seb Polter, but in truth it was the sort of firm and fair challenge Fred Graham had allowed to go all afternoon, making for a much better spectacle than overly-officiated games. Only Junior Hoilett could feel hard done to by the referee, harshly booked for a nothing tackle straight after half time, but coming immediately after the Henry and Woods fracas that felt like intelligent game and man management from the official.

The intensity, so lacking in QPR’s game on these all-London occasions before, was all coming from the hosts and the second goal was merely a product of that. Polter deserved to be on the scoresheet, and revelled in the whole experience. So awkward with the ball, the German is nevertheless vital to the way Hasselbaink wants this group of players to go about their work.

Woods waning, game now over, Brentford quickly shipped a third when they once more conceded possession in their own half and were quickly swamped by onrushing blue and white shirts. This time Ale Faurlin played a cute ball through for Chery who finished crisply into the corner before the goalkeeper was set. Now eight goals in 19 starts for the Dutchman, making hay in the space created by the battering ram in front of him, his form at ‘ten’ is a real cause for optimism heading into 2016/17.

There were scares to come – Faurlin clearing one almost off the line after a corner resulted in a scramble, then Alex Smithies flinging himself up to his left to make the save of the game when substitute Konstantin Kerschbaumer hit a beautiful first time shot from well outside the area. On a day when The Daily Mail called accident-prone and now thankfully absent Robert Green “clearly still the best goalkeeper at the club” – the journalist no doubt speaking from the experience of attending the majority of QPR matches this season I’m sure – this one-handed flick over the bar to preserve a sixth clean sheet in 11 outings re-affirmed Smithies growing influence on the team and ascension in form. Green isn’t even the second-best goalkeeper at QPR these days.

Junior Hoilett hit a poor shot into the side netting when well-placed to get the second goal his performance deserved, and there was a late yellow card for substitute Massimo Luongo for a poor tackle, but the game drifted to happy conclusion in the spring sunshine. QPR, in reality, have very little to play for this season, but performances and work rate and improving rather than tailing off into an early summer holiday. This was typified by Hill at one end, playing 180 minutes this week on an injury that would see most players sit out for a month, Henry in the middle who thoroughly deserved his standing ovation from a previously hostile crowd when he was substituted, and Polter up front who is fiercely effective when he’s in this mood. With Smithies in goal that’s quite a spine, and it’s allowing the likes of Chery, Hoilett and Perch – though, sadly, not the rather half-arsed Matt Phillips – to really start finding some consistent form for the first time this season. The players came together on the field at the end to celebrate as if these three points meant much more.

And then we all went back to the pub for buckets of Italian lager and an early evening Chelsea defeat on the TV. Things might, finally, be looking up.

Links >>> Photo Gallery >>> Rating and Reports >>> Message Board Match Thread

QPR: Smithies 6; Onuoha 7, Angella 6, Hill 7, Perch 7; Faurlin 6, Henry 8 (El Khayati 82, -); Phillips 6, Chery 8 (Luongo 74, 6), Hoilett 8; Polter 8 (Mackie 85, -)

Subs not used: Washington, Tozser, Ingram, Kpekawa

Goals: Hoilett 38 (unassisted), Polter 66 (assisted Chery), Chery 71 (assisted Faurlin)

Bookings: Polter 45 (repetitive fouling), Henry 48 (foul), Hoilett 49 (foul), Luongo 90+1 (foul)

Brentford: Button 5; Yennaris 5, Dean 5, Barbet 5, Bidwell 5; McCormack 4; Canos 6 (Vibe 64, 5) McEachran 5 (Kerschbaumer 76, 5), Woods 7, Swift 5 (Saunders 76, 5), Judge 6

Subs not used: Djuricin, Bonham, O’Connell, Clarke

Bookings: Canos 32 (foul), Woods 48 (retaltiation)

QPR Star Man – Junior Hoilett 8 A persistent threat before his wonderful first goal, he upped it another notch immediately after that with the confidence it gave him and Brentford weren’t able to cope with him or Tjaronn Chery behind Seb Polter.

Referee – Fred Graham (Essex) 8 Brentford have complained about a foul in the lead up to the second goal but it looked like a firm, fair tackle to me. No doubt you’d usually get a free kick for it, but this referee seemed keen to give the game every chance and let plenty go and the spectacle was much the better for it. Coped with the flair up between mason and Henry calmly without the need for a rash red card, and although the yellow card for Hoilett immediately after that seemed very harsh it was effective game and man management to stop tempers boiling over. One of the better ones we’ve had this season.

Attendance – 17,894 (3,100 Brentford approx) A standing ovation for Karl Henry. Things changing for the better on and off the field.

The Twitter @loftforwords

Pictures – Action Images

Photo: Action Images

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Patrick added 19:22 - Mar 13
I know Junior and Chery provided the bells and whistles, but let's give credit to the young man doing the heavy lifting. For me, Seb Polter MOTM by a mile.

Northernr added 19:29 - Mar 13
Could easily have been, although I get grief for my Polter love in F Block so gave it to the bells and whistles people. All shaping up rather nicely. Interesting what happens with Hoilett and Henry now - two players we previously couldn't wait to release this summer now giving us a bit of a headache.

YorkRanger added 19:38 - Mar 13
At the right price I'd give both Hoilett and Henry another contract

Myke added 19:56 - Mar 13
Thanks Clive, seems to have been one of the more enjoyable games of the season and certainly the best derby game. Our home form is steadily improving but we need to do better away. Like, you say, only a week since the embarrassing collapse at the equally poor MK Dons. I feel Hoilett has only roused himself as he needs a new contract and would quickly regress if he was offered one. Henry is a more honest (if more limited) player and might have something to offer next season

Myke added 19:59 - Mar 13
Washington not getting any game time-interesting. Thought it might have been a good chance to break his duck for the last 15 mins or so.

Northernr added 20:23 - Mar 13
I make you right Myke - touch of the Matthew Rose about form improving miraculously just as a contract is about to end. Hoilett can't stay here on his current Mark Hughes-era money anyway so he'd have to accept a big reduction. I'd be wary.

DejR_vu added 21:49 - Mar 13
'Mrs Hoilett's vagina may not be keen, but maybe Junior should consider fathering children more often.' Now there's a line I never thought I would read in a football report.

colsson added 23:23 - Mar 13
Would have liked to see Washington and El Khayati brought on once we went three up, Couldn't see Philips stayed on for 90 mins when he was playing so poorly otherwise well deserved win against a poor Brentford side.

Kaos_Agent added 00:50 - Mar 14
Thanks Clive. A fine week to be writing on QPR. What would have been the betting odds that you would award 8 each to the referee and Junior? About 8 million to one, I expect. I'd dearly like to believe that his improvement is due to changed circumstances all round (JFH & coaches/new Dad/playing well internationally) than opportunistic baiting for a new contract. Who knows? As others have said, I'd take him on reduced wages but if he keeps playing like this he will be noticed by PL teams.

062259 added 02:23 - Mar 14
Hoilett is fragile as he has proved time and again these past 4 years. I am highly suspicious of his resurgence, however welcome it appears. I would not miss him one jot. Phillips will hopefully go to West Brom for whatever the club can get; he too is inconsistent and overpaid for what is basically one influential performance every 4 games or so. Time to move on from these guys.

Recoilboss added 08:52 - Mar 14
Think we should leave Mrs Hoilett's nether regions out of this frankly.

pedrosqpr added 09:00 - Mar 14
Really enjoying the fact we go for 90 + minutes , I wondered around Christmas why Jfh had the team working so hard in training with so many fixtures, what would have been if we were fit at the beginning of the season , lessons learnt ha ha.
Seb Polter has said that he wasn't fit and is looking forward to a tough pre season, so nice to here a young player with a work ethic, fast becoming a cult hero , would like to think he will improve more in the next few games because I agree with you Clive he is a big part in the way we play.

adhoc_qpr added 09:13 - Mar 14
Great report as always!

Hoillett is never going to re-sign for a 70% pay cut, so it's a bit of a non-starter.

Hopefully El Khayati and Washington will come up to speed over the last 9 games and will be well positioned to push on next season.

wrinklyhoop added 09:15 - Mar 14
Very enjoyable game. I was amazed Philips played the 90, his indifference stood out even more than usual, thanks to the energy of the rest. I agree the ref's approach was refreshing, and allowed the game to flow, usually to our advantage, although how McCormack escaped a booking I don't know - he spent most of the game looking like he could start a fight in an empty room. To cap it off, the scum were dumped out of the Cup by their reject striker. Surely you could have watched that with something better than Italian lager, especially in a Fullers house!

SomersetHoops added 11:20 - Mar 14
I was at this game and thought it was much tighter than the result indicated. I think with a decent striker, Brentford could have made the game much closer. I saw at least 3 very important potential goal saving tackles from Clint Hill often with him at full stretch to the point that I was concerned he would injure himself. Another great performance from him.

I expect Hoilet is playing to impress not just us, but prospective new employers which is a shame as he could have made such a difference if he played with this quality during the whole of his stay at LR. I suppose even if he has 'turned a corner' we won't be able to afford to renew his contract.

Phillips was not an obvious presence in this game and without offering anything in attack made his lack of covering at the back even more of a luxury we can't and shouldn't afford. I thought he should have been swapped for Luongo much earlier than Luongo's eventual appearance, although it may be Luongo is playing back in after injury.

A great game though and about time we won a London derby thanks to great effort by the team in general.

sexton added 15:12 - Mar 14
I thought McCormack was shown a yellow for dissent after the second goal - suggesting to the ref it was a foul?

romfordranger added 17:23 - Mar 14
Wow, two wins in a week and two fairly decent performances, thought I was dreaming. Having Hill at the back makes a huge difference, if only he was 10 years younger. Thought the scoreline flattered us a bit, but Brentford's defence was weak. Unlikely to see Hoillet and Philips next season, so much depends on the reinforcements in the pre-season. Polter was my man of match, thought his work rate was excellent, a real handfull and really deserved his goal.

izlingtonhoop added 17:28 - Mar 14
Just a week after her first child Mrs Hoilett may not be keen, but maybe Junior should consider fathering children more often.

There, fixed that for you

Patrick added 18:38 - Mar 14
So glad I'm not alone in my Polterlove. This young man came from German lower leagues, got dog's abuse from some of our fans, and has come on in leaps and bounds this season. As for Hoilet and Philips - a pair of light bulbs. "The lights are on. The lights are off. The lights are on. The lights are off." (Check the "installation" at Tate Modern a few years ago - possibly another first for LFW?!) We can't afford any more light bulb players. They could leave and be replaced tomorrow by Nasser and Washington, and you know what? We'd be alright.

extratimeR added 21:48 - Mar 14
Thanks Clive

Great afternoon out at Loftus Road, very good atmosphere and sense of humour of crowd has returned, everyone played well, (although Phillips lack of discipline and failure to track back is causing Ned lots of problems, ), they had words in the second half.

When Loftus Road is like this, (and on Tuesday), it augurs well for the future, really enjoyed the first four pints and watching you know who getting thrashed, (deservedly, after the game.

Yes, McCormack really is awful, as mentioned he actually gave up chasing Junior for the First goal, and their were verbal's after the third goal, as Brentford players turned on him for going AWOL.

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