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F-awesome Forest set QPR on road to ruin - Report
Thursday, 28th Nov 2019 23:54 by Clive Whittingham

QPR clocked up a sixth game without a win with their worst performance of the season so far and a 4-0 loss to Nottingham Forest at Loftus Road on Wednesday night.

Here we go again then. Queens Park Rangers, a bin on fire, hurtling down a steepening slope with no bottom in sight and no ideas on how to quell the flames.

It’s the speed at which it takes hold of us that’s most disturbing. One moment the sun is shining and we’re happily running a very long, very sharp sword through Blackburn Rovers and Luton Town. Fourth in the league, with four away wins on the board, and the Championship’s hottest property dancing his way around stricken Hull City defenders. Reading at home, bit annoying but not a defeat. Brentford at home, tough to take in a derby but playing a more talented team further on in its development. Leeds away, title favourites. Middlesbrough at home, can you smell smoke? Where’s our nearest available airport? A position of ascendency blown at Fulham. And now, an old fashioned debacle against Nottingham Forest.

It doesn’t so much creep up on us as barge in through the front door and plonk itself down in the centre circle. I’m here now, what you going to do about it? Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink didn’t know, Ian Holloway didn’t know, Steve McClaren didn’t know, and now it’s Mark Warburton turn to take a broken toothpick to a burst dam. Already, inevitably, Neil Warnock’s name is doing the rounds. Gareth Ainsworth’s awesome performance at Wycombe has not gone unnoticed. Changing the manager has literally worked twice for QPR in 30 years, but the blood lust is real. We’re an odd group. As the belief visibly drains from the team, a collection of pimple-faced children have decided it would be helpful to contact goalkeeper Joe Lumley directly to tell him he’s “scum”, “shit” and should “fuck off from the club”. That’ll help.

On Wednesday night, it was Nottingham Forest pouring the petrol. A difficult opponent, sixth in the league with only one away loss all season, made to look like an all-conquering invading force. A sixth game without a win for QPR, a tenth consecutive match where at least two goals have been conceded, the 33rd, 34th, 35th and 36th goals shipped by Rangers in 18 league outings this season. Each was more defensively shambolic than the last. There were zero positives to take, and almost as few QPR supporters left in the ground at full time.

Rangers looked nervous, unbalanced and wide open at the back from the first whistle. It was not a winning combination. They were lucky to get away with Ryan Manning inadvertently turning a ball out from the back straight into the path of Lewis Grabban on ten minutes — he shot straight at Joe Lumley, which is about as much as Lumley can manage at the moment. Three minutes later a ball allowed to bounce between Lee Wallace and Toni Leistner was scrambled out for a corner. A mismatch that was allowed to continue and fester all night from Forest set pieces at the back post saw Figueiredo head into a net left unguarded thanks to Lumley’s slip.

The hapless keeper was able to grasp the ball on the half hour when another back post overload resulted in a scramble that Grabban could have easily turned in, but when he misjudged a ball that would have bounced harmlessly out for a goal kick and panicked a clearance straight into the Ellerslie Road stand the natives grew restless.

There were some bits and pieces to get vaguely excited about as the half drew to a close — maverick Congolose goalkeeper Brice Samba made an unorthodox save from a Manning shot when a rare QPR corner was cleared out to him, then took a more conventional approach to denying Chair high in the top corner after Ebere Eze had nutmegged his way into danger. Chair later broke clear of the defenders and hit a routine shot at the goalkeeper and there was some sense that a sparse crowd may be livening.

But, if we’re honest, Rangers were miles short of their opponent. The decision to leave out Friday’s scorer Jordan Hugill to recall Chair hadn’t worked — not through any fault of Chair’s, but more because it removed a physical presence, outlet and support man for Nahki Wells from the attack against a well-drilled side which was heading towards a ninth clean sheet of the season. Wells, isolated, was too casual chasing a rare moment of loose defending on 27 minutes and the chance passed. Luke Amos, so impressive at Fulham on Friday, was anonymous in a beaten midfield. The back three of Hall, Leistner and Wallace looked more of a danger to Rangers than the Forest forward line. Ryan Manning, player of the season elect to this point, put in a performance that suggested drink had been taken, riddled with random decision making and wild overhit crosses into the stands.

As well as the known problems with the defence and goalkeeper, you can feel the balance slipping out of the team in general. Ideally we want to play Wells and Hugill together, but it requires one of Chair, Eze or Osayi-Samuel to be left out. Ideally we want Luke Amos to be that creative link between defence and attack, but he’s struggling to perform the role, and we don’t really have anybody else that can do it either. Bright Osayi-Samuel is unfortunate not to be in the team. There are players on the bench the manager, and supporters, would like in the side, but it’s difficult to see how or where without leaving out somebody else you'd ideally want to pick. We’re deep into a footballing Rubik’s cube.

Second half, Hugill on for Amos, we’ll give this a good go. Not the first time this season we’ve trailed after an insipid first half only to come roaring back in the second stanza. That was the script, and Ian Holloway emerged at half time to rally the faithful with an unusually concise speech that featured all the dripping enthusiasm for QPR we’ve come to expect. Shit on more than once and he still loves the place. We got rid of him for Steve McClaren.

Speaking of QPR doing stupid things... Soon Joe Lumley was rolling a potentially lethal ball out from the back over the toes of Lewis Grabban. Stop it. There was the now standard shot over the bar from Ilias Chair, so desperate for a goal he’s now snatching at chances while leaning back so far he’s almost horizontal. And then, on 49 minutes, a long ball forward from Forest wasn’t dealt with first by Leistner, then by Wallace, and when the Scottish defender hauled down Joe Lolley as he ran beyond him referee Steve Martin produced a red card. Harsh, could have got away with a yellow, but a problem of Rangers’ own making like all the others.

Forest could have levelled the numbers immediately. Matty Cash clattered into Ryan Manning who made a lot of it — as he does. Referee Martin was facing the other way at the time, but somehow decided in a split second that it was to be a yellow card and not a red. Felt rather like a referee too keen not to be seen to even things up to me, even though they may have warranted it. Manning got straight up mind.

Chip pan ablaze? Pour on cold water. Everybody knows this. Josh Scowen was summoned from the bench, and booked immediately for pulling back Lolley after he’d once again burst through a broken midfield off a failed Ryan Manning free kick. That left Scowen on a tightrope and Rangers facing playing with nine men — twice in the remaining time the former Barnsley man needed to commit tactical fouls to prevent further damage but had to pull out for fear of joining Wallace in the early suds. This really wasn’t going well, and to compound matters he subsequently planted Rangers’ best chance of the night wide of the post with his head from eight yards out when it looked for all the world like a goal after enterprising wing play by Kane.

The game went scrappy for a time, which at 1-0 and down to ten men probably suited Rangers. Sabri Lamouchi sent on John Bostock to try and restore midfield dominance, but he looks like he’s been enjoying the French lifestyle a little too much — pint of foie gras s'il vou plait — and was himself immediately carded for a foul on Scowen. Rat revenge. Nahki Wells hit a half decent shot from the resulting free kick over the Forest wall, drawing another save I’m not sure you’ll have seen the likes of anywhere else before from Samba. When Hugill chased the rebound, he was very harshly punished for nudging the goalkeeper. As if the previous 75 minutes hadn’t boiled my piss enough.

Biiiiiiiiig old problems still to come though. That Figueiredo overload at the far post occurred for the ten trillionth time on the night requiring a frantic goalline clearance and then a great block by Scowen as sub Carvalho tried to smack in the rebound. Wells’ tired give away had Forest back in down the left within 60 seconds and Ameobi crossed low for Grabban to tap in at the back post — unmarked, naturally. Time still for Carvalho to amble his way in from the far touchline through a, frankly pathetic, attempted tackle from Scowen to make it three nil under an amateur-standard bit of Lumley goalkeeping. And if you thought that was bad Lumley then spilt a routine shot from Cash into the path of the offside Ameobi who squared for Semedo to make it four with no flag flying.

Zulus, thousands of them. QPR had given up, and given that the style of play and approach isn’t likely to change while Warburton remains, the way the belief drained out of the players quite so easily and dramatically is perhaps the biggest concern of all.

Talk to me about Derby away.

Links >>> Knee Jerks >>> Photo Gallery >>> Ratings and Reports >>> Message Board Match Thread

QPR: Lumley 3; Hall 4, Leistner 3, Wallace 4; Kane 5, Manning 3; Amos 4 (Hugill 45, 5), Ball 5; Eze 5, Chair 5 (Scowen 53, 4), Wells 4 (Osayi-Samuel 83, -)

Subs not used: Barnes, Pugh, Mlakar, Cameron

Red Cards: Wallace 49 (professional foul)

Bookings: Scowen 57 (foul)

Forest: Samba 6; Cash 7, Figueiredo 7, Worrall 6, Robinson 7; Watson 7, Silva 7; Adomah 6 (Carvalho 60, 8), Lolley 8 (Bostock 75, 6), Ameobi 7; Grabban 8 (Semedo 85, -)

Subs not used: Mir, Dawson, Chema, Muric

Goals: Figueiredo 15 (assisted Lolley), Grabban 81 (assisted Ameobi), Carvalho 88 (unassisted), Semedo 90+1 (assisted Ameobi)

Bookings: Cash 52 (foul), Bostock 76 (foul)

QPR Star Man — N/A

Referee — Steve Martin (Staffordshire) 4 Red card looks harsh, though QPR made their own problems. Decided very quickly that the challenge on Manning wasn’t a red card, without actually having seen it. Last goal is about the most offside thing you’ll ever see.

Attendance — 12,937 (1,840 Forest) Like an abandoned morgue.

The Twitter/Instagram - @loftforwords

Pictures — Action Images

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CLAREMAN1995 added 01:42 - Nov 29
That is a brilliant report and despite the result and shocking slide we are on it softened the blow.Ryan Manning playing liquored up was top class stuff
However on a very disturbing note both Manning and Lumley room together and probably see the social media postings which are horrible and uncalled for .Hopefully they can both shake it off and return to early season form ASAP

062259 added 02:58 - Nov 29
22 points from safety
8 points above the drop zone

royinaus added 04:16 - Nov 29
The problem Warbs has is having started so well. If we"d started as badly as last year we maybe wouldn't be so negative.
Glad you picked up on Manning's shocker - worst game he's had by a country mile.
Out ball retention (or lack thereof) was shocking but again, when we were keeping possession it often involved going backwards if nothing was on just to keep the ball which also had the keyboard warriors blunting their nails. speaking of which, some of the crap I've seen (and I try to avoid it) since the game is shameful - didn't realise we had so many wan...r's supporting us

Paddyhoops added 07:50 - Nov 29
Great report as always. A woeful performance all around. Nobody came out with any credit and while I agree with you on the abuse Lumley is taking on social media, his performances have been as poor as I've seen from a Rangers keeper in many a year.
Hes costing us a goal pretty much every game now and that's not an exaggeration.
Sadly the alternatives dont seem to be there!

Rangersboy66 added 07:57 - Nov 29
A bin on fire! LOL

Confidence has gone and the shape has gone too. To cut Manning some slack he must of played 90 minutes in virtually every game but with Wallace now suspended he wont get his much needed sabbatical any time soon.

Too many occasions where Hall and Leistner stand looking at one another with that look that says 'where did he come from', whilst the ball is nestled in the back of the net.

It feels like a number of players are just doing enough but not busting a gut, we need to start quicker at home, like we did away at Craven Cottage.

Disappointed with the performance. Hump inducing!

CliveWilsonSaid added 08:35 - Nov 29

This report summed up the the match for me to a tittle. It seems we're once more caught in a rip tide and we can only hope it doesn't pull us too far out to sea, that we can't swim back.

Barbet and Kelly can't come back soon enough for me.

dannyblue added 09:46 - Nov 29
Very much enjoyed the chip pan fire, josh scowen line.

kernowhoop added 10:00 - Nov 29
I posted this on, but, it seems to fit better here:

I was not at the match, but, on TV, it looked as though the team started the game nervously – a huge contrast with the way that they started the game at Craven Cottage. The nervousness showed up in numerous mis-placed passes in the early part of the game, when the pressure on the home team was not particularly great. For their part, Nottingham Forest looked at ease, but hardly an outstanding team. Why were Rangers nervous in a home game against Nottingham Forest when, five days earlier, away to Fulham, they attacked freely for the start and could have been three goals up in the first half an hour?
In the second half last night, the sending off clearly changed the game, but, strangely, not at first. They seemed more committed and for some time, they actually played much better when a man short. In fact, for a while, an equaliser looked a strong possibility.
We have - more or less - the personnel to finish in the top half and maybe scrape into the play-offs. I cannot be alone in thinking that - just look back at the rave reviews that were being posted on here a few weeks’ ago. But, on the field, too often, the team lacks belief. Restoring that belief is a massive challenge for Warburton and I doubt whether fine words alone can do it. We seem to need a strong defensive player (not necessarily at the back – it may be a defensive midfielder) who is a huge personality, who can tighten things up and restore the confidence. Is there someone out there who could be signed in January to do that job?

xianwol added 11:02 - Nov 29
I think for once you are too harsh, Clive. We created quite a lot in the first half, were definitely unlucky to go in one goal down and the sending off, of the clearly very useful Wallace, was harsh and changed the game. My Forest mate sitting next to me thought that until the last ten minutes we held our own.

Marshy added 11:18 - Nov 29
Not having in Wells and Hugill in at the start was a huge error. If that means you have to leave out one of Eze, Chair or BOS then so be it. We need goals, and we need them now.

If you look closely at the 3 Forest second half goals, we didn't have enough players back defending. Clearly you have to flood the area with bodies, but the few defenders we did have back, looked completely stranded. Having said that, Hall and Leistner tend to look "lost" most of the time anyway. But it got me thinking whether generally there might be a lack of fitness with some of the forward players for them to get back and defend. Or is it that confidence and morale is so currently sapped, that some players are not putting in as much effort as they should. Unfortunately I think it might be the latter!

There have been a number of calls to get Gerry Francis in to sort out this mess. I then thought maybe more realistic, might be a return for Clint Hill who would be an excellent defensive coach. A more pragmatic solution I'm afraid, is to look to the January transfer window, and see who we might recruit to shore up this calamitous s###house of a defence. Oh, and if there are any decent goalkeepers available - you're very welcome.

JamieHastings added 11:50 - Nov 29
Even with the club's more pragmatic approach of late, the need for a goalkeeper and c/b and/or Romaine Sawyers-type in January is clearly evident. I just hope MW gets enough points on the board in the hectic few weeks ahead that Les & Co haven't felt the need to hit the panic button before January comes around. At the moment you look at Barnsley away even, and can't be filled with confidence.

Myke added 12:15 - Nov 29
Overall a good report Clive although to stereotype Manning as drunk just because he's Irish was both cheap and lazy. Fortunately my school's musical was on so I missed this horror show. As nonsensical and ludicrous as the idea is, it is exactly this type of result, performance, capitulation and mind-set that gets a manager sacked - Just ask any of the last 3.

Northernr added 14:15 - Nov 29
Myke - absolutely nothing to do with him being Irish, everything to do with his suddenly wayward crossing.

TacticalR added 15:17 - Nov 29
Thanks for your report.

In the oppo interview the Forest Fan told us what would happen: 'We’ll let you have a lot of the ball (seriously, at least 65% possession coming your way) but we won’t let you do a great deal with it.'

We couldn't play through Forest so we tried to play around them with our wing backs, but needed Hugill to be in the middle to get on the end of the crosses. This was like the Middlesbrough game, cold and rainy - ideal Hugill conditions I would have thought. Instead Manning and Kane were left trying to play balls in to the diminutive Chair (that might have been one reason Manning's crossing was so bad as he wasn't sure what kind of cross to put in).

Then our defending was so limp for the first goal that the game was over as soon as the goal went in. That's when the game was lost, not when Wallace got sent off or when we folded at the end. The whole team seems to be unravelling, with bad defending, bad passing and bad choices on the ball.

Myke added 20:07 - Nov 29
Ok fair enough Clive. just that we have had a number of wayward and inept defensive displays, pretty much since the beginning of the season and none were referred to as intoxicated. Anyway far bigger issues to be addressed, like how to keep the best manager we've had since 2012 from being forced out. That third goalie we signed during the summer - do you know anything about him?

extratimeR added 21:14 - Nov 29
Thanks Clive

Weird, but the moment we kicked off and a few minutes in, it just didn't seem right, something wrong on the pitch? you could smell the nervousness, cabnt really explain it, but we seemed beaten before we kicked a ball, just a thought.

extratimeR added 21:23 - Nov 29
Bloody lap top its older than me!

Anyway as I was saying, it just felt wrong, Manning definitely does not seem to be enjoying playing wing back at the moment, (some of the 80 yard stuff over his head into Ellerslie, from Leistner cant be helping), the service out to him, particularly at Fulham seems spartan or overhit, but yes overall the performance from everyone was very poor.

Personally I think the club needs to keep its nerve, we knew before the season started how tough this was going to be and we can never compete financially with Forest, (Grabbon was on £35,000 a week at Villa, so I guess its gone up?).

Survival this year by one point will be a result until FFP curse is removed.

Cheers Clive, very accurate but depressing report.

kernowhoop added 10:28 - Nov 30
I agree with you about the nervousness. From my comments, above:
I was not at the match, but, on TV, it looked as though the team started the game nervously – a huge contrast with the way that they started the game at Craven Cottage. The nervousness showed up in numerous mis-placed passes in the early part of the game, when the pressure on the home team was not particularly great. For their part, Nottingham Forest looked at ease, but hardly an outstanding team. Why were Rangers nervous in a home game against Nottingham Forest when, five days earlier, away to Fulham, they attacked freely for the start and could have been three goals up in the first half an hour?

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