Lacklustre QPR pay Brentford penalty - Report Tuesday, 29th Oct 2019 19:30 by Clive Whittingham
Outplayed by their opponent and conned by the referee, QPR slipped to a disappointing but deserved Monday night defeat to neighbours Brentford at Loftus Road on Monday night.
Occasionally, football can be all about timing.
A little over a week ago, Brentford were being very Brentford indeed. Losing home games despite having 76% of the possession and facing only one shot on target in the whole match – a header from 25 yards. Losing away to a newly promoted side despite dominating, seeing three shots cleared off the line in the same passage of play. Talking a lot about ‘expected goals’ while teams scored actual ones at the other end. They did keep bottom placed Stoke out, but only drew 0-0 at home. Stopit – show some bloody respect, Justice League champions three years in a row this lot. Murmurings about manager Thomas Frank were growing into proper grumbles as Millwall Millwalled their way into a two nil lead at Griffin Park.
Queens Park Rangers, meanwhile, were having a lovely old time. Goals flying in from all angles at both ends of the pitch; totals that took Steve McClaren’s tired side a whole season to rack up being matched and surpassed in early October; free scoring strikers, exciting young midfielders behind them, away wins; cats and dogs living together, mass hysteria.
But over the last seven days or so, a couple of things have happened. Brentford, miraculously, came back to beat Millwall after all with three goals in the final six minutes. Buoyed, they subsequently stormed South Wales and beat early Championship pace setters Swansea 3-0 in fine style. QPR know only too well the perils of going from being a club that doesn’t spend money to being one that does, but in the space of a week the theory has switched on the Bees’ expensive summer recruits – perhaps they just needed time to settle. All those sides lucky enough to play them while they did now grateful to have them out of the way – those with them coming up in the fixtures cursing their luck.
QPR, meanwhile, for the second season in a row, saw good form and promising league position unexpectedly interrupted by a hard fought, scarcely deserved home draw with lowly Reading. Twice now we’ve gone into home games against the Royals with them low in the league, us riding high, only one result likely on paper, and nearly been stung. For the visiting scouts, there was lots to go on as Ejaria and Swift ran amok at Loftus Road on Tuesday night.
Now, suddenly, you’ve got a QPR team with a few doubts facing a Brentford team moving through the gears. A whole new slant on the match compared to if it had been played a fortnight ago, and in the first half at last it felt like the pitch was sloping heavily towards Liam Kelly’s goal. The bookies made the visitors favourites and, as it transpired, they were right to do so.
Said Benrahma got in behind Angel Rangel good and early and although a laughably bad cross drew ridicule, the problem of Brentford’s front three of him, Ollie Watkins and Bryan Mbeumo getting betwixt and between a leaden-footed back four, missing Yoann Barbet against his former club, was very real. Only a tremendous last ditch block by Grant Hall stood between Josh Dasilva and the goal on the quarter hour after Toni Leistner had given the ball away and Mbeumo had got him in. Then Dasilva turned provider with an outrageous piece of skill to bamboozle the entire QPR midfield and provide space and time to thread Watkins through on goal but Kelly saved brilliantly one on one.
They took the lead on 23 minutes when Mbeumo crossed for Watkins to head in – QPR with a proper wide on at the back once more, absolutely gaping – and only shrewd defending from Rangel prevented them going in again on 32.
In return QPR got Bright Osayi-Samuel going at his full back once – low cross claimed by keeper Raya at his near post on nine minutes. A glorious flick over his man and catch on the other side could have set Ebere Eze up for the goal of all time had he taken on the shot that presented itself rather than looking for another pass. Later Nahki Wells’ cute ball in field carried just too much pace for Eze to bring under his spell and scream through on goal. But that was it, 1-0 more than fair. Josh Scowen’s much needed cage rattling tackle on Mbeumo in first half stoppage time at least suggested some resistance to come – earlier he’d been lucky to escape a yellow for deliberately interrupting a counter attack with a trip. Usually a mandatory one that.
It’s not the first time QPR have been a bit loose and pedestrian to start games this season. It hasn’t bothered them greatly, they’ve come from behind to win against Sheff Wed, Hull and Wigan, but it would have been nice in the context of this game to see a repeat of the start we managed against Luton. We showed we were capable of blowing opposition away that day, but we haven’t see it from the start since, and once more in this game momentum and scoreline would need to be overhauled in the second half.
Initially, no problem at all. Straight away Eze burst through and drew a yellow – Andy Woolmer had remembered his cards this half. Moments later a free kick from wide was headed firmly at goal by Nahki Wells drawing the first proper save of the game from Raya – a bloody good one as well. Then, from that corner, Grant Hall powered in at the near post to head down and in for the equaliser. Crowd, roused by a half time introduction to Clint Hill, and team resuscitated after a comatose first half. Three times in quick succession Osayi-Samuel took on his full back and beat him, the third resulting in another booking – Rico Henry joining Norgaard on Woolmer’s pad.
This was better. This was much better. There was width and pace, threat and intent. The ball was popping, the play was switching, Brentford were sweating and QPR were clicking. Where it had all been in the first half could be debated afterwards, what mattered at this point was it was here now and the scoreline hadn’t moved too far beyond Rangers when it wasn’t. This wasn’t just salvageable, this was winnable.
But, like I say, timing can be everything in football. Benrahma had curled one wide of the top corner on 50 which would have left QPR ruing chances for a tactical foul earlier in the move had it gone in, but most of play had been flowing towards the Loft End since half time. That was until Nahki Wells and Ebere Eze contrived to give the ball away in a bad area, Liam Kelly just about prevented Toni Leistner’s desperate clearance turning into an own goal, and then Bryan Mbeumo contorted himself theatrically into the air and landed between the non-existent tackles of Josh Scowen and Wells in the penalty area. It goes without saying that this was not a penalty, anybody who thinks otherwise is a certifiable moron, but unfortunately, as we detailed before the game, the PGMOL had decided to enliven proceedings by sending us exactly that to referee the game. Woolmer, whose handling of a long list of QPR games over the years has ranged from cataclysmically awful right the way through to the sort of rabid nonsense that should really have seen him sectioned under the Mental Health Act, whose inept handling of Championship games in general had seen him booted off the division’s list for the season before last, pointed straight at the spot. Of course he did. Fucking wrinkly prick.
It was the sixth penalty Rangers have conceded already this season, and the seventeenth going back to the start of last season. That’s more than any other team in the division and none of them have been saved. Not that any goalkeeper in the world would have got to Benrahma’s effort into the top bins mind – Kelly did go the right way, and wouldn’t have got there with a butterfly net.
And that was pretty much that. You could just feel the air go out of the place, like a balloon deflating. Crowd and team just getting into full flight, now suckerpunched and unable to bounce back. We’d wondered whether Jordan Hugill’s suspension might not be a bad thing after the difficulties of trying to accommodate him and Wells against Reading – not so. We missed the physicality, the target, the back to goal game, the presence and the pugnaciousness he brings to our attack. Wells, isolated and frustrated, started to look a lot like March and April’s Wells again. Jan Mlakar was introduced to try and do a job but was played too wide and had little effect. Osayi-Samuel, who’d tortured Henry in the first 15 minutes of the half, disappeared altogether – injured, according to those on the Ellerslie Road side, but not replaced. The midfield axis of Geoff Cameron and Josh Scowen looked slow, and tired, and one dimensional. Luke Amos hasn’t torn up any trees since arriving from Spurs, and was downright crap in the last home game, but I thought we lacked his athleticism and attacking vision from the centre of the park. Too often balls were played backwards and sideways, frequently ending up all the way back with Kelly, for want of better options showing ahead of the ball.
I wouldn’t fault anybody’s effort. Had Ebere Eze’s nutmeg and 20 yard shot on 64 minutes gone in the net we’d have been talking about the goal for years to come but it, and another similar try from Ilias Chair later in the game, irritatingly flew straight at the keeper. Overall I felt we looked leggy, and distinctly second best for all bar the first ten minutes of the second half. Having made such a big deal of the use of the squad in previous three match weeks I did find it strange that Warburton would basically stick with the same team three times this week, bar the enforced withdrawal of Hugill and Barbet. Rangel, Cameron, Scowen, Osayi-Samuel and Wells all looked likely candidates to be replaced to me after an hour here, and quite a few of them do have direct replacements available.
Far from chasing an equaliser, Rangers actually looked well capable of conceding a few more. Benrahma was basically through on goal on 62 when Kelly denied him, and the goalkeeper was forced into more nervous but still effective action five later when Mbeumo cut in and tried his luck. Two free headers from a wide free kick 15 minutes from time gave Watkins a chance to turn and shoot – Kelly blocked at the near post.
The play acting that had won Brentford their second goal, and got the game stopped at a convenient moment for them in the first half when Benrahma was clutching his leg and demanding refereeing action while at the same time shooting a wind-up grin to the east Paddocks, reared its head again at the end of the game when big hard Pontus Jansson took a sniper shot on the edge of the Loft End penalty box. Woolmer played along with the flagrant clock running episode, but QPR did not – refusing to return the ball from the resulting throw in. Shame we couldn’t get an equaliser off that really, or when Raya came for a routine cross in the eighty seventh minute and dropped it cold but nobody reacted to put it into the empty net. Chances are QPR’s infuriating technique of starting half a dozen players offside from every free kick expecting Brentford’s high line to drop back and play them on as the ball was kicked, even though they’d shown no inclination to do so all night, probably meant somebody would have been flagged off if they had scored. Come on boys, engage brain will ya.
Four minutes of stoppage time bought one half chance when Jansson allowed a ball to bounce with Wells and Mlakar in hot pursuit but having survived that the Bees were able to counter attack and add a third through the game’s star man Ollie Watkins from close range with the last kick.
The penalty was crucial, coming just as QPR had gained ascendancy and equalised, and changed the course of the game back Brentford’s way. It was a disgusting decision from one of this league worst referees. But we shouldn’t pretend we were cheated out of this, we were outplayed for the majority of the game and they deserved the third goal they added right at the death. Even the penalty itself only came about because we gave the ball away on the edge of our own area.
One of those bottle of red wine alone in a dark living room ends to an evening.
QPR Star Man – Ebere Eze 6 I don’t know, I nearly didn’t give one, I thought everybody was a bit of nothing really, trying hard without ever getting anywhere. Liam Kelly made good saves, but conceded three goals and was off with his distribution. Eze did get an assist, and kept going, and did pose an attacking threat.
Referee – Andy Woolmer (Northants) 4 Captain bellend, chuckling away through his staggering ineptitude.
Attendance – 15,562 (3,000 Brentford approx.)
The Twitter/Instagram @loftforwords
Pictures – Action Images
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So many dodgy effing penalties...they are real morale sappers for the team and the crowd. It is as if we are being sabotaged a la the Premier League days. Losing fairly is one thing, but those frequent non-existent penalties really are a kick in the goolies. P!ssing me right off now.
Quite disappointing as I did feel for much of the match the team looked leggy but more worryingly slow in working out from the back, which led to being predictable and easily pressed. It feels like a confidence thing and players not so comfortable in the playing from the back under pressure. As with Reading, there does not seem to be another way of playing when pressed at the back. The long ball is not going to be a success with this team and kicking wide into touch happened a bit too often.
Equally frustrated with the freekick set up with half a dozen players offside. I really have no idea what is trying to be achieved here and as you say it will end up with an inevitable offside call.
However, the disappointment is really that I saw just a brief opportunity of being in automatic promotion slot, which would never have lasted but would have been nice for a week.
Still some positives, BOS put in a good shift and nice to see Hall back.
Usual excellent report which pretty well reflects the way I saw if from the upper section.I thought at the time the penalty was soft and after seeing it later on the box confirmed it was a poor decision by the useless Woolmer.Thought we deserved to win but we were wasteful with our chances although Kelly pulled off some good saves.Surprised me when I heard we only had 2 players on the field from the last game we played at LR a year ago.Fair play to the breadman he has certainly improved Eze who has never really impressed in previous games against us but was impressive all game.Will be interesting to see where we both are in January when we meet for the last time at Griffin Park hopefully we will still have all of the players who played last night at the club and not cashed in.
You've said many times that we are losing to the better teams - I fear however that the average teams have worked us out now too. That said, we did have momentum when the penalty was awarded and, not withstanding we were not playing well, in the same way had Eze and Chair not shot directly at their keeper, without the pen we could easily have gone on to win. I do think it time there was a review panel similar to Autralias AFL whereby, if a player dives (in the penalty or not), tries to get a player booked or feigns an injury and the ref misses it or is not sure, he can let the game flow and the review panel can award points for said player which result, when enough are accrued, in a suspension .
I thought Benrahmas dive in the first half was a disgrace. Having nutmegged Leistner he then went to ground holding his left ankle. The ref then stopped the game for him to get treatment, which wasn't even necessary as there hadn't been a foul. Then there's the penalty, another embarrassing piece of acting by a Brentford player. Both bits of acting fooled the fool of a referee.
Sadly the referee became the main talking point yet again. He was abysmal like most championship referees. Our dodgy defence was once again our Achilles heel. We could see it coming from our position in the lower loft . Full backs getting sucked into the middle on numerous occasions leaving us vulnerable out wide . Something has to be done . At the moment our centre halfs are making joel Lynch look like Virgil van Dyke. One last point . I know I shouldn't but I looked at Brentford's troll in chief, Nick Bruzons match report. We got the usual myopic bullshit and bile. However in one paragraph he described Loftus Road as a "horrible, horrible ground" .Its a bit like a homeless bloke describing his mates bedsit as a shithole when his own abode consists of a pissed stained doorway. As you can tell . I'm not a fan. Rant over.
Accurate report and a disappointing overall performance in front of the cameras.
We have some skilful players but lack a an athletic box to box central midfielder that can Provide some leadership and guidance to the youngsters.
Was particular disappointed with the last ten minutes and our inability to push on for an equaliser. We appeared to run out of ideas and spent most of the time piss balling around in our own half.
Agree with other posters that it might be worth giving Manning and Amos a run in the holding roles as Cameron and Scowen gave us very little. Scowen was particularly frustrating. Wallace is also overdue a run out.
The difference between 2 teams was that Brentford rarely made a mistake with their slick flowing football, whereas we were consistently poor with passing and naive positioning. Also, too slow and hesitant at the back. Teams are now aware that out main plan is to play it out from the back, so the opposition is playing a high press game trying to force errors. This would be ok if we had a defence that was a) comfortable on the ball, and b) quick and alert. Unfortunately, we don't tick either of those two box's, and have become way too predictable. Therefore I think we should drop this tactic for now, and look to play it a little longer. When Hugill is back, he is a good target man who can win, and hold up the ball further up the pitch. I thought Kelly was brought in for his good distribution, but I don't feel we have seen much evidence of this so far.
Thanks Clive. So this 'certifiable moron' can see why the penalty was given. The ball was pushed out by Kelly after being crossed in, despite the fact there were 6 (count them 6) QPR defenders around the one attacker. Scowen lunged in unnecessarily (just as he did at Blackburn last year) and regardless of whether he made contact with Mbeumo or not his leg went right across the Brentford man, not once but twice. Woolmer, to be fair, was right up with play, which considering Eze had given the ball away so cheaply was good work, and had taken up a decent position and had only one split second - no replays, no slow mos in ultra HD, no VAR as back up - to view it and make a call If it happened at the other end, we'd have been baying for a penalty. I think to say the ref conned us, as you said in your intro Clive, is unjust. IF anyone conned us , it was Mbeumo with his theatric collapse. I understand you have been present at Woolmer's previous meltdowns and I haven't, but your derision for him has coloured your vision on this incident I feel. Everything else I totally agree with, Brentford deserved to win the game -simple as. Funny how the penalty seemed to deflate us, after we only discussing how falling behind doesn't seem to be an issue lately. Having got back into the game once and with still half an hour to play, you would think we would have taken the game to them, hunting for a second leveller, but it never looked like happening and the third goal was no surprise. It was so disappointing, for the third time on telly this season, to see us out fought and out thought by the opposition. It has been an amazing season so far and if we finish 5 or 6 places lower than we are now, it'll still be an excellent year. But defence has been Walburton's Achilles Heel wherever he has been. As long as the goals keep flying in at the other end, people tend not to mind, but once they stop... It's unrealistic to need to score a minimum of 2 goals a game to get result and maintain that all season. I've already said there were 6 defenders in the box leading up to the penalty and none of them could deal with a routine cross. The first goal was shocking, a completely free header. Leistner is only effective in a back three, due to a lack of pace and poor positional sense. If he is just given the role of clearing out high balls he is excellent, but once he has to start looking around to pick up mobile strikers, his limitations are exposed. The unpredictability of the league continues unabated, against Leeds literally any result is possible.
Maybe I'm totally wrong (very likely), but 4-2-3-1 just doesn't really work with these players. Wells was too isolated on Monday, and Eze can't effect the game anywhere near as much when he's out wide.
Cameron is a bomb-scare in a midfield two, and Manning (for all his ability to get forward) gets caught out far too much defensively for my liking.
Three centre-backs, two wing backs, a midfield pivot (Ball for me) and two attacking midfielders (Eze, Chair) behind two strikers has to be our primary set-up.
Brentford we better, more organised and had far more discipline in their roles than us on Monday. But I do wonder that if we had set-up differently, if things would have been a little closer.
Well Myke I appreciate your comments as always but if that's a lunge my cock's a bloater. Scowen realises what will happen if he hangs his leg out, so doesn't. Very unlike the two Blackburn penalties he gave away last season which were just mindlessly stupid tackles. He's actually learnt from that, not done it this time, and been punished anyway. He stands there with his hands up and Mbeumo dives into the space between him and Wells. Not a difficult one to get right for me.
Agree with everything else you say, as per, though.
Well maybe 'lunge' is too strong a word - wouldn't like you to have an 'inflated' opinion of your manhood! - But my point remains valid: Scowen sticks his leg across Mbeumo legs takes it away and goes in again low towards his ankle. Yes Mbeumo made a meal of it, most players do nowadays, but my instant reaction was'oh sh1t no!' And as I said, if it happened at the other end, we'd be howling for a penalty
I definitely wouldn't have been howling for a penalty if it was at the other end. Well, I might in the heat of a match atmosphere but I would totally acknowledge that it wasn't one as would everyone I know who has a head.
The worst decision since that Bristol City away one last season. It just wasn't a penalty.