Perch's stupidity opens door to lowly Wolves - Report
Friday, 2nd Dec 2016 17:06 by Clive Whittingham
A first half red card for James Perch set QPR up for a defeat at home to a Wolves side winless in nine prior to kick off at Loftus Road on Thursday night.
One of those nights that has you wondering what the point of this all is.
Two poor teams, both out of form, both lacking confidence, that nobody outside their dwindling support bases wants to watch, moved to a day and kick off time that meant even their own die hards didn’t want to go so it could be broadcast to a television audience so miniscule it would embarrass the breakfast show on The Gospel Channel. Swathes of empty seats, a freezing cold night, a match of abysmal quality strangled half to death by exactly the sort of pedantic, unfeeling, by-the-book knob rot that players, managers and supporters detest but the authorities love to reward with promotions to the Premier League. A game swung decisively by a moronic piece of play from a seemingly terminally stupid over-paid footballer who’d done exactly the same thing in exactly the same circumstances in the previous match and learnt the square root of fuck all from it.
Football is part of the entertainment business apparently. Queens Park Rangers v Wolverhampton Wanderers on a Thursday night makes an episode of The X Factor look like the 1974 performance from Frank Sinatra and The Young Thundering Herd at Madison Square Garden. The notion that there were even 12,222 inside Loftus Road to see it is as fanciful as the suggestion that Sandro is only 27-years-old.
This was the third game of Ian Holloway’s second spell in charge of Rangers and sadly things have got progressively worse after that initial excellent first half against Norwich City. What was so good about that was the switch to a wing back system that got players back into their favoured positions, while maintaining Tjaronn Chery at ten and allowing the R’s to play with two strikers. A 3-0 defeat at Ipswich, an odd game that Rangers could have won but also might have lost 5-0, prompted a change for the visit of Paul Lambert’s side to, in truth, a bit of a mess of a 4-1-3-2 set up – too narrow, no width at all. But it's a first attempt as Holloway tries to get to grips with a squad over burdened with 'tens', and with several non-English speakers among the group.
The ‘one’ was Grant Hall, who’d been encouraged to carry the ball out of defence when Rangers had used a back three lately with impressive results, and now stepped up into a midfield position for the first time during his QPR career. Somewhere out there Steve Palmer smiled knowingly. Hall went close to scoring early as well, catching a volley sweetly on the edge of the box in the ninth minute but seeing it deflected away from the top bins and out for a corner by Danny Batth.
And so began An Audience With Tim Robinson – a show even harder to sell tickets for than QPR v Wolves, although sadly we were all treated to it as an added bonus of our attendance at the main event. Like turning up to The Life and Times of Piers Morgan and finding out the warm up act is Katie Hopkins reading passages from her newspaper columns.
Robinson had already awarded Wolves a free kick from QPR’s first corner of the game when goalkeeper Carl Ikeme seemed to simply fumble the ball in a crowded six yard box. This time the former QPR loanee definitely dropped it clean, under no pressure at all, and yet the whistle was once again blown immediately and the visitors awarded a free kick. This continued all half to the point where corners became completely pointless – player trots over to take it, players come up from the back to attack it, ball comes over, whistle gets blown, free kick the other way. I wondered if it might be worth saving time and just forfeiting them. “Corner”, “nah you’re alright ref, let them have a goal kick and let’s at least try and get home before first light you pedantic schlong”.
Odd that never once in these gatherings of players in the penalty area did Robinson feel the defending team had sinned. I mean, it’s the defending team more likely to commit a foul isn’t it? They’re the ones trying to stop the goal, they’re the ones doing the blocking. But no, every Wolves corner was immediately a QPR free kick, every QPR corner immediately a Wolves free kick, and nothing that anybody said or did was going to sway Robinson from his manic obsession that whatever happened at Loftus Road on Thursday night, nobody was going to be scoring from a wide set piece on his watch.
That didn’t, however, stop James Perch having a little go at changing the official’s mind. Having, according to Holloway, pointed out that Ikeme had merely dropped the ball, as Ikeme is rather prone to doing, the full back was immediately yellow carded. This under the new dissent rules introduced this season which still allow players to scream at referees, still allow Wayne Rooney to follow the man in black around for the entire game trying to officiate it for him, but do not allow any movement of the hands or arms to express displeasure at whatever bullshit has been awarded this time – because that, of course, looks bad.
Some sympathy for Perch there then, a nonsense yellow card for mildly complaining about a crap decision by a terrible referee, but none for what he did next.
The match, such as it was, trudged on through another 20 minutes or so at a pace that made Bob Malcolm look like Usain Bolt. Everything was a free kick. Everything. Everything. That’s a free kick. That’s a free kick. That’s a free kick. This is a free kick. Don’t do that. Stop doing that. Don’t do that either. Whistle. Whistle. Whistle. Stop. Start. Stop. Whistle. Don’t do that. That’s a free kick. No more of that. Free kick there. That’s a free kick. That’s a foul. This is a foul. Foul there. That’s a free kick. Not there. No, there. There. Not there. Take that again. Free kick. Everything that is, apart from a a very good shout for a handball in the Wolves area by Doherty midway through the first half. That was a corner apparently. Which was then, as per the script, immediately turned round into a Wolves free kick.
Robinson like the worst kind of pernickety, nagging, relentless other half who you end up beating to death with the frying pan after 20 years and instructing your lawyer with a smile “when they strap me to the chair please let the people know the murder was just”. Why do people like this go into refereeing? What possible pleasure can they get from choking already poor football matches to death?
The desire to see somebody remove the whistle from Robinson’s possession and bury it so far up his arse he’d need horribly invasive surgery to ever be able to find and use it again was so overwhelming I almost went down there and did it myself. Of the first 35 minutes, I’d estimate the ball was in play for about 48 seconds, during which time Alex Smithies produced a flying save to his right like few I’ve ever seen before to keep out a firmly struck volley from Helder Costa, and Nedum Onuoha smacked one over at the other end when the ball fell to him on the edge of the area. Two of the free kicks, both of which looked harsh to me, were kicked straight into Ikeme’s arms by Tjaronn Chery without the keeper having to move. Honestly, BT Open Reach go faster than this match. The first half an hour lasted as long as the Cretaceous Period.
And then it happened. The all-too-often spotted James Perch brain fart. Less of a fart, more of a full on beer shit in truth, given what had happened at Ipswich. Robinson had to get a decision right eventually, and sadly it was this one. On a yellow card, the former Wigan and Newcastle man decided to get airborn and fly into a wild fool’s mission of a challenge on Wolves’ Matt Doherty as he cut in from the left wing. Luckily he didn’t connect too much with the player, or he might have killed him, but a yellow card was the only option and Perch headed off for an early bath, money well earned for the week and no need for him to make that long trip up to Rotherham next weekend now either. I’m alright Jack, pull the fucking ladder up.
Now you may feel like you’ve heard this story before quite recently, and you’d be right. Last Saturday at Ipswich Perch picked up a daft yellow card early in the game, modified his approach to the match not even a tiny little bit, then booted Tom Lawrence into the advertising hoardings right on half time with another horrible, dangerous, nasty tackle. On that occasion the comedy stylings of Andy Woolmer saved his bacon but you’ve got to wonder haven’t you? I mean, we’ve all had that horrible hot, guilty feeling well up inside us when we know we’ve done something wrong. Perch surely must have had that at Portman Road as they started picking bits of Lawrence up off the gravel track and bagging them up for the morgue. He must have thought he was going off, he must have thought “shit I’ve let the team down here, they’re going to have to play with ten men for the whole second half”. He must have been so relieved to get away with it and, as we all do when given such let offs, resolved quietly never to do anything so bloody stupid ever again. And yet here we were, identical scenario, same part of the pitch, same time in the game, same circumstances, one match later and he puts a tackle like that in? Has he got the brains of a bloody rocking horse or something?
QPR were able to maintain what little shape they had simply by dropping Onuoha to right back, Hall to centre back, Sandro to the deeper-lying midfield position and removing Conor Washington. Rangers started the second half the stronger of the two sides as well, though a lightning Wolves counter attack on 55 minutes which ended with the ball flashing agonisingly through the goal mouth down at the School End, gave a clue as to the danger. Luongo took a yellow card on the chin for a deliberate pull back to interrupt another similar break. But problems were always likely to start mounting for the ten men and so it proved.
Jack Robinson had been a surprise starter at left back after his hamstring injury against Norwich, and he really struggled once Rangers went a man down. First of all losing Nouha Dicko in the area as the striker cut the ball back from the byline for Dave Edwards, the outstanding midfielder on the night, to sweep the opening goal into the top corner on the hour.
Six minutes later he got turned inside out by Costa and went to ground too easily in the area allowing the tricky Wolves man to fire a fairly brilliant second into the far bottom corner after receiving an excellent crossfield pass from Saiss.
Between those two killer goals, Rangers had been forced into another substitution. People’s Champion Sandro, around whom this weird and wonderful system seemed to have been hung – a flat back four and no wingers with a centre half playing defensive central midfield all so our top earning Brazilian international could get the start so many QPR fans have been asking for for so long – couldn’t possibly continue beyond the hour. Karl Henry was sent on in his place to booing from fans of his former club, but also to abuse from a sizeable minority of his own fans as well.
I’m not Henry’s biggest fan either, I think we’re getting beyond the point now where you can even say he does the dirty work nobody else wants to, he’s just a poor player playing poorly, but booing your own player onto the pitch? That’s going to help is it? The manager’s going to change his mind and take him back off because you’ve done that is he? The player’s going to produce his best performance after that is he? The rest of the team are going to thrive in that atmosphere are they? Christ on a tiny bike.
Never mind Henry anyway, more pressing is why we were forced to make a like for like substitution in defensive midfield while trailing 1-0 at home to a side that hadn’t won in its previous nine matches. Why did we have to do this when there were so many other areas of the team that needed adjusting? Why make this change when Idrissa Sylla was still on the bench? Well because Sandro isn’t fit to play. You can boo all you like. You can storm off down Loftus Road after the match telling everybody with in earshot that “taking Sandro off was a fucking disgrace” but the simple fact is Sandro is not fit to play professional football. Since he arrived in this country in 2010 he’s never once been fit to play even 50% of the first team matches he should have been available for at either Spurs, QPR or West Brom.
I feel like I live in a bit of a parallel dimension with Sandro. Help me out. In my world he’s the mercenary’s mercenary. Dodgy work permit, dodgy visa, laughable supposed date of birth, no knees, ridiculous contract, signed by Harry Redknapp, never fit to play, never able to finish the rare games he does start. And yet QPR fans still line up in big numbers to felch the guy. I’m morphing into Frankie Boyle in that austerity sketch he does here. “Why’s he taking Sandro off, clueless”. Because he’s got no fucking knees. No fucking knees at all. He’s only still here because he keeps failing medicals elsewhere. The Sporting Lisbon medical, am I the only one who remembers this? The appearance stats, six years worth of them, they're there on Soccerbase. It’s blowing my fucking mind.
“Sandro has to start, Sandro’s our best player, got to pick Sandro.” Great. Fine. But you’re immediately spending a substitution. However the game is going, whatever the score is, whatever other problems you have, whatever other changes need making – Sandro has to go after an hour, because he’s physically incapable of playing any longer than that. And when one of the other pillocks has reduced you to ten men, and you’ve conceded the first goal, and you’ve already made one sub, that’s an absolute pain in the arse. Leaving Jordan Cousins out, playing with no wingers at all, to accommodate this? That one is lost on me I’m afraid.
Sadly, as at Ipswich, QPR’s heads dropped at 2-0 and they sought to simply play out time. It became the latest episode in the Alex Smithies vs The World series that we’ve seen a fair bit of over the last 18 months. Wonderful to see the young stopper recover so confidently from his horror moment at Ipswich with a man of the match performance here – a one on one save with Saiss during a clean break away, a flying dive to turn away a flicked header from Costa particular moments of excellence. But sad to see QPR put the cue on the rack at 2-0 down again for the second game in a row. As at Portman Road, a game QPR could easily have won in different circumstances quickly became one they should have lost by a lot more. Wolves, with Edwards in particular control, good value for their win on the balance of the second half at least.
Particularly as an extended seven minutes of stoppage time turned into the Bullseye Speedboat – here’s what you could have won with a bit more about you. Joel Lynch lashed in his first goal for the club from close range after a Robinson long throw dropped in the box, and really should have scored again just a minute later to snatch a point. A succession of free kicks and corners bounced and bobbled around the visiting team’s area as they entered a full on panic.
If only QPR had been able to induce that a bit earlier.
QPR: Smithies 8; Perch 2, Onuoha 5, Lynch 6, Robinson 4; Hall 6; Luongo 5, Sandro 5 (Henry 61, 5), Chery 5; Polter 5 (Sylla 67, 5), Washington 5 (Ngbakoto 46, 6)
Subs not used: Ingram, Gladwin, Cousins, Bidwell
Goals: Lynch 90 (assisted Robinson)
Red Cards: Perch 35 (two yellows)
Yellow Cards: Perch 9 (dissent), Perch 35 (foul), Luongo 51 (foul)
Wolves: Ikeme 6 (Lonergan 81, -); Iorfa 6, Baath 6, Stearman 6, Doherty 6; Coady 6, Saiss 7, Edwards 7; Costa 7, Dicko 6 (Bodvarsson 76, 6), Cavaleiro 6 (Saville 73, 6)
Subs not used: Wallace, Price, Hause, Enobakhare
Goals: Edwards 60 (assisted Dicko), Costa 67 (assisted Saiss)
Yellow cards: Cavaleiro 49 (foul), Batth 78 (dissent)
QPR Star Man – Alex Smithies 8 Very impressive recovery after what happened at Ipswich. A string of saves we’ve come to expect, but seeing him rush out of his area without hesitation and deal with a through ball early in the first half after the Portman Road incident showed excellent strength of character.
Referee – Tim Robinson (West Sussex) 3 Insufferable.
Attendance – 12,222 (1,000 Wolves approx) Cheers Sky.
The Twitter/Instagram @loftforwords
Pictures – Action Images
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