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Queens Park Rangers 0 v 0 Stoke City
SkyBet Championship
Tuesday, 15th December 2020 Kick-off 19:45
QPR and Stoke grind out dire bore draw - Report
Wednesday, 16th Dec 2020 16:32 by Clive Whittingham

Potentially the last game with a crowd at Loftus Road this season sadly drained away into a real damp squib on Tuesday night as two obviously very tired teams struggled to put passes together or pose meaningful threat on the goal.

Regular readers, hello to both, may recall back in 2019 Queens Park Rangers and Stoke City serving up 90 minutes of such unadulterated dross that I spent the match report talking about the time I travelled alone to Prague in the midst of a post-break up meltdown and spent a week at the world’s most boring and pointless business conference being held in a concrete block from the Soviet era out near the airport, with occasional breaks to walk across that bridge into the old town, which is what you do when you’re in Prague. In fact, it’s all you do when you’re in Prague. Over the bridge. Into the old town.

Now, it would seem, that QPR and Stoke were quite offended by this. There were, at least, two red cards in that match. What more, exactly, did I want? Smart arsed little prick giving it the big ‘woe-is-me I’m so bored and hard-done-to’ routine because there was a bit of dried prostitute’s blood on the carpet of his airport hotel room and now he’s had to sit through QPR drawing nil nil with Stoke. How bloody terrible for you. There are kids starving in Africa you know. And the north of England. Get over yourself mate. You want boredom, you think that’s boredom, come here we’ll show you what fucking boredom looks like. QPR Nil Stoke Nil Part Deux – This Time It’s Terminal.

If you’re one of those happy sorts that likes to think the best of people, look on the bright side of life, try and see the positives in situations, then I guess a clean sheet is something. It was QPR’s first in nine games, but fifth of the season which is now just one shy of last year’s total. Seny Dieng was largely untroubled in goal, and there were steady performances back there from Yoann Barbet, Rob Dickie and Niko Hämäläinen. You also couldn’t fault the efforts of Ilias Chair, whose moment of first half brilliance looked to have put a goal on a plate for Lyndon Dykes only for Collins to take the ball off his toe right at the last second, and who might have scored a late winner from reasonably long range had it not hit team mate Macauley Bonne (in an offside position, because offside position is where Macauley Bonne lives) prior to reaching the goal.

But, overall, this was less football match, more assault on the senses. Don’t come at me about the ratings, nothing and nobody deserves more than a six for their part in this absolute tumour. Pay back for the league’s host broadcaster Sky Sports for moving one of the few matches with fans this season into working hours on a working weekday. I can’t imagine more than half a dozen neutrals managed to drag themselves through this at home, and thankfully there weren’t even the permitted 2,000 supporters inside Loftus Road to suffer it in person. Two obviously tired and exhausted teams, one of them with an injury list almost as long as its team sheet, trying to battle through a horrendously unforgiving fixture list, making basic errors of judgement and execution through fatigue, over 95 excruciating minutes of pure dreck. I don’t particularly blame them, this season’s schedule was always going to be unworkable, I’m just annoyed I had to sit through it.

QPR did at least start well, with Albert Adomah restored to the starting line-up seeing a lot of early ball down the right, forcing a succession of early corners. Rob Dickie was unfortunate to see a looping header from one of those cleared from the line, and when Chair got in behind with an immaculate touch and provided good, early service to Dykes the only question was whether it was a bad miss or great defending. That was all in the first 12 minutes and the next thing I’ve written down is a fairly vintage Yoann Barbet yellow card on 31 minutes for abandoning his defensive station to clatter right through the back of an opponent on halfway – advantage was played, but it was deemed reckless enough for a card in any case by friend of the site Keith Stroud, as per that increasingly complex and complicated new rule.

A man returning the ball to play from the front row of South Africa Road with an Alan McDonald-style no nonsense clearing header, executed to perfection without his flat cap shifting an inch, immediately put him in the running for man of the match. A minute of first half stoppage time was added in which Stroud (smaller than most of the stuff that’s come out of my advent calendar) erroneously awarded Stoke a corner, realised he’d fucked up, so abandoned the game before it could be taken.

So that’s the first half. Start of the second, Stoke moved up a couple of gears (you mean there’s a SECOND GEAR!?) in much the same way that QPR had at the beginning of the first, attacking with vague purpose down the flanks, and forcing a number of early set pieces. Todd Kane at one point decided to hit the inside of his own post, to get the blood pumping a bit, and at another took a full-on Arthur Fowler swing at a bouncing ball just because what’s the fucking point any more and skied it all the way over his own penalty box and out for a throw in on the other side. I’ve seen poppies get closer to James McClean than he did in the first 15 minutes of the second half but Dom Ball was soon introduced from the bench to stodge up the midfield area some more and abate the growing Stoke pressure and while that felt a bit of a strange change at the time it worked to the extent that the visitors only really created one more thing in the rest of the game, a header from close range on 70 minutes by Nick Powell which missed the target and should, if we’re being honest, have been scored. It was the first time I’d realised Powell was playing – like Tom Carroll and several others, a creative player suffocated by the game around him. This was a nil niler from a long, long way out.

Warbs Warburton also sent on Chrissy Willock for Albert Adomah, who faded hard and fast after that bright beginning, and he did some nice bits and pieces at times. A late shot well off target off a rare coherent, fluid passing move was perhaps a better chance than he made it look. The changes did at least make Rangers a bit better in this game, in contrast to the recent matches with Millwall and Rotherham, but their tactic, really from 15 minutes onwards, was simply to give the ball to Ilias Chair and see if he can beat three or four men by himself. Would you mind awfully just winning this game by yourself for us Illy, there’s a good hobbit. He wasn’t far off on a couple of occasions to be fair to him, but it made for a rather bleak and hopeless watch, particularly with the giant, imposing Harry Souttar lying in wait for him like some enormous, hulking troll whenever he got within looking distance of the goal.

Geoff Cameron might have got Dykes in midway through the second half having intercepted on halfway and moved into the Stoke half in a two against two situation but the ball he elected to play – lofted, hopelessly, out towards the corner flag and away from danger – couldn’t even be described as scraps for the Scotland international to feed off. When Glenn Hoddle talks about players having a “picture in their mind”, this one was drawn with a wax crayon. Not the first or last time Cameron, against his former club, had rather shambolically handed possession straight back to them. I don’t think I’ve seen him play as poorly as this for us in his two-and-a-bit years with Rangers. It was like watching an old dog trying to get up a steep set of stairs.

I’ll finish where we started the Huddersfield match report, with a QPR free kick just inside the opposition half, to the left of centre. A chance to put some ball in the penalty box. In this case a chance to pose some sort of threat with just four minutes of normal time remaining. Now, as then, Yoann Barbet dithered, delayed, shrugged, testiculated, clearly had no idea what he was meant to be doing with it (concerning), played a sloppy, nothing-pass to his left, and within one further touch the ball had been given away and possession lost. Again. A desperately poor end to a savagely awful spectacle. QPR have scored just once in four matches.

Let us never speak of it ever again.

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

QPR: Dieng 6; Kane 5, Dickie 6, Barbet 6, Hämäläinen 6; Cameron 4, Carroll 5 (Ball 57, 5); Adomah 5 (Willock 57, 6), Chair 6, Osayi-Samuel 5; Dykes 5 (Bonne 77, 5)

Subs not used: Thomas, Masterson, Bettache, Kelman, Kelly, De Silva

Bookings: Barbet 31 (foul), Hämäläinen 50 (foul)

Stoke: Bursik 6; Collins 6, Souttar 6, Chester 6, Fox 6; Cousins 5; Ince 5, Tymon 5 (Thompson 79, 5), Powell 5 (Oakley-Boothe 82, -), McClean 5 (Verlinden 82, -); Brown 5 (Fletcher 66, 5)

Subs not used: Batth, Vokes, Smith, Shawcross, Lonergan

Bookings: Souttar 86 (foul)

QPR Star Man – Ilias Chair 6 You, win this game for us.

Referee – Keith Stroud (Hampshire) 5 Perfect referee for a dreadful game, absorbed completely in his own pedantry and guesswork, and apparently thrilled to death about it.

Attendance – 1,300 approx Apathy, poor form, anti-social kick off time, Covid-19, third tiers… there certainly weren’t the permitted 2,000 fans in for this, one look at the Upper School End told you that. If I’m right, you have to wonder why the ticket ballot wasn’t opened up to non-season ticket holders, although it’s a fairly thankless task trying to organise this and maybe it was too difficult logistically at short notice. If you weren’t there you’re one of the lucky ones. A real shame for potentially the last game with fans this season to play out like this, it felt like everybody there could really have done with a boost.

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timcocking added 16:46 - Dec 16
A man returning the ball to play from the front row of South Africa Road with an Alan McDonald-style no nonsense clearing header, executed to perfection without his flat cap shifting an inch, immediately put him in the running for man of the match.

1

timcocking added 16:47 - Dec 16
I’ve seen poppies get closer to James McClean than he did in the first 15 minutes of the second half

brilliance
0

denhamhoop2 added 16:54 - Dec 16
All you need to know about how bad a game this was came from a fellow R fan walking away from the ground "Thank heavens(SKY Sports apologise for any bad language you may have heard) for Tier 3 I won't have to suffer that again for a long while"
0

E15Hoop added 17:11 - Dec 16
At least this time we defended the area around our 18 yard box with some sort of unified sense of purpose, which is a marked improvement from recent games.

Love your comment about Todd Kane re James McClean, and have you noticed how Kane seems alarmingly allergic to the idea of actually tackling anyone who runs directly at him..?!
0

ManinBlack added 17:12 - Dec 16
Unfortunate for the fans who went to the two games that we failed to score. All this talk about clubs having an advantage with some fans to back them doesn't apply to us. I should have turned off the TV as soon as they said Stoke had kept 7 clean sheets away from home.
0

Addinall added 17:30 - Dec 16
I don't think you are being fair comparing this game to the Huddersfield one. Chalk and cheese.
2

PinnerPaul added 17:39 - Dec 16
Some lovely lines in there Clive. 'Potentially' the last game of the season with spectators a little 'tabloid' for me - already talk of Manchester and others being moved back to tier 2 and my two children still reside in tier 2 Bucks despite not being out in the sticks at all - but all knows!

At least we can say we were there, although I sensed what little joy there WAS at the start by the crowd at that fact, had largely disappeared by about 5.45pm!
0

Northernr added 17:45 - Dec 16
Addinall - I'm not. I'm comparing that specific free kick incident, which was in the same position and with the same player. At Huddersfield after much faffing about we booted it straight out for a goal kick, and last night we gave it straight back to them.
0

Hunterhoop added 18:06 - Dec 16
I want my man of the match award! 😉
2

Northernr added 18:13 - Dec 16
Basically our whole half time was an argument about whether that was you or not.
2

stneotsbloke added 18:47 - Dec 16
Brilliant report on a thoroughly depressing evening.
Do we really think we're too good to get relegated ?. This team needs to fashion one hell of a turn round in the next four weeks. We're sinking fast and, try as I may, I'm seeing very little to to be optimistic about.
Chair deserves huge credit for his non-stop heroic efforts to try and create something.
A small crumb of comfort is that the defence is looking better. Dickie is a real star in the making.
I can understand that players are knackered but if that's the really case why do we keep playing them. Give Bettache, Kelman and Masterson a run out.

1

Addinall added 19:08 - Dec 16
Apologies. Have re-read and you are right about that NorthenR.
0

Geoff78 added 19:46 - Dec 16
Hate to disagree, but I enjoyed the match! Obviously not as much as if we'd won. Maybe I'm just sad, or over-optimistic or maybe just too pleased to be back in the KPF Stadium.
I'd be interested in knowing how our goals against record so far compares to the last few seasons, but I think the defence is definitely more reliable, even if the capacity to self-destruct remains.
But it would be nice if Kane sometimes spent time in the same post code as the winger he's meant to be marking.
Merry Xmas (Ha!) to one and all.
0

Myke added 20:34 - Dec 16
Thanks Clive. Poppies getting closer to McClean than Kane has to be the line of the article! I posted my in depth thoughts on the match at the end of the match thread so won't repeat myself here, except to say I disagree of your assessment of Cameron's performance. You asked me to watch back Ball's performance v Milwall ( I did and his first touch was poor at times, but I still thought he was decent overall), I would ask you to do the same for Cameron last night. He was much more in the game last night than at Milwall a week ago. Yes, he gave away some poor short passes, but his long range passing was much better (other than the one you, rather selectively, chose to make your point) and the pass from the edge of his own box that so nearly put Chair clean through, was a moment of rare class in the game and worthy of a mention in your write up.
Look, the man is 37 and is being asked to play twice a week EVERY week, when he was rarely ever asked to that last season, so he, like everyone else is knackered. I am quite sure if we had Amos, Warburton would be much more comfortable playing Ball more regularly, but without him (Amos) he is quite hamstrung. He knows that Cameron's legs are gone, he knows that he runs the risk of a long term (career ending) to Cameron by overplaying him. But what choice does he have? If he doesn't play Carroll, he has zero creativity in midfield, but Carroll needs an enforcer beside him. Clearly Warburton trusts Cameron (in the absence of Amos) more than Ball, and is depending on his experience and nous to get us to the January window, where we can get in some reinforcements. So, I thought, in that context, that Cameron did better than you gave him credit for last night.
Just a quick word on Dykes, he is getting slaughtered on the forum. I feel that he, more than most has suffered from Amos's injury. If there had been a lot of high pressing between Amos and Dykes on the edge of the opponents penalty area ( poor bstard was chasing around between 3 defenders last night), then a lot more possession and chances may have been coughed up to Dykes in dangerous areas, which 'may' had led to more goals.
2

PinnerPaul added 08:52 - Dec 17
On free kicks, Chair's pass to Reading's 2 man wall was pretty special too!
0

francisbowles added 10:00 - Dec 17
Have to agree with MYKE re Cameron. At the ground I thought that until the last part of the game Cameron had passed and played fairly well. It looked to me at times that we had moved into a 4411 in this match with Chair behind the striker.

As for Lyndon, his Scotland performances and the sheer number of games he has played should give him a lot of credit. Anyway, our other options are a serial offside and an untested 18/19 year old. I don't think you would want to chuck either in, on their own, up top. The problem if we move to a 442, is we can't have Chair and Carroll in the middle. We could move to a 352 and then Cameron could sit more and maybe preserve a bit of energy but then, with Chair and Carroll in the middle there is no place for any of BOS, Adomah or Willock. We also don't have any real centre back cover if we get an injury to one of the three.

Defence did pretty well in this one, so probably best not to change it around at the moment. Just get the other attackers tor release the ball earlier, get closer to Dykes and make runs in behind him.
0

TheChef added 11:01 - Dec 17
Barbet testiculating? I'm going to say that wasn't a typo!
0

Phil_i_P_Daddy added 11:20 - Dec 17
£10 saved after all then.

“QPR Star Man – Ilias Chair 6 You, win this game for us.“. Pretty much this season’s ’Plan A’.
0

Northernr added 11:37 - Dec 17
Testiculating - waving your arms around while talking bolox.
1

Northernr added 13:56 - Dec 17
Well, Myke, I've made myself go back and do it, watched it again, and I'm sticking with my Cameron assessment. Giving the ball away time and time and time and time again. Often in fairly shambolic circumstances under little pressure while trying to accomplish something pretty simple. There's one moment around 52/53 where he manages to give the ball away twice and then concede a stupid free kick for pushing somebody going away from the goal in the same 60 seconds. 54, receives our free kick short, passes it straight to a Stoke player. Minute later, that moment when him and Dykes get away, and he spaffs it out to the corner flag.

On a more positive note, was more impressed with Niko and Dickie on a second viewing.
0

Myke added 14:23 - Dec 17
Ha ha, I feel your pain! We will have to agree to disagree on that one. Not saying he was Pirlo or anything, just feel it was one of his better recent performances
1

nightwish added 16:25 - Dec 17
Maybe the time has come to risk starting Charlie Kelman alongside Dykes.Hopefully his pace might draw defenders away from Dykes to give him more openings.I also rated about 5 players lower than Cameron.Basically yes Cameron made mistakes and gave the ball away but he didnt hide in the game.His name was mentioned alot and he got involved i also thought he didnt deserve to be the lowest rated player.Anyone else noticed Sky commentator kept calling Dom Ball Carroll after he had replaced him.
0

Myke added 22:38 - Dec 17
@ nightwish Yeah it was hilarious, I mentioned it on the match thread. This despite a close up of Carroll being substituted
0


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