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Quickfire double downs QPR at Huddersfield - Report
Sunday, 9th Feb 2020 18:50 by Clive Whittingham

QPR started abysmally, grew into the game impressively, then lost it regardless, with a lot of the same mistakes that have plagued them all season recurring at Huddersfield Town on Saturday.

Oh Queens Park Rangers, how do you frustrate me, let me count the ways.

One one thousand. Start an away match at Huddersfield Town pisballing about in your own penalty box. Needlessly. For no positive gain whatsoever.

Rangers had lost three in a row prior to this trip to West Yorkshire but remained above the Terriers in the table. That’s mainly thanks to Huddersfield’s abysmal start to the campaign which saw them draw two and lose eight of their first ten games in all comps. Since a change of manager, highly rated Lincoln City sisters Danni and Nikki Cowley have been leading a steady, unspectacular, grinding revival up the table. They’d reached twentieth with six wins and four draws from 16 games and a January transfer window screamed Championship pragmatism. Old heads, Richard Stearman and Andy King, and a player the Cowley’s have worked with before, Harry Toffolo, have been added along with pacy English players for the wide areas, Emile Smith Rowe and Chris Willock. A host of expensive, foreign signings made by the previous German manager have been shipped out. They would, inevitably, be seeing a home match against a side that has lost four in a row on its travels since a December victory at Birmingham as a chance to post three points.

What do QPR do about that? They ignore all conventional wisdom about getting a foothold in the game, quietening a large and boisterous home crowd, not making early mistakes, not inviting needless pressure, establishing themselves in the arm wrestle, not giving their opponent the sniff of anything and start fartarsing around with the ball literally from the kick off and literally within their six yard box. Two near misses on nightmare backpasses and Tony Roberts-style delayed clearances were followed by Liam Kelly springing from his line to smother a pair of one twos after QPR had ceded possession in their own final third.

Even if you understand the playing out from the back theory, even if you’re a disciple of the total football philosophy, even if you think Mark Warburton is an overall force for good, this was passing for passing’s sake. Nothing to gain and everything to lose. Suicidal football. Painfully disheartening for those who’d travelled all the way from London to see the game. Ideals prioritised over reality. Zero pragmatism. In short, utterly fucking stupid.

But Huddersfield didn’t score, despite the frequent invitations, and the more Huddersfield didn’t score the more QPR grew into the game. Ebere Eze started to yield significant influence, escaping from one tight spot in his own half with an outlandish flick back over his own head, and that of his marker, spin and collect on the other side. A double nutmeg through midfield carried him into the final third and a low shot was parried away by home goalkeeper Jonas Lossl, recently returning to this part of the world on loan after an unsuccessful summer switch to Everton. More superb Eze play down the left carried him powerfully through three challenges in quick succession and resulted in a shot from Luke Amos which Lossl diverted over with one hand. After a quiet, tired couple of performances this was gratifying to see from Rangers’ star man, gliding past men and driving at defences again. His deliberate pause over the taking of a corner to allow a minute of applause for recently killed Huddersfield youth team graduate Jordan Sinnott a really classy touch from a young player. I’d still like to see him going beyond the striker again, as he did before Christmas, but this was better and with Dom Ball starting to dominate in midfield that foothold was belatedly established. From a nightmare beginning, QPR had grown to be the better team in the game, bar a solid Kelly save from a late Steve Mounie header just before half time. Bright Osayi-Samuel dragged the final chance of the half wide of the far post.

Two one thousand, not scoring when we’re on top. Jordan Hugill had already scuffed one very presentable early chance when chipped in behind the defence by Eze when captain Grant Hall flicked a header from Eze’s corner over Lossl, off the inside of the post and back out into play. Unlucky on that occasion perhaps, but it was as close as Rangers came all afternoon. The clinical, ruthless finishing that defined the games at the start of January has dissolved completely as confidence has waned and Nahki Wells has been lost – now just two goals scored in four games, and none in two and a half matches since Hugill briefly equalised at Blackburn.

Three one thousand is the kit. This seasons strips divided opinion anyway, before the withdrawal from the UK market of our shirt sponsor Royal Panda apparently necessitated the plastering of its parent company’s logo over our colours in the form of temporary stickers. The light blue away kit was an improvement on last season’s explosion in the Pepto Bismol factory, but not by much and tended to make our players look like poolside attendants in some all inclusive resort in the Maldives. Already fined once by the league for failing to report for the Fulham away game in the pink third kit as requested by that night’s referee, here Rangers avoided a kit clash by mixing and matching first and second kits 1980s style. If only there were a simple red and black hooped alternative to this trip through the dressing up box. A downgrade where a downgrade never seemed possible, from pool boys to holiday reps, signing mouthy hormonal gobshites up to nights out sucking shots out of the navels of barely legal teens. We looked an absolute fucking state. It’s difficult enough following this rabble around without us turning up in our chuffing pyjamas.

We’re a proud club, full of traditions, with a litany of brilliant, bold away kits throughout our history. Enough with this fucking nonsense now, enough with the duck egg blue and the fluorescent pink, enough with the mucky brown with mustard pinstripes, enough with the Caterham trim. Enough, enough, enough. Give us a proper away kit, that serves the primary purpose of being a significant change from a blue and white home kit, immediately.

Four one thousand, making all the same mistakes at the start of the second half as we had at the start of the first. Having escaped first time around and then worked so hard and played so well to claw our way back into the game and get back on top, we then did all of the bad and none of the good.

Town went in front early, with new arrival from Lincoln Harry Toffolo riding one ridiculously over committed tackle from Hall in the area and then crossing to Elias Kachunga who was able to stroll in unmarked between static Connor Masterson and Lee Wallace to head home unchallenged. Undone and panicked, Rangers swiftly conceded an even more defensively shambolic second when Wallace miscontrolled the ball to begin with and then hung a lazy leg out in the second instance to fell Kachunga and allow Mounie to slam home from the spot. Dom Ball complained bitterly to referee David Webb, but it looked a pen at first glance and was the ninth Rangers have conceded this season – all but one of them scored. Rangers well on their way to conceding in excess of 70 goals for the fourth season in a row.

QPR have usually been good for a goal this season, only West Brom have scored more, and they’re usually the safest ‘both teams to score’ bet on the coupon, but they looked pretty bereft for the final half an hour here. A camera save from Kelly stopped Andy King scoring from range, and a further shot at close range from Kachunga was beaten away. In contrast, it was hard to recall Lossl having anything to do at the other end.

Warbs Warburton made two changes with some time to make impact. Jack Clarke came on for Luke Amos – ineffective again – but unfortunately this was Sheff Wed FA Cup Jack Clarke rather than last ten minutes of the Bristol City game Jack Clarke. Up against the experienced Danny Simpson he embarked on a lather, rinse, repeat routine of collecting the ball to a cacophony of boos for his Leeds connections, running with the ball down into the channel making the defender think he’s going to cross from the byline, chopping back to get it onto his right foot with all the shock and plot twist of a Christmas Eastenders episode, and losing the ball. Fanaticism is doubling down on your actions despite negative outcomes, and Clarke is fucking fanatical about that chop back and cross. Further frustration for the similarly afflicted behind the goal.

At least he was involved though. Honest to God the first time I realised Marc Pugh had come on at the same time, for Ilias Chair, was on the train home afterwards. Hands up, Dido, White Flag, accept my five out of ten rating with all my very sincerest intentions. I never even noticed he was there.

A token effort over the bar from long distance by Lee Wallace was enough to send a good portion of the away end scurrying on their way to an early stark on the long schlepp home.

Five one thousand, a good few of them will do it all again to Swansea on Tuesday.

Six one thousand, crashing back in after ten at night, I found my tickets to Nottingham Forest away in a fortnight had arrived, just to put the tin hat on the day. What was that I was saying about fanatics?

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

Huddersfield: Lossl 6; Simpson 7, Stearman 6, Schindler 6, Toffolo 7; Hogg 6, O’Brien 6; Kachunga 8 (Willock 90, -), Smith Rowe 7, Bacuna 6 (King 74, 6); Mounie 7 (Campbell 72, 6)

Subs not used: Chalobah, Coleman, Pyke, Stankovic

Goals: Kachunga 57 (assisted Toffolo), Mounie 61 (penalty, won Kachunga)

QPR: Kelly 6; Kane 6, Masterson 6, Hall 5, Wallace 5; Ball 7, Amos 5 (Clarke 67, 5); Osayi-Samuel 5 (Oteh 87, -), Eze 7, Chair 6 (Pugh 67, 5); Hugill 5

Subs not used: Lumley, Manning, Rangel, Barbet

Bookings: Hugill 27 (foul), Amos 41 (foul), Ball 82 (foul)

QPR Star Man – Dom Ball 7 Sadly effort, commitment, sticking a foot in, tackling, and showing a bit of backbone makes you QPR’s star man more often than not in the current run of results. Another run of six straight defeats beckons. Ebere Eze was superb first half, but faded into anonymity after half time. Bright Osayi-Samuel continues to struggle under extra measures taken by opponents since the massacre of Jaz Richards, God rest his soul.

Referee – David Webb (Durham) 7 Not my favourite, often over-fussy, but perfectly fine here with all the big decisions correct.

Attendance – 21,083 (650 QPR approx.)

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OldPedro added 19:13 - Feb 9
Fair report although surprised you gave Danny Simpson a 7 - thought he was in loads of trouble in the first half. Also found it frustrating that on a couple of occasions when we had the ball in decent positions, the ref stopped play because a Huddersfield player was supposedly injured. We got the ball back when play restarted but lost any opportunity to break forward when they where a man down. There was even one instance in the 2nd half where Huddersfield had the ball and played on, but he stopped the game for one on their players who was busy punching hr ground.
The penalty looked more like the forward kicking the defender and the throwing themselves to the floor to me, but refs always seem to give them especially this ref against us.

ngbqpr added 19:39 - Feb 9
Pretty much how I saw it. Biggest disappointment for me, after that encouraging recovery from the madness of the opening 15 minutes, was the heads dropping / lack of threat after the second goal. This team has generally been better than that this season, and with half an hour left against no great shakes oppo, I'd like to have seen some more get up & go (as we saw at eg Barnsley, despite so much of that day being a comedy or errors).

ozranger added 21:17 - Feb 9
Thanks again Clive. Hope you survived the trip back and were well lubricated for the journey. I note you missed an incident that you said at the game was why Ball definitely deserved man of the match for us, that being that incredible tackle late in the first half not more than a yard or two from goal that halted a clear goal scoring opportunity, possibly when Hall made another (missed) fling at the ball. Sadly, I also think you have been too kind to Hall in this game.

Myke added 23:34 - Feb 9
Cheers Clive. Another 'copy and paste' job for recent performances. Goodness you really are giving Kelly a free pass at the moment. No mention at all of the fact that it was his weak kick out straight to a Hull player that led directly to the penalty that effectively killed the game. If (when) Lumley did that... Don't get me wrong, as I have said many times I see no benefit in slaughtering our players, especially the young ones (and like Lumley, Kelly is a pup in goalkeeping terms) and goalkeepers especially are particularly exposed when errors, that would go un-noticed in other areas of the pitch (how many mis-placed passes where there in mid-field for example?) often lead to goals. My issue is that you did not afford the same restraint with Lumley.
Anyway, Swansea, will be easy, sure we slaughtered them a few weeks ago with a weakened team.

timcocking added 00:58 - Feb 10
Spot on yet another perfect explanation of everything

062259 added 05:23 - Feb 10
8 points from safety
9 points above the drop zone

snanker added 06:39 - Feb 10
Thank you Clive another bog standard away day up North to a side below us then. All the usual ingredients in the report and yes a template edition indeed ! Its going to be a very hard graft till May & wouldn't you now I fly out home game day when R's are up in Brum and hope it doesn't come down to needing a point or three from that match. With defending like ours throughout the season so far the jury is out on finishing posi. I was always taught the basic that you build a side from the defence first shore it up at the back and build momentum going forward. Simple 60's nonsense this day and age !!?

Tomo_5 added 07:15 - Feb 10
I think the players are playing like they think they're safe.

Drab...Dull....Lifeless - like the kit! I hope whoever at QPR approved the kit got a very big backhander from the inept kit designer.....

Go on QPR, ruin another season for us....

Paddyhoops added 10:02 - Feb 10
QPR f**king weekends since 1882!!

Northernr added 12:51 - Feb 10
Oz, and Myke - you're both absolutely correct. Put it down to fatigue, I really couldn't be arsd yesterday.

ridethewave added 13:37 - Feb 10
Thanks Clive.

I can only presume you haven't seen replays of that Pen, because it was as sure a dive as you'll see. Appalling decision. Again though, we gave the ref a decision to make.

And wow, we really did look toothless up top.

wrinklyhoop added 14:29 - Feb 10
Pretty good summary once again Clive. Not sure about the pen, as up the other end - looked like Wallace hooked him, but the defence was all over the place thanks to Kelly's kick.
As you point out, WTF was that kit the team were wearing? Looked like we'd borrowed shirts from the RAF and shorts from the Navy FFS! Hope to god we get something decent next season, bring back Dennis :-)

Northernr added 14:56 - Feb 10
Ridethewave - have seen it since and yeh it looks dodgy, but one first look (which is all the referee gets) I said pen straight away so I'm not going to grumble.

HastingsRanger added 15:36 - Feb 10
Before the contracts go out, is there anyway we can lobby the club for a return to a decent and fit for purpose away strip.

Denis the Menace red and black hoops or even the golden era (I show my age) when Bowles and Francis were wearing red and white quarters. Black shorts for both.

If they want to make money, put the word 'classic' or 'vintage' in front of the word Away to achieve those sales.

Whilst I accept the club transfers regarding selling just of late (thanks to your clear analysis, Clive!), I just hope we have measured the bungy jump rope correctly, as there are still points to be bagged and we are slightly in free fall here. Personally, just a little twitchy.

TacticalR added 15:35 - Feb 11
Thanks for your report.

Agreed that was a really shaky start.

I don't think those floated balls over the top from Eze that worked for Wells are going to work for Hugill. That's not his game. He needs the ball on the floor (as played to him away at Sheffield Wednesday) or pacy crosses - even Clarke's pinpoint crosses aren't going to work without pace.

That kit. There's an Australian kids program called 'Bananas in Pyjamas'. That's us at the moment. Agree completely that as we can't predict where the light at the end of the footballing austerity tunnel might be we should at least get the kit right.

We looked wobbly after they scored and it wasn't that surprising when they scored again. Agree with ozranger that Hall seems to periodically fall to pieces.

The frustrating thing is that as we can't score when we're on top it's only a matter of time until we concede.

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