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QPR scrape victory that leaves Watford sweating - full match report
QPR scrape victory that leaves Watford sweating - full match report
Wednesday, 21st Apr 2010 15:09

QPR bumbled to a lacklustre victory at home to Watford on Tuesday night thanks to a penalty from Akos Buzsaky. The result leaves Watford in relegation danger while Rangers move up to 14th.

Neil Warnock did his old charges at Selhurst Park a huge favour with a 1-0 victory against relegation threatened Watford. From a QPR point of view the game told us little we didn't already know - Rangers are toothless in attack and we do not have the right players for the style that Warnock wants to install. However what was clear from this performance is that when Adel Taarabt decides to throw a strop and can’t be bothered – Rangers fail to even create chances for their strikers to miss.

Taarabt’s game ended just before half time as a mysterious injury was cast upon him, but with Taarabt not looking to find space and move the ball quickly even before that, Rangers struggled to look threatening with the hapless Rowan Vine and Antonio German struggling to find any sort of form in attack.

One of the key points that Watford manager Malky Mackay would have told his troops before this crucial game would be to have no regrets. His side, barring a couple of missed chances in the second half, adhered to his words with a fully committed display that merited more than a return of no points - but unfortunately it may well be Mackay himself waking up this morning contemplating what might of been.

The inexperienced Scottish manager, the youngest in the league, set his side up in the first period with restrictions that meant they could not pass the halfway line. The bus was indeed parked, and Rangers had to rely on a penalty to break them down. Watford threw men forward in the second period and deserved to win the game, creating the only real chances and wasting them. If they are relegated, Mackay may reflect on a wasted 45 minutes where his side should have shown more ambition against a fragile and lacklustre QPR side.

Watford made two changes to the side that was stuffed 4-1 at Leicester City - the leg snapping Martin Taylor came in for Jay Demerit who missed out with a stomach injury, whilst Don Cowie also joined the ever growing injury list at Vicarage Road, youngster Stephen McGinn replaced him. The goal machine Lloyd Doyley returned to the bench, obviously named in the squad just to strike fear into our centre halves.

QPR also made two changes with Tamas Priskin and Jay Simpson making way for Antonio German and Rowan Vine, who in my opinion is on borrowed time with the promise of strikers being brought in over the summer. Lee Cook still had to make do with a place on the bench against his former club and questions will start to be asked whether Hogan Ephraim’s birth certificate actually reads Hogan Warnock - however in fairness to Ephraim he was one of the better performers on a dire night of football.

Three youngsters were once again named on the bench – Lee Brown, Joe Oastler and Josh Parker, all will probably be given a full debut in the remaining fixtures.

The game started at a pedestrian pace with Rangers seeing all of the ball but failing to create much with it (story of the Warnock era). A Buzsaky volley flew over, then the Hungarian tried an ambitious 35 yard free kick which was pushed away by the nervous Scott Loach, who throughout the match seemed uncomfortable with any sort of back pass.

As the dross on the pitch was playing out I caught a quick glimpse at Martin Rowlands, who was struggling to find a seat in the director’s area, after much deliberation a seat was found – panic over and the most exciting moment of the first half had come to an end. Good to see Rowlands wearing the same jacket as me too, I’m such a trend setter.

Back to the match and Rangers continued to prod away at the Watford backline without much success. On a couple of occasions good opportunities arose, but were wasted by the so called professional footballer Rowan Vine, who was truly woeful in the first half and only slightly better in the second. I won’t go on about Vine too much but here’s my exact notes from a 15 minute spell in the first half – “Vine mis-controlled ball, Vine misjudged a bounce, Vine too slow to the ball, Vine failed to read the situation, Vine over-hits cross.” He was pushed out to the left wing in a swap with Taarabt to get him of out of harm’s way mid-way through the first period, in a move which we hoped would see the emergence of the Moroccan in the game.

Unfortunately Taarabt was very disinterested with actually doing his job, if I went to work, stared at my computer screen all day, touching myself and looking very disinterested, the job centre would be my next port of call. He lumbered around the pitch half-heartedly attempting to find space, and when a trick or a flick failed to come off, it was a quick shrug of the shoulders and head down. At one point he lost possession in the final third – Watford sprung a pretty slow counter attack and by the time the ball was cleared by Ramage for a throw, Taarabt was still 20 yards offside, meandering back without a care in the world. Any hopes of signing the youngster are surely well and truly dead in the water now, as it is clear that he sees his future away from west-London, which is a shame as given then right mentoring he could be a very special player.

As my focus became more interested in Taarabt’s behaviour, the game suddenly burst into to life as Tosic drove into the Watford area and was brought down by Mariappa - I think it was the first time a player had actually beaten an opponent all evening. Buzsaky stepped up and admirably converted the penalty in front of the furious Watford following – cue pigbag.

All of the R’s players celebrated in the corner, apart from Gorkss, Cerny (both needed as defensive cover) and Taarabt as he sulked his way back to the half-way line, looking like he felt aggrieved that he didn’t get to take the penalty. A quick substitution sign to Warnock and a point to his left leg, followed by a dubious looking hobble – meant it was the end of the night for him and maybe the end of his Rangers career. Pity he’s gone out on such a low point considering the moments of genius he has produced this season.

Lee Cook replaced him and slotted into the space just behind the striker, but failed to put his stamp on the remaining 50 minutes.

Rangers continued in the same vein for the remainder of the half, having the majority of the play but failing to create anything of note. With German leading the line the tactic was to go more direct but it didn’t really pay off. The young lad struggled in the lone role up front; he put a lot of effort in but wasn’t overly threatening in the air and looked like a rabbit caught in the headlights on a few occasions. Its a tough ask on an 18 year old to play that position at such a high level – it will be interesting to see who Warnock brings in to play that role. Someone like a James Beattie or a Rob Hulse would be perfect.

What surprised me was how lacklustre relegation threatened Watford were in the first period, QPR are a fragile team at home and they really should have been more ambitious in their play, one shot at goal in the first half said it all.

That all changed in the second as the arrival of Marvin Sordell to partner Danny Graham in attack breathed life into the Hornets as they dominated the second period. QPR were restricted to counter attacks for any form of attacking threat, but a lack of quality in the final third cost them the second killer goal.

As my neck muscles began to ache – it was like being at Wimbledon - Graham managed to be offside for the seventh million time. Surely offside is defined as foul play, so consistent foul play should result in a booking, you may laugh but in the Chelmsford Under 15’s league a few years back Jack Banfield was booked for persistent offside – the most frustrating strike partner I have ever played with. “Jack you're offside was the cry from the parents” all I ask for is consistency from these referees.

Sordell, whilst not setting the world alight, gave Watford an alternative option in attack and presented his team-mates with two wonderful opportunities to draw level. First Graham failed to direct a header on target from eight yards before John Harley somehow failed to convert from three yards, I didn’t get a great view but credit probably goes out to Cerny.

With the visitors sensing a winning goal – Warnock brought off Buzsaky for Joe Oastler to shore up the midfield, Oastler ran around to no great effect and looked pretty nervous when on the ball – but I may be a bit harsh on him considering it was his debut.

Watford continued to press with John Eustace letting fly from 25 yards and once again Graham and Sordell linking up well, but with no end product. QPR by this point were happy with the one goal cushion and despite a late break from substitute Jay Simpson which was clawed away by Loach, gave up all hope of doubling the lead. Big credit has to go out to the two Rangers centre halves who did deal with a fair amount of aerial threat in the second half pretty well.

The last ten minutes past without any major incidents or chances with Ramage and Gorkss standing firm against a bombardment of Watford long balls. Lansbury wasted a late chance from a dangerous set-piece and Rangers saw out the remaining minutes without ever looking hugely troubled.

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QPR: Cerny 7, Leigertwood 6, Ramage 7, Gorkss 7, Tosic 7, Ephraim 7, Buzsaky 6 (Oastler 6), Faurlin 5, Vine 4, Taarabt 3 (Cook 5), German 5 (Simpson 6)
Subs not used: Putnins, Brown, Parker, Priskin
Booked: Buzsaky (diving), Ephraim (foul), Cook (foul)
Goals: Buzsaky 38 (penalty)

Watford: Scott Loach 5, Adrian Mariappa 6, John Harley 6, Martin Taylor 7, Dale Bennett 5 (Lloyd Doyley 7), Lee Hodson 6, John Eustace 6, Ross Jenkins 7 (Micheal Bryan 6), Henri Lansbury 6, Stephen McGinn 5 (Marvin Sordell 7), Danny Graham 7
Subs not used: Lee, Oshodi, Hoskins, Henderson
Booked: Eastace (foul), Mariappa (foul)

QPR Star Man - Peter Ramage 7 No standout performances in a pretty dismal team display, but the two centre backs dealt with a lot of Watford pressure in the second half, with the nod just going to Peter Ramage who was more consistent throughout the 90 minutes than Gorkss who was sloppy in the first half. Ramage is nothing spectacular at centre-back but was perfect for this scrappy encounter.

Referee – Pat Miller 6 Got the one major decision spot on with the penalty, but his levels dropped in the second period where he started to give plenty of soft looking fouls – special mention to both linesman who were in top form, got every offside call correct, not a bad effort considering the Watford front two were offside 763 times.

Attendance: 13,171 (2299 Watford)

Photo: Action Images

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