|Queens Park Rangers 0 v 3 Bristol City|
Tuesday, 21st August 2018 Kick-off 19:45
Big trouble in little W12 - Report
Thursday, 23rd Aug 2018 07:55 by Clive Whittingham
QPR lost their fourth game in a row to start the 2018/19 season on Tuesday night, pathetically surrendering 3-0 against Bristol City at Loftus Road.
This, this, was always going to go one of two ways.
When you’ve had a new arse torn, when you’ve been completely humiliated, when you’ve been beaten up in front of your kids, when the whole world is laughing at your players tackling each other in their revolting pink kit your options number two. Flight or fight.
Sadly, we’ve become rather accustomed to Queens Park Rangers getting bummed in the gob. It happens rather a lot, because apparently we’re all terrible people and deserve this sort of punishment being handed to us on a semi-regular basis. I mean not 7-1, that was new, but we’ve had plenty of fives and sixes in recent times. We’re not very good, shit happens.
It’s the response that tells you so much. When beaten 5-0 at Southend in February 2007, it was the twelfth defeat QPR had suffered in their previous 16 matches. John Gregory’s side was circling the drain. At Roots Hall, in front of a live television audience, against a team that would go on to be relegated itself, they were 50 shades of pathetic. Response? They mucked in. Lee Camp returned, Danny Cullip added a bruising intimidation to the middle of the defence, Adam Bolder completed the spine and Lee Cook made Dexter Blackstock look like Kylian Mbappe. A 0-0 draw at Leeds was mucked out, Rangers lost just one of the next six and two of the next ten. Wins were secured against Leicester, Coventry, Cardiff and most memorably against Preston and Luton. Relegation was avoided.
That’s what I was hoping for on Tuesday. Accept you’re in a relegation battle, dispense with the budget-Barcelona routine, stick your backs to the wall and come out swinging. Our home ground, our club, our colours, not going down without a fight. Bully, bite, fight, cheat, scrap, dig, scrape, dive, spit, swear and sweat. Whatever you have to do. Just muck in and get it done, get points won, by whatever means possible. As a team in financial strife, with senior players departing, incidents like Saturday can happen against monied sides fresh out of the Premier League. Suck it up, stick your chest out, get back out there, restore pride.
Or, you know, don’t.
QPR went for don’t.
In many, many ways, this was worse than Saturday for me. A wake up call had been issued, and completely ignored. This was a home game, against a team that has also lost its three best players over the summer, and is also trying to compete in this league without parachute payments or Premier League riches. Bristol City have won four times this calendar year, none of them away from home, and haven’t won at Loftus Road in 16 visits going back to the 1970s. Having lost Aden Flint to Middlesbrough over the summer they were also without first choice centre backs Bailey Wright and Nathan Baker through injury here. They too were yet to win this season. You can’t pick your fixtures, but if you could QPR might well have gone for them as they attempted to put their first points on the board and belatedly get their season up and running.
Instead, all the same bullshit all over again. Defensively shambolic goals, three of them. Goalkeeping of a park standard from Matt Ingram who surely, surely now must be removed from his own personal hell and replaced with Joe Lumley. Goals, once again, slipping through the pleasure window between 35-55 minutes – two of them, immediately before and after half time, killing the game off altogether. The first, from Matt Taylor on 41 minutes, a shot a blind goalkeeper would have saved even without the use of a ball with a bell in it – Jake Bidwell fell on his arse in the build up. The second converted by Andreas Weimann at the far post, at the head of a queue of half the population of Bristol who’d been left there unmarked to receive the cross from Eliasson. Less of a pleasure window, more of a glory hole.
Bar the standard Conor Washington missed sitter after rounding the goalkeeper on the hour and then messing the square ball up, QPR rarely threatened. A first half free kick from Josh Scowen went straight at the keeper and later Freeman and Washington tackled each other trying to convert a cross from Wszolek. Clown school. They were beaten 3-0 and they deserved it. Baptiste had nearly skimmed an own goal in off his head on 40 minutes even before the first goal went in. It was all over long before the third was slid in by Weimann in injury time, unmarked from close range amidst another defensive implosion, but it spoke so much to the total lack of any substance, grit, brains or ability in this QPR team coming as it did with Jake Bidwell caught upfield having tried to execute a long throw he doesn’t possess into the opposition penalty area. Bidwell’s been here two years, if he had a fucking long throw I suspect we’d have known about it before now.
McClaren continues to talk about “these young players” as if we’re as dumb as his team. They’re all gone. Bar Ebere Eze, reduced to a peripheral figure here by the complete lack of a QPR performance and the ongoing failure to accommodate him and Luke Freeman into the same attack, he's sidelined all of them. Osman Kakay the latest to be replaced, by 35-year-old Angel Rangel who won several headers against the odds but not much else. Bright Osayi-Samuel, Paul Smyth, Ilias Chair, nowhere to be seen. Ryan Manning named Man of the Match for Rotherham, who are four points ahead of us.
Freeman wasn’t even effective from set pieces against his former club, usually the bare minimum you can count on from him even when it’s all gone to shit. He finished his night by turning to a supporter in the East Paddock and telling them to “fuck off”. I actually sympathise with him on that, football supporters think they can yell what they like at players and managers then suddenly get all precious whenever anything is said back. But, football wise, he was as abysmal as the rest of them. This time last year he was carrying us, and now he’s just pushing us closer to our luggage allowance.
The last time City played here they were on the crest of a wave – five straight wins, including a last minute victory against Man Utd, nine wins from their previous 11 games. They had the division’s outstanding three man defence in Baker, Wright and Flint. They had Joe Bryan, who Fulham have just bought for £6m, and Bobby Reid, who Cardiff have purchased for £10m. They were the form team in the country and they were lucky to escape with a 1-1 thanks to a nonsense late penalty award. Here, without Bryan, Reid, Wright, Flint, Baker or first choice keeper Frank Fielding, without a win yet this season, without an away win all calendar year, they won without breaking a sweat. Weimann went round Ingram on 62 minutes but the resulting shot from Pack seizing on his cut back flew over the bar. That could, probably should, have been 4-0. QPR have conceded 13 goals in four games as it is – one every 27 minutes.
Last season QPR gained more points from losing positions than just about anybody else in the league. They recovered from two down against Millwall and Brentford with late rallies on this ground, and nearly did the same to Fulham, by laying siege to opposition goals, by never giving up, by raining shots down, by sending in umpteen crosses for Matt Smith to attack. Here the game was over on 50 minutes. I’d say they’d given up, but that would imply they ever really got going in the first place.
Still, as one wit on Twitter pointed out afterwards, look on the bright side - at this rate we'll be able to move into the Linford Christie Stadium without refurbishing it.
Match Gallery: 17 photos
QPR: Ingram 3; Rangel 4 (Sylla 76, 5), Leistner 4, Baptiste 5, Bidwell 3; Scowen 4, Luongo 3 (Cousins 60, 4); Eze 4, Freeman 3, Wszolek 4 (Smith 60, 4); Washington 3
Subs not used: Lumley, Chair, Kakay, Smyth
Bookings: Scowen 56 (foul)
Bristol City: Maenpaa 6; Hunt 7, Pisano 7, Webster 7, Kelly 6; Watkins 6 (O’Dowda 76, 6), Brownhill 7, Pack 7, Eliasson 7; Taylor 8 (Eisa 90+1, -), Weimann 8
Subs not used: Dasilva, Walsh, Paterson, Moore, O’Leary
Goals: Taylor 41 (assisted Brownhill), Weimann 50 (assisted Eliasson), 90 (assisted Brownhill)
Bookings: Pisano 26 (foul), Brownhill 48 (foul), Pack 70 (foul)
QPR Star Man – Alex Baptiste 5 Marginally better than the shambles around him. A very slight improvement on Lynch the terracotta turnstile.
Referee – Peter Bankes (Merseyside) 7 Much like Saturday, decent refereeing in a non-competitive game although as in the Preston and Sheff Utd games did nothing to clamp down on late gamesmanship designed to run the clock down other than point at his watch, then didn’t add on the time at the end. It seems now that every Championship side, once leading in the last 20 minutes, is trained to engage in this injury feigning, time wasting shithousery and unless the referees get wise and strong to it it’s going to fester.
Attendance – 11,739 (800 Bristol City approx) Looked a lot, lot less than that to me.
The Twitter @loftforwords
Pictures – Action Images
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