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Vintage QPR performance lands them in Hull hell - Report
Sunday, 2nd Dec 2018 12:48 by Clive Whittingham

QPR slipped to a 3-2 home defeat against relegation-haunted Hull City at Loftus Road on Saturday - a tale of woe we've seen play out a thousand times before

Frustrating, irritating, galling, annoying… it was all of these things and more of course, but as anybody who’s been coming to this part of the world for their football for any length of time will tell you, what it was most of all was pure Queens Park Rangers.

Play brilliantly against Aston Villa and win in front of the TV cameras, open up a large can of pain and torment on Brentford and sweep them aside, match the number of away wins from last season in the first three months of this, climb into play-off contention, scrap two very creditable points from difficult away games at big-spending Stoke and an awkward Rotherham side and then in the game when we’re meant to fill our boots and dip us bread we fall flat on our arse. Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme. In the end the thing I was most cross about is that we didn’t see it coming a million miles off, this was easier to read than a Joel Lynch pass out from the back. QPR 2-0? What an absolute cretin.

Complacency was the single biggest issue against Hull City on Saturday. QPR were ninth at the start of play, with one defeat in nine, just three points shy of the play-off places. Rangers were starting to look pretty good - settled in their shape, comfortable in their skin, knowing what they’re doing – and the demon hope was creeping back in. Hull City - suffocated by a malicious board whose latest spiteful act of revenge on a city and its football club that wouldn’t turn its publicly owned stadium over to them for a nominal fee so they could develop the land behind it seems to be to turn them into a League One club run on a budget of about 30 quid - have been mostly rubbish all season and were twenty second in the league prior to kick off. The assumption, from the players and the supporters inside Loftus Road, was that this would be an easy home banker. You could smell it coming off the place from the first whistle. We reeked of it.

Hull took full advantage. They scored after just five minutes, with the outstanding Jarrod Bowen allowed to cut inside from the Hull right completely unchecked and unload a shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.

No reaction.

A quarter of an hour later, they made it 2-0, and if you thought the first was embarrassingly easy then my good God you hadn’t seen anything yet. Markus Henriksen headed in from Bowen’s corner as if it was a training session. The marking was non-existent, and you’ve also got to be wondering why a ball landing that close to the goal at that height isn’t tempting your six-foot four-inch goalkeeper off the line for a catch.

The silence inside Loftus Road when it went in was like nothing I’d ever really experienced before. Stunned.

There was at least something resembling a response from QPR this time. They scored their first of the afternoon immediately, Pawel Wszolek finishing neatly at the end of a crisp and incisive move. Within a minute a great move ended with Nahki Wells having his shot tipped away out of the top corner by Hull goalkeeper David Marshall. On the half hour Marshall denied Wells again with a great save after Wszolek had cut a ball back from the byline and within seconds an outlandish shot from Angel Rangel had cannoned back into play off the angle of post and bar from the thick end of 30 yards. Three bad Luke Freeman corner deliveries eventually led to a good one at the fourth attempt – Marshall saved from Lynch.

But actually, the goal only seemed to perpetuate the myth that this would all be fine, that QPR would win somehow, that Hull were there for the taking, that it would all be alright in the end, that the two City goals were just a blip. In actual fact, things were the farthest thing from fine. QPR weren’t even doing the basics right. Lynch’s foul on Bowen as he was running away from goal into neutral territory, setting up a dangerous free kick that Grosicki hit over, was braindead even by his meathead standards. Only an amazing block from Rangel in his own six-yard-box stopped Fraizer Campbell making it 3-1 from more wonderful Bowen approach work. It was quite the first half from a neutral point of view, happy Championship chaos, like a couple of monkeys sitting in the bottom of a cage throwing their own shit at each other, but that was only because QPR were so lethargic, so arrogant, so complacent, so completely wide open, so completely shapeless, that Hull were able to cut through and create chances at will and all Rangers could do to counter was throw a few men forward the other way and try and do likewise.

Hull had to make two changes to their back four at half time. Reece Burke and Eric Lichaj were both injury doubts before kick off, and neither could manage more than 45 minutes which meant De Wijs and McKenzie were summoned by Nigel Adkins for the second half. Trailing by a goal, attacking the Loft End, against a relegation-threatened side with half its defence switched at half time, we awaited a 21-gun barrage of Marshall’s goal as Rangers searched for an equaliser. It never materialised. Tomer Hemed came on for Geoff Cameron on the hour and made no difference. Matt Smith followed ten minutes later for Angel Rangel and things stayed much the same. It was only when Bright Osayi-Samuel arrived four minutes from time that any real urgency and panic seemed to set in at all and between then and full time Freeman had scored what turned out to be a consolation goal off the underside of the bar amidst a goal mouth scramble, then curled a 25 yard free kick just past the post, and Samuel stood up a delightful cross that took Marshall out of the game and looked for all the world like Smith or Hemed might force it home before Hull cleared. Prior to that Rangers had simply allowed vast swathes of the second half to just drift by when really this game needed grabbing by the throat.

But there was more to this defeat than simply bad attitude. That can be cured, this game can serve as a wake up call, Steve McClaren can kick a few arses down at Harlington this week, and we can come back sharper and more focused next week. Of more concern is the tactical flaws teams are starting to pick out in our 4-2-3-1 system.

We’ve enjoyed consistently good performances for a couple of months now by picking a settled team in a settled shape, but the problem with the opposition knowing exactly how you’re going to line up and play each week is it gives them mountains of match footage to pick through and find things they like. Nigel Adkins, who has now won four times at Loftus Road with four different clubs, did that expertly on Saturday, not only nullifying Ebere Eze with a man marking detail, but also exploiting a weakness in the defensive shape that Stoke and Rotherham had discovered during the week.

McClaren and his players have made a big point in recent weeks of defending their own penalty box with their lives. There’s been some great backs-to-the-wall defensive efforts against Villa and others of late, with bodies chucked in the way and tackles made and saves pulled off to repel all enemies right at the border. Toni Leistner and Joel Lynch are one and two in the league for headed clearances this year. But this very deep, very tight, very narrow defence with its two-man protection detail in front of it, is leaving acres of space out wide. At Stoke, Gary Rowett found that if they played the ball down their right wing and then hung a ball up to the far side of the field, huge overloads could easily be worked up on Angel Rangel, and likewise if they went down the left and switched to the right Jake Bidwell was often alone, too far in field, with two or three players piling in round the back of him. Although the first goal came from a bad pass out by Lynch, both Stoke goals and both the goals they had disallowed were scored by crossing from one side to the other, and overloading the back post.

On Tuesday at Rotherham, it took Paul Warne’s side five minutes to play down their right and then switch the play with a high, hanging ball right on top of Rangel for Jon Taylor to charge onto and set up Vaulks for the first goal. The second was from a straight free kick, but was again scored with embarrassing ease by a player steaming in at the back post over the top of isolated full backs.

Here, Hull kept picking away at that all afternoon, playing down the left side and then switching play to Bowen who tormented Bidwell all afternoon, or coming down the right initially and then looking across field for Grosicki who wasn’t far behind Bowen in the man of the match stakes. An overload on Rangel after 28 minutes which ended with Grosicki crossing and the stylish Jackson Irvine heading over was an absolute prime example. I know we’re all bumming Rangel to death at the moment, and he has been very good for us, but he was poor here and we miss Darnell Furlong’s prodigious aerial ability when teams are doing that to us. We also need far more protection from Wszolek and Freeman when it’s happening. At the start of the second half, when we thought it would be QPR laying siege to the Hull goal, in actual fact Irvine was able to craft a one two around Bidwell with Freeman completely failing to track his runner and the Australian crossed for Henrisken to shoot over.

There were bits and pieces – Bidwell crossed first time but Freeman couldn’t apply a finishing touch, then Hemed missed the ball completely when the former Brentford left back centred again from the left. But you couldn’t begrudge Hull their third goal which arrived when Bowen sprung an offside trap that’s been creaking all week and eventually finished under Joe Lumley at the second attempt after the keeper had initially saved one on one. Grosicki looked well off in the build up, but two minutes later that familiar problem of an overload wide, a cross from the Pole, and Irvine arriving late in the box would have brought a fourth for Hull but for a brilliant Lumley save and that time Rangel had played them all on.

And then there was referee Jeremy Simpson. Few agree but I happen to think the standard of Championship refereeing is actually pretty good. We give sixes, sevens and eights to the officials most weeks and the vast majority of the decisions are correct, including almost all of the big ones, on the days when Andy Woolmer’s not involved. That said, this bloke really boils my piss.

He’s one of those officials that I not only wonder how he’s been able to move up the ladder this far, but why he’s even really in the job at all. Like somebody that was bullied at school by the boys who were good at football and has now made it his life’s work to ruin the sport for them in adulthood, he has absolutely no feel for the games he’s in charge of which frequently spiral into the sort of farcical nonsense we saw in the second half here. There was the bizarre incident straight after half time where Leistner went through the back of Frazier Campbell ten yards away from Simpson who initially played on only to then bring play back and award a free kick, and then belatedly book Leistner, after consultation with the fourth official, who was 40 yards further away and looking through the bloody referee to see the incident. What’s he fucking seen from over there that you haven’t from ten bloody yards away? Two minutes later when he did see Elphick cut through the back of Eze in a much more dangerous position on the field, he awarded a free kick but no yellow card.

He awarded fouls that weren’t fouls, including the one in stoppage time on Luongo for the Freeman free kick wide. Then he didn’t blow for much more obvious offences, such as when Wells was obviously chopped down from behind in the same position five minutes earlier, and when Matt Smith shoved a defender in the area to create a late chance. At one point he stopped the game for a “serious injury” to Campbell that was, pretty balatantly to anybody with half a brain in their head, cramp, and having done that he then attempted to restart it by asking QPR (who were in possession at the time) to return the ball to Hull via a drop ball. Leistner, rightly, told him exactly where he could stick that idea and just played on.

And then there was the time wasting. My god, the time wasting. All of the time wasting. Over every throw in, every goal kick, every free kick, and a laughable moment when Grosicki was replaced by Mazuch midway through the second half and was allowed to pigeon step Paul Pogba penalty style all the way from the centre spot to the dugout in a voyage that seemed to take him 80 years to complete. Simpson’s reaction to this was to issue warning, after warning, after warning, after warning, after warning, after warning, after warning, after warning, after warning, after warning, after warning. Everybody got a bloody warning in the end, and nobody got a card. On more than one occasion he stopped Marshall in the process of taking a goal kick, or Batty in the process of taking a throw in, to warn them to get on with it. Well that’s just wasting more time still isn’t it you fucking penis?

The second half had four substitutions, including the Grosicki farce; two goals, including the Bowen one where the celebrations lasted longer than the 100 years war; and three Hull injuries, all of which involved ridiculously overblown medical attention followed by a long, slow, drawn out walk to the furthest touchline away after which they were immediately waved back on and came sprinting back into the action. Having spent the whole second half allowing the Hull players to take the absolute piss out of him if he honestly believes that four minutes of stoppage time was adequate at the end of all that then he’s even more of a festering knobcheese than even I’d initially given him credit for.

Batty was eventually booked for kicking the ball away, which was fairly blatant, but nowhere near as obvious as Bowen lobbing the onrushing Lumley long, long, long after he’d been flagged and whistled offside – no card for that. Honest to God the bloke couldn’t find his own arse with both hands. He’s in desperate need of something else to do with his Saturday’s because this sport certainly isn’t for him.

But he wasn’t the reason we lost. Both teams got exactly what they deserved – three points to Hull for an excellent performance, full of attacking intent and clever tactical ideas and set ups; no points to QPR, who were peculiarly lethargic, tactically found out, and horribly complacent.

You watch us win at Leeds next week now.

Links >>> Ratings and Reports >>> Message Board Match Thread

QPR: Lumley 5; Rangel 5 (Smith 73, 5), Leistner 5, Lynch 4, Bidwell 5; Cameron 5 (Hemed 63, 5), Luongo 5; Wszolek 5 (Osayi-Samuel 86, -), Eze 5, Freeman 5; Wells 5

Subs not used: Ingram, Furlong, Cousins, Scowen

Goals: Wszolek 24 (assisted Rangel), Freeman 90+1 (assisted Smith)

Bookings: Bidwell 78 (foul), Lynch 87 (nearly Christmas)

Hull: Marshall 7; Kane 6, Elphick 7, Burke 6 (de Wijs 46, 6), Lichaj 6 (McKenzie 46, 6); Henriksen 7, Batty 6; Bowen 9, Irvine 8, Grosicki 8 (Mazuch 74, 6); Campbell 7

Subs not used: Stewart, Long, Keane, Martin

Goals: Bowen 5 (unassisted), 69 (assisted Grosicki), Henriksen 20 (assisted Bowen)

Bookings: Batty 73 (time wasting)

QPR Star Man – Bright Osayi-Samuel - Showed more purpose and attacking intent in his brief cameo than any of his team mates had managed in the previous 86 minutes. The only one who really looked like he grasped the urgency of the situation.

Referee – Jeremy Simpson (Lancashire) 2 Uncle knobhead.

Souls on board – 13,824 (600 Hull approx.) Atmosphere in keeping with the performance, complacency eventually replaced by stunned confusion. We should have known better. As ever on such days the highlight was the half time introduction of a former player - Mike Ferguson gave a fantastic interview and seemed genuinely touched to have been asked back. A wonderful initiative.

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AgedR added 15:02 - Dec 2
Agree with the report Clive; got out thought didn’t we.

But, Jesus wept, the referee.

Apologies to the two youngsters in the family stand who looked genuinely frightened at the beer scented, middle aged man behind them standing up and shouting “you absolute cock womble” at the ridiculous excuse for a official.

It wasn’t raining, so why are they allowed to put the fucxing ball up their jersey for every fucxing throw in? Book them you twot!

Geoff78 added 15:12 - Dec 2
Completely agree about complacency/over-confidence. Too many players believing their own publicity. McClaren deciding on his first team and picking them every week has been a joy, compared to the chopping and changing we've been used to over many years, but the signs were there against Rotherham that they needed freshening up.

Rangel -yes it was a brilliant block in the first half and he has been outstanding - but he doesn't have Furlong's ability going forward or in the air. Leaving Furlong on the bench isn't going to help his confidence or experience. Maybe the same can be said about Wszolek and BOS. But the most baffling decision was hooking Cameron, when it seemed clear the defence needed protection. I see McC has called it a gamble but most at the ground would have found a different flutter.

But, and but again, this is still so much better than feared after ditching Holloway and that dismal start to the season. There are positives. But as Clive says after supporting the Rs for 40+ years, I'm well used to it!

MungoJezza added 15:54 - Dec 2
Great report, as ever Clive, but I think you're being a little harsh on our beloved Rangers. We started the match off sluggishly, yes, and ultimately paid the price for this. But we did play some great football during the latter part of the first half, and could and should have been level at half-time. Hull were very lucky, not just when Rangel's shot hit the post, but also the two blatant handballs in the area that the assistant ref failed to spot; the same assistant ref that failed to spot the offside in the build up to Hull's third goal. Time to bring back Furlong and Hall, and perhaps even Manning - he could play left back.

PinnerPaul added 16:53 - Dec 2
Have to agree about the ref as I said on the forum

062259 added 18:08 - Dec 2
This is the most disappointing result of the season. It is a competitive league, but a haul of 5 points from 4 games against teams all below QPR before the first of those games does not bode well for the next 3 games. Agree it is time for a little squad rotation.

Hemed and Wells between them have started 21 games and made 9 sub appearances for 6 goals in total. Hmm.

Paddyhoops added 18:22 - Dec 2
Great report again Clive. Complacency was as you rightly said was our number one enemy today.
Have to agree with Geoff78, the decision to take off Cameron was baffling. He was one our better performers on the day. Any semblance of midfield control went out the window once he was hooked Odd decision to say the least.
As for the man in the middle, Jeremy Simpson( sounds like a Tory minister caught in a sex scandal) I thought you we're generous with 2 out of 10. He was an embarrassment to his profession. Another bell end ref who wants to be centre of attention!!

CliveWilsonSaid added 18:56 - Dec 2
Great report NorthernR. Thanks as ever.

Myke added 20:06 - Dec 2
Cheers Clive. The biggest problem is that we have now started leaking goals again - 9 in the last 4 games - although to be fair, McClaren referenced this in his post-match analysis. We've also scored 9 also and been involved in some thrilling games, which has masked the re-occurrence of this malaise somewhat. Last season we were unable to keep a clean sheet and had a limited attack so a 1-1 draw against the poorer teams in the division was a predictable scoreline at least until Christmas, when the introduction of the kids shook things up a bit. This year we have a more potent strike-force, so scoring two in a game is not an unrealistic target. However, now that we have recently been conceding 2 or 3 in a game clearly makes it very difficult to win games, although no-one is doubting the entertainment value on show.
Why we have suddenly started conceding again is up to the coaching staff to figure out. Is it complacency, being too predictable or something else? The game against Leeds will be very telling. We are about to head into a sequence of three very tough games, at the end of them will the headlines be 'QPR on 6 game winless run' (again) or 'QPR finally put Forest bogey to bed'? Interesting times ahead and now is the time for McClaren to step up to the plate again just as he did after Bristol City defeat.

jonno added 20:18 - Dec 2
Thanks for the report Clive - and you are spot on. At this level other sides will fairly quickly work out where you are weak and attempt to exploit those weaknesses and that is what is happening now. It's up to McLaren to come up with something to counter that. But starting so poorly and lethargically didn't help, the players need to be on it right from the start every game. As for the ref I said on the match thread I didn't like the look of him pretty early on - one of his indiscretions you didn't mention was when Leistner was kicked in the face on the edge of their box in the first half. Absolutely blatant foul, yellow card at least, and he waves play on! Ludicrous.

Hadders added 20:59 - Dec 2
I bow to Clive's greater knowledge and understanding of the game (and I'm NOT being sarky) , but would just like to register that (with Mungojezza above), I thought (obvious defensive frailties aside) we were all right yesterday, and really good at times. Everyone seems to know their job and we seem to be playing with real width, so there was always a range of postive passing options and there was very little hit and run. McClaren has turned us into a team that's great to watch, as he did at teh start of our last promotion season. We kept possession really well for large periods and it was no surprize to see the stats at the end; I did feel confident that we would get back into it and we nearly did - if only a few more of those 22 shots were on target.

Marshy added 22:02 - Dec 2
The thing that annoyed me the most about this poor performance was that our passing was atrocious, and our first touch appalling. It was almost as if some of our players were colour blind thinking that Hull’s black shirts were blue and white. As for the opposition, Hull hardly misplaced a pass at all, and their control of the ball, and general tactical awareness was far superior to ours. I’m also one that thought Cameron was one of our better players, and was disappointed when he was substituted. However, I do accept that Steve needed to make changes, but they were just the wrong ones. Moving on to the time wasting - 4 minutes of added time - probably should have been 40! What more can I say about the the ref that hasn’t already been said - absolute cretin!

Esox_Lucius added 09:26 - Dec 3
A good and accurate summary of the game. The narrow defending has been a bug bear of mine for most of the season as it always makes us look vulnerable from the sidelines. Around 10-15 minutes before Cameron went off he had swapped places with Luongo which effectively nullified both players skill sets, I can only guess that Cameron was flagging/ injured from chasing Hull players around and Massimo's stamina and better pace was required there. BOS should have been on for Wells after 50-55 minutes with Eze pushed forward and Freeman operating behind IMO. I would have also left Darnell on the bench as I feel that bringing him on at 1-3 may have exposed his defensive frailties and he could have ended up being the scapegoat for what turned out to be a defeat anyway. If fit, start him against Leeds and have Angel on the bench if needed.

Antti_Heinola added 14:02 - Dec 3
'Completely agree about complacency/over-confidence. Too many players believing their own publicity.'

I think the best you can do with this is think that it might be the case - it's guesswork at best. It may be true, although i feel we have enough wise heads now to stop that sort of thing. More likely, I think, was tiredness, coupled perhaps with a belief that this might be a bit easier than the last two games.

Phil_i_P_Daddy added 14:22 - Dec 3
Bang on Clive, as usual.
I thought SM's subs were timely and bold, he gave HEMED and SMITH the chance to come on and make a difference which both failed to do. Can't blame SM for that.
WSZOLEK should be looking over his (outrageously square) shoulder, BOS must be looming large...

WokingR added 08:36 - Dec 4
Yeah, you festering knob cheese !

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