Everything but the goal, QPR held at Bournemouth - Report
Sunday, 18th Oct 2020 20:21 by Clive Whittingham
QPR returned from the international break in fine form everywhere except in front of goal as they drew 0-0 at Bournemouth on Saturday.
At times, Warbs Warburton can be so Warbs Warburton he becomes a parody of Warbs Warburton without our help. The Captain of Glasgow Rangers thing. The Academy Education thing. The insistence that our problem is failing to score enough goals, after his 76-goals-conceded defence has just shipped again off a corner. The spending of money we don’t have on yet more excellent young boys who want to play ‘ten’. The ongoing selection of Luke Amos in that position despite that ever lengthening queue. Warbs, whatever you think of him, is going to Warbs.
Over the closing stages of an elongated summer transfer window he was allowed to add right-sided attacker Albert Adomah to a squad whose current best player is a right-sided attacker. He also brought in Chris Willock – academy education klaxon – for the opposite flank, somebody who’d previously worked with our coach Neil Banfield at Arsenal. Which is just as well, because they both spent the majority of this game sitting in the main stand – Willock looking young, and light; Banfield looking like a man who’s paid for 90 minutes of deckchair hire and will be getting 90 minutes of deckchair use regardless of how cold and dark it’s getting. If you want to make yourself useful stop whinging and go get me a battered sausage.
Warbs picked neither Willock, nor Adomah. Enemy of the people Amos was still at ten. Out of sorts Ilias Chair was still out of position to the left of the three. Geoff Cameron and Dom Ball a central midfield pairing so caustic to the eyes you could use it to strip grease from an old oven. Captain of Glasgow Rangers still at left back, after the World Painting Yourself Into a Corner Championships ended with Ryan Manning making a sideways move to a club he didn’t want to join for a sum of money so pitiful QPR may as well have just hung on and shaken hands on a free transfer next season.
The reaction to this team selection was righteous fury. Allow me to precis: “Drop Amos put chair into Cam and put Adomah in”, “Luke Amos again, this guy offers nothing”, “Wallace will get rinsed down that side”, “After signing all those attackers we still decide to play Amos in CAM the state of it”, “4-1 Bournemouth”, “Warbs will be gone soon, don't worry”, “Today is likely to be full of pain”, “Surridge is gonna have a field day at the back post with Wallace marking him”, “I feel sick”, “This is awful”.
Losing your tiny mind to the team news announcement is the new black.
Those who indulged looked daft pretty much from the first minute, although Seny Dieg’s early adventure to the corner flag with Sam Surridge in hot pursuit screamed a Kelvin Davis v Ray Jones repeat for a horrible moment. Other than that, QPR’s set up accomplished a number of things almost immediately. Bournemouth wing backs Jack Stacey and particularly Adam Smith were forced back into their own half and made to defend rather than maraud forward. Lewis Cook was smothered and the home team’s midfield couldn’t get a grip on the game – smothered it should be said by Geoff Cameron, Dom Ball and Luke Amos, £500,000 worth of footballer against three players who Bournemouth paid £32m for collectively.
Bright Osayi-Samuel, initially doing nothing to dissuade Bournemouth in their ongoing vague attempts to buy him, isolated Smith one on one twice in the first three minutes and on the second occasion made Asmir Begovic save low at his near post after a good Cameron ball had set him free. Eight minutes in, Macauley Bonne turned the ball round the corner intelligently, Ilias Chair crossed low, Bournemouth scrambled clear.
Rangers had done their homework and countered the home team’s approach superbly. Bar one first half escape when the former Liverpool man whipped a first time shot across the face of Dieng’s goal, Rob Dickie’s possession of Dominic Solanke was total. Quick snagging check with the agents on Monday and then he can have the keys to his life after this domination. A superb tackle from the recent arrival from Oxford helped Bonne get free through a weak tackle by Steve Cook but Begovic was quick and powerful off his line to save at the Zimbabwean’s feet. Within four minutes Luke Amos, playing like a man possessed, had won the ball high up the field and freed Bonne a second time, and this time Begovic saved well with an outstretched foot when Bonne really should have scored. Another great move soon had Captain of Glasgow Rangers in down the left with a low cross that Bonne, again, should have scored at the near post but messed up an attempted, needlessly extravagant, backheel finish.
Dom Ball’s Ideas Above His Station No.368 in the Series included him pioneering off down the right via a nutmeg. It came to nothing, it never does, but this is where we were in this game, Dom Ball nutmegging people. There were yellows late in the half – Osman Kakay harshly from referee John Brooks for his first foul, Bright stupidly for lashing out in injury time – but QPR had been far and away the better team, should have led at least 2-0, and Warbs Warburton’s stock phrases about ruthlessness in the opposition penalty area were, for once, every bit as spot on as his much maligned team selection.
Bournemouth had won three and drawn one of their Championship games to this point, including a comprehensive 3-1 demolition of the same Coventry team that beat us 3-2, but their approach to this game was sluggish and lazy, exemplified by a series of short corners which amounted to nothing. I’d question whether a team taking short corners against this Queens Park Rangers team, with everything that’s gone on over the last year and a bit, has even done us the courtesy of having a cursory look at a highlights video of us. It was almost insulting.
They couldn’t possibly be as bad again after half time, and indeed that proved to be the case. They finally beat the Amos-led high press on 52 and got Surridge into the left channel but Dickie cleared with a crucial, towering header as a long line of would-be suitors for the cross assembled unmarked at the far post. Chair went into the book for a cheap and easy tug back on Stacey as he started to influence the game going forwards for the first time. Dickie bravely blocked a shot from Surridge and Jason Tindall then brought on Arnaut Danjuma – still benched despite already scoring twice this season – and that ratcheted things up another level. Kakay – excellent again, much more assured and confident touch of the ball to go with his widowmaking approach to defence – blocked his first shot drawing halfhearted handball appeals. The Sierra Leone international then chucked everything he had in front of a low drive from Gosling, swiftly followed up by an equally committed last ditch clearance from Captain of Glasgow Rangers as Bournemouth returned the ball to the red zone immediately.
This was more the game we expected, and now had a 1-0 home win and week-long curses about not taking our chances when we had them in the first half written all over it. But Osayi-Samuel had already found the side netting at the near post with a great chance that surely would have yielded greater reward had he gone across the keeper, and Warbs wasn’t done yet. Three substitutions were made, possibly all slightly later than they could have happened, but nevertheless hugely effective in wrestling back control for the visiting team. First Osayi-Samuel, nursing a groin, was replaced by hometown hero Albert Adomah, who was the width of Diego Rico’s toe cap away from scoring with his first touch after ten seconds when Chair sought him out at the far post. Rico, incidentally, excellent and lesser spotted Spanish example of a man with two first names. If you can beat Simmo’s mate Dean Trevor in these stakes then please get in touch, usual contacts at the end of the article.
Willock soon replaced the tiring Chair, and Little Tom Carroll likewise for Amos in fairly tragic circumstances. Amos is rated be few other than his manager, and for long periods of time it’s difficult to see exactly what he does. Here, for 80 minutes, in his best performance for the club so far, he showed exactly what Warbs has been talking about, with a high-energy pressing game which completely nullified Bournemouth and set QPR on the front foot. Sadly, while closing down a clearance in the left channel, he caught his studs in the turf and jarred his knee. After recently missing a year of football with an ACL blow out on the other side, we can only hope and pray for the lad that a jar is all it was. He looks like he has the weight of the world on his shoulders at the best of times, and these were not the best of times. Whatever you think of him, if he has done that, just as he was finally playing like this, that would be particularly cruel, even by 2020 standards. Everything crossed.
Fresh legs revitalised QPR in the game though. Solanke had headed wide after Dom Ball had got caught exploring new frontiers with another nutmeg, and found the side-netting with another effort that Dieng well covered, but the Rangers goalkeeper didn’t have a save to make and this Rangers team which conceded 76 goals last season has still only faced nine shots on target in five games this year – a division low. The last ten minutes belonged to the Hoops, with Wallace standing up a nice cross that Bonne would surely have headed home but for QPR fan Chris Mephan’s desperate intervention. Bournemouth, now with £31m worth of forward on the field, finished the game firmly on the back foot.
It was a 2-0 away win in all but name, and a real one in the plus column for the manager. You do, however, have to capitalise on these good days when they come, or at least use this as a platform to go on and secure victories in a run of three home games between now and the end of the month. All the fully justified praise for this performance, and satisfaction with the result, tempered slightly by one win from six to begin the campaign, six wins from the last 25 in all comps, and two wins from the last 17 away matches.
We’re getting there, this was better, but nil nil draws with praise for performance doth butter no parsnips. Rangers must make it count against Preston, Birmingham, Barnsley and Cardiff over the next week or so.
Bournemouth: Begovic 7; Mepham 6, S Cook 5, Rico 6; Stacey 6, L Cook 5, Lerma 5 (Stanislas 76, 5), Gosling 5, Smith 5; Solanke 5, Surridge 5 (Danjuma 61, 7)
Subs not used: Riquelme, Travers, Ofobohr, Simpson, Zemura
Bookings: Rico 48 (foul)
QPR: Dieng 6; Kakay 7, Dickie 8, Barbet 6, Wallace 7; Cameron 6, Ball 6; Osayi-Samuel 6 (Adomah 67, 6), Amos 8 (Carroll 72, 6), Chair 6 (Willock 83, -); Bonne 5
Subs not used: Kane, Masterson, Bettache, Kelly
Bookings: Kakay 42 (foul), Osayi-Samuel 45+2 (foul), Chair 55 (foul)
QPR Star Man – Rob Dickie 8 Best performance for the club so far, pocketing Solanke bar one escape in the first half to such an extent that Bournemouth moved their big money striker in the second half to try and get more joy out of Yoann Barbet. Early days, but we could have a real find on our hands here. Luke Amos ran him close.
Referee – John Brooks (Leicestershire) 7 One or two odd moments, and Kakay’s booking looked harsh, but the other cards were justified and nothing major wrong.
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