|Queens Park Rangers 1 v 2 Rotherham United|
Wednesday, 13th March 2019 Kick-off 19:45
QPR fighting charitable instincts as Rotherham arrive - Preview
Wednesday, 13th Mar 2019 12:04 by Clive Whittingham
QPR can nudge their season closer to conclusion with a home win against relegation haunted Rotherham this evening - a team without an away win at this level in almost three years.
QPR (12-7-17, LLLWLD, 18th) v Rotherham (6-15-15, DDDDWL, 22nd)
Lancashire and District Senior League >>> Wednesday March 13, 2019 >>> Kick Off 19.45 >>> Weather – Wet and windy to start, calming down later >>> Loftus Road, London, W12
Well let’s get this out of the way nice and early then – Rotherham’s away form is bad. Biblically bad. They’re the only team in the Championship this season yet to win a game on the road (drawn seven, lost 11) and didn’t win a single away game in the whole of their last campaign at this level, 2016/17. You have to go back almost three years to find their last, a 4-0 success at MK Dons under that remarkable Neil Warnock-inspired revival in April 2016. That’s 43 attempts ago, of which they’ve lost 34. They have managed to score in the first half of away matches on just two occasions this season. Their runaway Player of the Year, Will Vaulks, is suspended.
And so, naturally, QPR fans have been reduced to a full-blown, nine-locks-on-the-front-door, all-the-lights-off, complete-loss-of-bowel-control, jibbering panic at the thought of hosting them at the School of Science this evening. We’ve seen this room, we’ve walked this floor, we’ve got the John Jensen t-shirts, we’ve told the Swindon Town story to disbelieving friends and colleagues, we’ve all stood there and watched Lloyd Doyley sail through the air, we strongly suspect we know what’s coming.
It’s easily avoidable, of course, but watching QPR toil against ten man Stoke at the weekend - a fourth game in six in which we have failed to score a goal and a second match in a row where we failed to really muster a serious shot in anger – brought home how much this team struggles when teams sit in against us.
Steve McClaren talks a lot about how we play “on the transition”, which I think used to mean you were a “counter attacking team” before the ‘football people’ got their own fancy badges and language to prove how much more they know about the game than the ‘non-football people’. See also, ‘playing through the thirds’, which used to be called passing the ball forwards. QPR have indeed been at their best this season when Geoff Cameron has been there protecting the defence, Toni Leistner has been on it and Joel Lynch hasn’t been trying to kill people. We’ve been able to sit back on that foundation, deep and tight and narrow around our own penalty area, and then spring forwards with the likes of Pawel Wszolek and Luke Freeman crossing the halfway line at pace just when an opponent has committed one too many men to their attack. No better example of this than the three goals and four points we’ve taken from Aston Villa this season.
What we struggle with is when teams just sit in against us as well. That happened on Saturday against Stoke, and in the recent away games at Boro and Sheff Utd where conceding an early goal allowed the opposition to just stay calmly in shape in their own half and watch QPR do that ridiculous routine where they pissball about with possession in their own half before rolling it back to Joe Lumley to kick into touch. Earlier in the season there were comfortable home wins against Millwall and Sheff Wed when Rangers really took the game to their opponent and forced the issue – I discount both games against Ipswich because, as previously said, the regulars at the Crown and Sceptre would beat Ipswich this season.
It needs a couple more wins just to nudge us over the line and into the departure hall for the beach this season and in theory you couldn’t really ask for two better home games this month than Rotherham and Bolton in which to get them. But both the Millers and Phil Parkinson’s side are likely to come to Loftus Road with limited ambition, and two banks of four in front of the penalty box. That’s by no means me being arrogant, we’re bloody rubbish, but it is how those two teams have set up in their away matches this season. If they do so again, tonight and then two weeks on Saturday, Rangers are going to have to find it within themselves to be that front foot team.
Geoff Cameron Facts #33 – While captaining the Sacramento Seahorses in his early career, Geoff became the only man in history to beat Canadian snooker player Bill Werberniuk in a drinking contest, downing 76 cans in a single sitting before vomiting enthusiastically into a nearby fireplace.
Team News: Grant Hall will serve a one match ban for his sending off against Stoke at the weekend, leaving us at the mercy of Joel Lynch at centre half once more. Darnell Furlong was rested/dropped at the weekend with McClaren saying he had looked tired in recent games, it remains to be seen whether he’s recalled or if Jordan Cousins will continue at right back. Matt Smith is a doubt with the ankle injury he picked up in training on Friday and Angel Rangel remains sidelined but Geoff Cameron is finally fit to return for the first time since the defeat at Leeds the week before Christmas. He is likely to replace Josh Scowen.
As if Rotherham’s away form wasn’t dire enough, they’ve now lost Player of the Season-elect Will Vaulks to a three match stint on the naughty step following a sending off at Sheff Utd at the weekend. Sean Raggett is getting his dishwasher fixed today while Kyle Vassell injured a groin in a freak karaoke accident at the weekend so both miss out.
Elsewhere: The idea that QPR might already have enough points on the board to be safe this season regardless of what happens in the remaining game had some more weight added to it by a series of routine wins for top v bottom on Tuesday night. Reading, seven points behind us on 36, were soundly beaten 3-0 at home by the Champions of Europe while Bolton, second bottom on 29, celebrated the belated payment of their wages with a 2-0 home loss to the Sheffield Owls. Ipswich Down are 20 points behind us with only 27 left to play for but did get a surprise 1-1 draw at promotion chasing Bristol City. Wigan Warriors, level with Reading on 36 points, were soundly humped 3-0 by the Mad Chicken Farmers in a Lancashire derby.
Elsewhere there were bizarre goings on at Bramall Lane where the Sheffield Red Stripes were reduced to ten men barely 20 minutes into the game thanks to Gary Madine’s red card but still managed to comfortably see off Justice League leaders Spartak Hounslow 2-0, this despite the visitors being easily the best team they’d played this season. Still just the two away wins this season for Thomas Frank’s superheroes.
Seven matches tonight then including our own. That includes managerless West Brom, who sacked Darren Moore at the weekend despite sitting fourth in the table and are talking to Slavisa Jokanovic and David Wagner among others ahead of a home game with Swanselona. Other promotion chasers in action include Pulisball at home to Preston Knob End, and Borussia Norwich at home to the Allam Tigers. Big Racist John and the Boys recovered from the derby shenanigans at Birmingham to win 1-0 and boost their play off hopes ahead of a trip to Nottingham Trees, Brum will be licking their wounds at home to Millwall Scholars who have slipped to one place and one point above the drop zone. Frank Lampard’s Derby County host Stoke.
Referee: Ten years on the league list without a QPR game, then two this season for David Webb following the pre-Christmas 1-1 draw at home to Derby County. He’s had Rotherham three times this season and they’re yet to lose, which is odd given their league position. Details
QPR: The weekend snooze-a-thon against ten man Stoke means it’s one win and eight defeats from 12 league games for QPR dating back to Boxing Day. The R’s have already lost seven times at Loftus Road this season which is one more than the whole of last season. Rangers have scored only one goal in their last four games and have failed to score at all in four of the last six. Rotherham have only won once at Loftus Road in their history and have conceded nine goals on their last two visits here.
Rotherham: So, yeh, those stark numbers behind the division’s worst away record. Rotherham are the only team in the Championship yet to win away from home this season, with seven draws and 11 defeats from their 18 road trips so far. They have stopped the rot slightly of late, with draws at Millwall (0-0), Hull (2-2) and Reading (1-1) prior to the weekend defeat at Sheff Utd. Mind you, prior to that they became only the fourth team this season to lose to Ipswich (1-0). Their last away win in this league was April 2016 at MK Dons and since then they’ve gone nearly two whole seasons without one – 43 games (9 draws, 34 defeats). They have only scored in the first half of away games twice all season. Currently third bottom, a point away from Millwall just above them, they did manage to remain unbeaten for six games prior to the loss at Bramall Lane, although that run included five consecutive draws prior to a home win against out of form Blackburn. They’ve won one of their last 11, two of their last 21 and three of their last 30 in all comps. They did, to be fair, win nine and draw four of their away games last season while winning promotion from League One via the play-offs.
Prediction: A new leader of our Prediction League as the season end draws near with KensalRiseR now atop the division. The winner of our Prediction League this year gets goodies from our generous sponsor Art of Football. Get involved by lodging your prediction here or sample the merch from our sponsor’s QPR collection here. Reigning champion Elliott said we’d beat Leeds, lose at Brentford and draw with Stoke so he’s on a roll and tonight he reckons…
“Well, wasn’t Saturday such great fun? That’s got to be one of the worst football matches I’ve watched live. Considering the attacking players we have - Eze, Wzsolek, Bright, Freeman and our two ‘Premier League’ strikers - we surely should be doing better.. especially at home. Luckily here, we play a team with the worst away record in the league. They’ll be fighting big time as they’re in desperate need of the points. However, I do think we’ll win, probably a penalty as we won’t score from open play.”
Elliott’s Prediction: QPR 1-0 Rotherham. Scorer – Tomer Hemed
LFW’s Prediction: QPR 2-0 Rotherham. Scorer – Tomer Hemed
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