|Five star Forest tear ragged Rangers apart - full match report |
Wednesday, 27th Jan 2010 22:43
QPR’s season reached a new low on Tuesday night when the team was soundly thrashed 5-0 by in form Nottingham Forest. The result stretches QPR’s run of games without a win at the City Ground to 28.
If you wanted a microcosm of just how bad this was from a QPR point of view then how about the incident midway through the second half when Matthew Connolly trotted across to the touchline to take a routine throw in, drew the ball back behind his head, allowed it to slip from his grasp, bounce off his forehead and into play at his feet resulting in a Forest throw the other way. When even one of your brightest young talents who has been exempt from much of the recent criticism of the players cannot even concentrate on his game enough to get a simple throw in right you know you’re in trouble. It’s not like QPR have a series of throw in routines for Connolly to remember - simply pick the ball up and throw it straight to the nearest opponent is the time honoured drill. We couldn’t even get that right.
There’s an art to playing a team like Forest - full of confidence, bags of ability, scoring for fun. It requires team work, hard work, concentration, stubbornness and desire. That QPR were beaten 5-0 on Tuesday, and were lucky to get the nil, tells you how many of those qualities were present in an utterly spineless performance. In a match that provided a clear and obvious comparison between a well run football club at our level and an ego driven shambolic mess the difference between Nottingham Forest and QPR was unsurprisingly stark.
Forest - who went out and got the best manager available to them a year ago and have since left him to manage the side as he sees fit spending transfer fees when necessary and picking the team he wants to pick - were slick, attractive, aggressive, effective, dominant and, at times, absolutely rampant. QPR - who have had four different permanent managers and two caretakers since Billy Davies moved into the City Ground none of whom have been allowed to buy the players they want, all of whom have had their team selections influenced by people other than themselves - were an embarrassment to themselves and the club as a whole; leaderless, heartless, rudderless, clueless, disjointed, disinterested, lacking commitment and thoroughly deserving of the thrashing they were given.
It would be nice to think that Flavio Briatore was there to see it. Surely if anything was going to get the message through his thick head that he has not got the foggiest idea what he is doing with our club and his “people who turn up and pay £20 don’t get a say”, “I didn’t get rich letting other people spend my money and I’m not letting a football manager start doing that now” way of running a football club is deeply flawed, arrogant, egotistical and ultimately doomed to unmitigated disaster then this was it. Sadly one fears even if he was there he will simply have been sitting in the directors’ box blaming everybody else - Mick Harford, the players, the supporters. Anybody it seems but his own stupidity and the people actually responsible for putting together this rag tag bunch of footballers earning vast sums of money on lengthy contracts who repay us and the club with apathy, petulance, laziness and sheer bone idleness.
Everybody involved with our club except the 600 hardy souls in the away end who sang and joked their way through this latest humiliation needs to have a bloody good look at themselves this morning and, with any luck, fucking well fuck off.
The players directly responsible for the result, though certainly not the mess our club finds itself in, last night were, in order of position: Wolves’ fourth choice goalkeeper Carl Ikeme, centre back Matthew Connolly, somebody masquerading as our player of the year last year Damion Stewart, another imposter posing as the runner up Kaspars Gorkss, Wolves’ fourth choice left back Matt Hill making his debut, out of form and out of shape central midfielder Akos Buzsaky on the wing, West Ham’s eighth choice central midfielder Nigel Quashie, captain fantastic Mikele Leigertwood still with ink on his hands after signing a new contract, a rather bewildered Alejandro Faurlin, and a couple of kids on loan from Premiership sides Jay Simpson and Adel Taarabt.
Forest on the other hand boasted two players ousted from our club in Lee Camp, who kept a clean sheet and played well, and Dexter Blackstock, who predictably scored one of Forest’s five. It also included six players signed by the manager in the summer, with a further two waiting for action on the bench. Lee Camp, Chris Gunter, Paul Anderson, Chris McKenna, Radoslaw Majewski, Dexter Blackstock, Dele Adebola and David McGoldrick. Every one of them better than their opposite numbers, every one of them the manager’s choice, and all brought to Forest while we were, technical term here, pisballing about bringing in Alessandro Pellicori, Liam Miller and Ben chuffin Watson. I mean this isn’t rocket science is it? Football team put together by football manager. Barely a penny wasted. Meanwhile whoever is responsible for putting together our lot has pissed more money up the wall than I will ever see in my lifetime. Forest were relegation candidates last season and are now a wonderfully fluid outfit at this level. We were a shambles bouncing around midtable last season and we still are.
Unless he tripped over a lump of metal in the ground one day and found it to be a buried chest of treasure it really is hard to see how Flavio Briatore has achieved the wealth he has such is his ability to consistently ignore the blindingly bloody obvious problems in his QPR “project”. My contempt for just about every single one of the morons currently running and playing for QPR knows no bounds at the moment I’m afraid. This is a club outwardly and inwardly dying on its arse.
After a change of ends during which Lee Camp was warmly applauded by the travelling QPR fans Forest took possession of the ball from the kick off and essentially kept hold of it for the first ten minutes of the game. Their passing was simple and attractive without ever being fancy or gratuitous. The Forest team was set up in a solid, attacking, shape and rarely wasted a pass in the first half - crisply moving the ball ten yards at a time between players in space. One touch and it was gone again, to one of the many options available to receive. Paul Anderson was first to try his luck on goal, a long range effort flew too high to trouble Ikeme. Then a glorious through pass from Majewski put Perch n behind Connolly and he cut a fine ball back from the byline to the near post where only a last ditch tackle from Damion Stewart denied Dexter Blackstock a simple tap in. Ikeme punched the resulting corner away under severe pressure.
As the clock moved into double figures we had to endure a minute or so of farcical officiating from our referee Mr Ilderton. Firstly Taarabt lost out in a one on one situation and as the Forest player carried the ball away he appeared to trip over his own feet, as Taarabt was laid out five yards away from him, but a free kick was awarded. QPR were then awarded a bizarre free kick of their own for a nonexistent foul on Buzsaky and with frustrations running high the Hungarian was booked within 30 seconds for a scything scissor challenge from behind on Anderson that left the Forest man on the ground and staff from both benches aggressively heading for the touchline. All caused by rank refereeing.
In fact Mr Ilderton was a picky pain in the backside for most of the evening and entered the fray again after a quarter of an hour when a staggeringly beautiful Forest passing move, that included two back flicks on its way to the edge of the penalty area, was cut short with them still in possession and about to get McKenna in down the right for a meagre shirt tugging offence by Hill on Blackstock as he received the ball with his back to goal on the edge of the penalty box. McKenna was furious advantage had not been played but it was to Forest’s benefit ultimately as Robert Earnshaw stepped up from 20 yards out and curled a free kick a fraction over the wall, which didn’t jump, and into the bottom corner of the net away from Ikeme.
The looked like it might spur QPR into a bit of life as they moved the ball reasonably well from the kick off and actually got some numbers in and around the edge of the penalty area but when Akos Buzsaky turned down the chance for a strike at goal and passed the ball sideways instead disaster loomed around the corner. Throughout the evening Mikele Leigertwood’s first instinct when receiving possession was to turn in exactly the opposite direction to the one we were playing in and send the ball backwards. He did so again here, giving away possession that should have been comfortably retrieved by Nigel Quashie only for the debutant to kick it straight against Anderson who made the most of a subsequent three on two break to slip a ball through to Earnshaw who drew Gorkss towards him before finishing crisply for his second goal in three minutes and tenth of the night.
The goal was a complete mess from a QPR point of view, preventable from the start of the move to the end of it, and indicative of the absolutely woeful performances from Quashie and Leigertwood in midfield. The pair of them were completely out of their depth all night, lacking presence, strength, positional sense, discipline, ability and anything else that would have made them even a possible viable opponent for McKenna who frankly could have led the pair of them a merry dance up and down the field all night without even changing out of his club suit such was his total and complete superiority to both players. That Leigertwood is actually the captain of this side is heartbreaking.
The immediate reaction to the goal from QPR said a lot. Billy Davies has always insisted that every single outfield player go and celebrate goals right down by the corner flag thereby delaying the restart. QPR lined up for the kick off without a word said between them apart from Taarabt who waved his arms around at the referee for allowing the time wasting. No arguments, no inquest, just line up and go again.
Things started to go from bad to worse thereafter. Ikeme was lucky not to be beaten again before the half hour when Majewski, afforded the freedom of the park on the edge of the QPR box, unloaded a powerful volley that the loaned keeper nervously parried up into the air and collected at the second attempt. Adel Taarabt then became the second QPR player to be booked as he was flagged offside, but smashed the ball high into the stand anyway after the whistle. This began an evening of petulant hand gestures and diving around from Taarabt, although at least when given the ball he could be seen to be making the effort - albeit with no success whatsoever other than a tame bouncing shot straight at Camp that proved to be our only serious effort on goal in the half.
On the half hour it was three nil. Earnshaw hit the deck as Gorkss left a lazy leg hanging out in the penalty area and Ilderton pointed straight to the spot. The Welshman, despite being on a hat trick, handed penalty taking duties onto Dexter Blackstock after a poor miss against Birmingham in the cup over Christmas and Blackstock duly stepped up and whacked the ball into the side netting from 12 yards. An unstoppable penalty even if Ikeme had guessed the right way, which he didn’t – the first spot kick Forest have scored this season.
QPR may have had a penalty of their own five minutes later as Alejandro Faurlin seized on a loose ball on the edge of the area and poked it in behind the last man but rather than hit the deck under contact from Morgan he rode the challenge but could only chase the ball out for a goal kick. Just when you thought the farce could not deepen any further it turns out QPR have signed the only South American in world football who stays on his feet in the penalty box. You really could not make it up.
QPR had completely gone by this stage and it was almost like a training exercise for the home team. The lack of heart and desire among the QPR players I can understand with everything that has gone on, but the lack of fitness is unforgiveable. It looked like professionals v amateurs at times with McKenna barely breaking a sweat while Quashie and Leigertwood blew through their backsides. Before the break Damion Stewart, putting in possibly his worst ever performance for the club, chased Robert Earnshaw down to the corner flag and attempted to muscle him away and allow the ball to run for a goal kick. Earnshaw beat him for strength, and then for pace as he whipped the ball off his toes to Blackstock for a free run into the area from which Rangers were lucky not to concede. Frankly I found Stewart’s performance completely insulting because he is capable of so much better and even if he wasn’t the laws of physics say he should not be beaten for strength by Robert Earnshaw. No surprise to see him withdrawn at half time and replaced by Peter Ramage with Connolly moving to centre half.
Hogan Ephraim came on at the break as well instead of Faurlin - very unfortunate to be taken off considering the pathetic efforts of his midfield colleagues Leigertwood, Quashie and Buzsaky to that point. Whatever was said at half time, and I hope it wasn’t pretty, did not take long and QPR were out onto the field a good three or four minutes before Forest. The players used this time to stand about in small groups with their hands behind their backs waiting. No warm up, no serious ball work, no huddle of the whole team together, no outwardly positive rallying words from their “captain”. Just standing about, wishing it was all over. It was pathetic really, and heartbreaking.
Still it looked like this laid back reaction to being completely humiliated may have actually worked as Taarabt set sail from the kick off, flung himself to the ground under challenge from Wilson and won a free kick on the edge of the Forest area. He looked the favourite to take it but instead played a disguised pass along the penalty box to Quashie who sidefooted a shot straight at Lee Camp.
Normal service was soon resumed though as Forest made it four within two minutes of the restart. Chris Cohen, afforded a criminal amount of space on the edge of the area after Buzsaky had given the ball away and Leigertwood had missed another tackle, drew his foot back and beat Ikeme far too easily from more than 20 yards out. Many QPR fans took this as their cue to turn and head for the M1.
Those that did leave missed QPR actually putting something together for the first time in the game just before the hour mark. A move of more than three passes, each one cheered sarcastically by the QPR fans that remained, took us to Ephraim wide on the left. His cross was punched by Camp who may well have been able to catch instead. The ball fell to Connolly who took two touches into the area before firing a powerful shot that Camp saved well. The rebound flew straight to Buzaky who curled his shot hopelessly high and wide with time and space to spare and a goalkeeper struggling to get up from a previous save. Taarabt did get a shot on target a couple of moments later after being played in behind the Forest defence by Quashie but Camp was equal to it again with a fine one handed save over the bar.
That brief rally from QPR soon subsided back into the limp wristed resistance to Forest’s dominance of before. Anderson dragged a cross-shot right through the six yard box when either a cross or a shot probably would have yielded a goal – Nigel Quashie was booked for a late hit on Cohen in the build up. Perch got in behind Ramage and pulled a ball back that Gorkss sidefooted wide of his own goal and then, from the corner by Majewski, the ball was headed down into the six yard box by Blackstock who had been left unmarked and the similarly unattended Robert Earnshaw flicked the ball over the bar when he should have scored.
Sensing QPR had given up any hope of even keeping the second half respectable Davies sent on Nathan Tyson to terrorise Ramage and his first action was to skin the right back, reach the byline and pull it back into the area where a queue of unmarked Forest players was lead by Earnshaw who thankfully got the ball caught amongst his feet when a simply finish was on.
The defending was completely farcical by this stage and culminated in a fifth Forest goal in quite laughable circumstances. McKenna switched the ball from right to left where Tyson was unmarked and found Perch running in behind Ramage unmarked. He pulled the ball back to the far post where Cohen had been left unmarked, he had two efforts blocked on the line before squaring it to Earnshaw unmarked who missed his kick but inadvertently sent it to Perch, still unmarked, and he slid it in past Ikeme and Connolly on the line.
And at that point I left. I’m sorry, for LFW purposes I try and stay to the end and report to the death however bad it gets and regular readers (hello to both Colin and Nick) will know that the only time I’ve done this before was Watford away last season, but bollocks to them. If that’s the best they can do then I don’t see why I should sit in arctic temperatures in a dark away end and blindly clap along and encourage them. Spineless bastards.
It’s normally at this point that I like to sum up, give some positives and negatives and look ahead to the next game. No positives, and nothing to look ahead to so we’ll skip straight to negatives. This was a thoroughly abysmal performance from a team shorn of first its confidence and belief, and then its desire to really do anything other than go through the motions. It’s a symptom of the way the club has been run over the past two years but the players really should be more professional than they were on Tuesday.
To this point the farce that our club has become has not really shown itself on the league table because we do have quality players at the club. But with Routledge now sold and the ones that remain utterly demoralised we may now start to see more and more teams taking advantage of us. Forest were brilliant, easily the best side I’ve seen in this league this season and to be honest with the football they play, the way they have gone about building their team and the way they have appointed a manager and let him get on with it I hope they absolutely scream away with the league now. Good luck to them, that’s how to run a football club. We now face Scunthorpe on Saturday and heaven help everybody inside Loftus Road on Saturday if we don’t scrape a win there – this could get very ugly indeed.
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Nottm Forest: Camp 7, Gunter 7, Morgan 7 (Chambers 72, -), Wilson 7, Cohen 8, Perch 8, McKenna 8, Majewski 9, Anderson 8 (Tyson 69, 7),Blackstock 7 (Adebola 80, -), Earnshaw 8
Subs Not Used: Smith, McGugan, McGoldrick, Moussi
Booked: McKenna (foul)
Goals: Earnshaw 18 (free kick), 21 (assisted Anderson), Blackstock 32 (penalty), Cohen 49 (assisted Perch), Perch 78 (assisted Earnshaw)
QPR: Ikeme 2, Connolly 2, Gorkss 2, Stewart 2 (Ramage 46, 2), Hill 3, Buzsaky 2, Leigertwood 2, Quashie 2, Faurlin 4 (Ephraim 46, 4), Buzsaky 2,Taarabt 3, Simpson 3 (Vine 69, 3)
Subs Not Used: Cerny, Hall, Cook, German
Booked: Buzsaky (foul), Taarabt (kicking ball away), Quashie (off the ball incident)
QPR Star Man – N/A
Referee: Eddie Ilderton (Tyne & Wear) 5 Needlessly picky at times. Four cards and a lot of free kicks considering one of the teams wasn’t making any tackles. One of those referees that immediately blows for a foul after a bone crunching, ball winning tackle when really everybody loves to see that and it only gets both sets of players annoyed. A by the book man, and thoroughly irritating with it. Hard to argue with either the penalty or the free kick for the first goal having seen them again although Earnshaw did go down easily for the former and advantage could easily have been played for the latter.
Attendance: 23,293 (600 QPR fans approx) A pumping atmosphere inside the City Ground for the first hour or so but quite unbelievably the Forest fans actually went very quiet and restless thereafter when their team went more than ten minutes without scoring. The QPR fans travelled in twice the numbers I expected and chanted, laughed and took the mick out of themselves throughout. I enjoyed the cheering of the passes, the songs about having money but not being particularly good, the five minute Peter Ramage serenade and other laugh out loud moments – well, not enjoyed, but you know what I mean, gallows humour and all that.
Photo: Action Images
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