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Resurgent Rangers finally have their Field day — Report
Thursday, 18th Feb 2021 18:03 by Clive Whittingham

A stirring second half fightback at Loftus Road secured a rare derby day victory for QPR against probably the best team they’ve played all season.

Queens Park Rangers are winning. They’re winning at home, they’re winning away, they’re winning against good teams, and they’re winning against poor ones. They’re winning when they play well, and they’re winning when they don’t. Should have seen them coming, walking down the Uxbridge Road…

Few did. If you’d said this ragtag bunch of budget buys would go from four wins all season to four wins in five matches a month ago you’d have been invited to spend some time in the padded room. Problem is, as has been made so plainly clear to us over time, we’re not allowed nice things. With the heady scent of Charlie Austin-fuelled revolution in the air has come a series of postponements, less Rangers run the risk of winning so often they climb above their place in this world — sixteenth, always sixteenth. To go with no family, no pubs, no holiday, no friends, no fun, no life, no bombing, no heavy petting, now we have no football either. Just you, in your house, wondering whether this rejuvenated team might have made fifteenth by now were it allowed to actually play the odd game or two. Wycombe at home, eminently winnable, scratch that. Rotherham away, well you wouldn’t put it past us, get that iced off as well. Brentford at home though? Not a snowball’s chance in hell of a QPR win in that one, get the temperature turned back up and let the boys play. Sun. Actual bloody sunshine. Heartless, vengeful God.

Bloody Brentford. Bloody Brentford with their shiny new stadium while we can’t get a basic training ground development past a gaggle of angry skylarks. Bloody Brentford with their multiple, transformative, multi-million-pound sales of drone pilot Said Benrahma and Ezri Konsa and Chris Mepham (who Paul Bruce said was crap and released from QPR for nothing), while we lose Ryan Manning and Bright Osayi-Samuel for the cost of a first class stamp and Alex Smithies goes to Cardiff in exchange for something they picked out of their bum. Bloody Brentford with their amazing replenishing strike force that goes from Scott Hogan to Neal Maupay to Ollie Watkins to Ivan Toney without skipping a beat, while we mourn the loss of My Chemical Hugill’s towering three yarders and Lyndon Dykes and Macauley Bonne giggle their way through another unsuccessful round of Arse or Elbow?. Bloody Brentford with their relentlessly astute, mathematically brilliant, statistical genius owner, Moneyballing his way through the chaff of the Championship, while ours plays Fifa with Loic Remy, in an Air Asia baseball cap. Bloody Brentford with their sodding recruitment model, bummed so heartily by the division’s host broadcaster, that picks up a player for 33p because the algorithm noticed that never before had somebody with so few pubes chested down so many xGs in the Danish Superior Liga C division, and end up selling him to Aston Villa for a gazillion pounds, while Les Ferdinand and Lee Hoos splash around in Yeni Ngbakoto’s bathtub yelling Marco and Polo at each other. Bloody, stupid, sodding Brentford.

Some football to watch at least, but we know how this one goes. We’ve sat through nine defeats from 13 meetings. Like being invited out to dinner by people you hate — nice to have something to do, break up the lockdown tedium, and in theory you quite like restaurants and the food they serve but, yeh, those cunts are going to be there.

And for a while, that’s exactly how it was. QPR certainly not looking like a team in any kind of form, overawed and overwhelmed, conceding possession and free kicks with alarming frequency. Dom Ball fouled a geezer straight from the kick off, and kept committing fouls even after referee Gavin Ward had cautioned him for doing so too frequently, placing him on a red card tightrope. Occasionally they managed to gather themselves for a collective high press, Geoff Cameron particularly impressive with some snappy early interventions on halfway, but quite often having achieved the victory of forcing Brentford to go long from occasional goalkeeper David Raya they then lost the first header and second ball anyway. Ivan Toney, on the odd occasions he remained upright, was a predictable handful.

Brentford - whose warm up partially consisted of jogging on the spot in a circle while that fat, bald bloke from the Lambert and Butler adverts pointed at them and yelled about how Peter Gilham will explode into a thousand pieces if they so much as allow That Lot From Shepherd’s Bush to cross the halfway line - looked all fit and competent. A cross from perennial scourge Rico Henry deflected high into the sky, landed at Tariqe Fosu-Henry and was volleyed over. Dalsgaard shot wide from range after Sergi Canos had tried and failed to turn a cross in at the near post.

At one point Jensen, who was incredibly good for the first 45 minutes, took a clearly embarrassed Charlie Austin out of the game with a lob, collected it on the other side and nutmegged Ball in one fluid motion, and then sent a 30-yarder screaming towards the bottom corner requiring a super save from Seny Dieng. Seny, mate, honestly, what do you want from me? First born? It’s yours. Girlfriend? I’ll help guide you in. If that had gone in the only thing preventing us from seeing it, hearing about it, and reliving it seventy-five thousand times a day for the rest of our lives would have been the tidal wave of seminal fluid washing down the Westway, engulfing all before it, clogging our lungs and drowning us. Sky Sports Mathias Jensen would have launched immediately, replacing Sky Sports NFL in the off season, playing the goal on a loop from all angles, with the omnipresent impartial analysis of Brentford B coach and former Brentford midfielder Sam Saunders to guide us. All other football would have been declared null and void. Life would have been even more horrible and pointless than it is already. Probably the best goal anybody’s scored since the dawn of time. Anyway, Seny, I love you. Big kiss.

There was, inevitably, a goal. A lesser goal than Jensen’s would have been, obviously, but a goal all the same, and he was involved. No surprise it originated down the left, where Henry and Canos v Kane and Kane was a veritable footballing carvery — Rangers’ outnumbered and outclassed full back having to admit defeat with a deliberate foul and yellow card, Jensen whipping essentially an undefendable free kick into the near post and England’s Ivan Toney peeling away to flick in his fifty eighth goal of this magnificent season. Later he’d strike a free kick of his own marginally over via a flick off the top of the wall.

There wasn’t a lot you could say. Mark Toney a little bit tighter? Build a bigger wall? Put a man on the near post? Unlike the goal he’d scored in similar circumstances at LegoLand Kew in the corresponding fixture, I wasn’t really sure we could have done a lot with it. Canos, Jensen and Tony, three of the four best players on the pitch in the first half, along with Henry, combining to win and execute a very skilful opener. It rather microcosomed a half that had been all too much for QPR, Brentford’s upturned umbrella set-up sweeping down the field in perfect formation, enveloping any opponent in its path and carting them back towards their own goal. Rangers could do little other than concede possession and foul in desperation. When Mads Sorensen, a weak link in the first meeting, passed the ball straight to Lyndon Dykes on the edge of the penalty area he was so surprised he dribbled it out for a goal kick immediately. Later Dykes left a bit on Raya chasing a through ball, a meagre crime for which the goalkeeper and Brentford bench angrily demanded 25 to life, as they’re rather prone to do.

The best thing about the half time scoreline was the half time scoreline. This was a half in which the exhumed corpse of Winston Reid calmly stood and pinged 80-yard diags over the head of stranded QPR wing backs. But for it all, it was only one nil. QPR had shown what was possible as long as that remained the case when a late corner was volleyed powerfully towards goal by former Bee Yoann Barbet, brilliantly saved through a crowd by Raya, and Austin had fluffed a relatively simple rebound by his standards. One and there was hope. Two and it was time to Arthur Fowler the sitting room again.

A nervous start to the second half from Rangers threatened more of the same, but a couple of things had changed.

Firstly, Rangers were competitive. There was anger and attitude, there was pressing and tackling, there was no more of this taking-it-lying-down business. Rangers had looked, frankly, a little scared. No more. Stefan Johansen played a key role. Fear drained away, replaced with a pugnacious energy. Our house, and all of that jazz. Rich-wha? Warbs Warburton had effectively affected a mentality change over the tea and oranges. An early free kick to the far post found Barbet and Dickie in more space than should really have been allowed and the latter had a dangerous shot blocked. Actual shots now, see, an improvement already.

Secondly, that other side of bloody, stupid, sodding Brentford started to show through a bit. The Bees had been 21 unbeaten prior to a weekend defeat to Barnsley. They’ve scored more than anybody else in the division, won more games, lost fewer games, have the division’s top scorer, and all of these other tiresome facts of life. They will, almost certainly, be promoted this year, an incredible achievement in the land of the parachute payment. But, mentally, there remains a question mark over this oh so perfect team, which shit the bed on a promotion the needlessly chippy boil-in-the-bag Audrey Roberts on the touchline insisted they’d win last year because somewhere among all the immaculate recruitment, scouting and analytics they decided it would be clever, progressive and neat for the goalkeeper to stand 20 yards away from his goal for the opposition’s attacking free kicks. That mark will remain until they do see a promotion through, and you saw why here. There’s self-belief and confidence, and there’s smug complacency, and they do very occasionally cross that line.

First half, with all the ball, and none of the opposition, a rosier garden never hath grown. Canos gliding around, Toney bullying the smaller boys, Jensen doing fucking rainbow flicks. Second half, without it, a rather spectacular wilt. QPR weren’t having it any more, and Brentford didn’t really know what to do about that. Jensen went from best player on the pitch to bare bystander — turfing one sitter over the bar with better options for a pass with the carefree attitude that comes with an arrogant belief there’ll be another chance just as good along in a minute so it doesn’t really matter. Canos, bar the clever backheel that got Jensen in on goal, vanished to such an extent the next time you see his face it’ll be on a milk carton. A truant from Hammersmith Slimming World waddled on in a Bryan Mbeumo shirt and contributed about as much as you’d expect, volleying one presentable late chance so high over the bar referee Ward wrongly assumed it must have been deflected there. Toney spent vast, vast, vast swathes of the second half lying down on the floor, using what precious little time he spent on his feet to commit silly, pressure-relieving fouls, and abusing the referee, for which he was eventually, belatedly, yellow carded. Where’s the algorithm for ‘going got tough’?

Into this mix, QPR added much needed quality ball players. Dom Ball was called down from the highwire and replaced with debutant Sam Field, immediately more composed and conscientious with his possession. Chris Willock replaced the hapless Dykes and very quickly ascended the Best Player on the Pitch throne. Raya, as he’s rather prone to do, came charging out of his area needlessly, almost presenting an open goal to Ilias Emilian Chair. Ilias Emilian. What a fucking dude. Chair then hit the bar with the resulting corner. A deep cross from Barbet almost got Austin in at the far stick. The QPR manager has had his substitutions repeatedly questioned this season, often with plenty of justification, but he impacted the game positively with progressive changes here. QPR had gone from clinging onto coattails to dominating the game. Where Jensen and Canos had reigned, now Willock and Field were masters of all they surveyed.

Could there be an actual goal to show for the power switch? Yes there jolly well could. Willock, my word, through three players in the centre circle, each left to regret not committing a cynical foul as Kane crossed, Austin scrambled at the back post, Henry headed back into traffic, and Field swept home the loose ball with a technically perfect left footed shot from 15 yards out. Debut goal. Sweet dreams are made of this.

One wonders whether Willock, who impresses every time he makes it onto the field, might be better served starting instead of Kane at right wing back in the games we feel we can attack, and off Austin instead of Dykes in the ones we see as more taxing. Well, hold that thought, and that erection, because here goes Kane with a crossfield ball for the ages, and chugging into view over the horizon it’s Captain of Glasgow Rangers Lee Wallace, final boiler lit and swallowing coal, to collect and pile through two would be challenges en route pour Boulogne from where he cut a cute, clever, calm ball back into trouble, which of course, as we know, is Charlie Austin’s home address, and in it went as it was always going to do. In it fucking went. Where else was it going to go? Two goals in four minutes. Butter my arse.

A third goal in six for Austin since returning for a second stint, a statue carved in marble in the works for Batman Close, and a loud, provocative celebration in front of a Brentford bench from where so much of their brilliance, and all of their flaws, permeates down. Perhaps, in a quieter moment, Audrey may concede that… “I showed only one clip to the players after the Barnsley game, which we lost to a team that was just a tiny bit better than us. The clip I showed was in the 94th minute when we had eight players sprinting back from a corner. If you have that mentality, work-rate and togetherness you will be absolutely fine. …doth not adequate preparation make, nor due respect show.

They… cared. QPR cared. It was etched all over Austin’s face. Joe Lumley, who hasn’t played for months, and Dom Ball, tired from an hour of exertion, ringing each other’s necks in violent celebration in the Paddocks. You could hear us, actually hear us. Revelation. For years we’ve looked west over the top of the School End with a sort of bemused, 'da fuck dey doing over der?' expression while Brentford have worked themselves into a steamy lather about something that may or may not have happened the way they say it did back in the days when we used to send kids up chimneys for sport. Time and time again we’ve gone into these fixtures under cooked, under prepared, and humiliated ourselves against a team for whom victory is everything. Manager after manager has trudged that long trudge in front of the Griffin Park away end and forlornley tried to justify half-arsed no-shows and severe beastings at the hands of a more committed opponent. Now though, suddenly, needle. It finally mattered. They cared.

First Rob Dickie, and then Geoff Cameron, ceded cynical, tactical fouls to disrupt dangerous attacks — Cameron, caught under a long ball, probably somewhere between a yellow and red as Toney threatened to streak clear, angle and cover marginally in Captain America's favour. Johansen read one move so perfectly he was able to cruise around and crunch into a perfectly timed widowmaker on Henry that would have taken the fucking roof off the place had we been there to help it on its way. Dieng was booked for time wasting, then timed an arrival between two Brentford players to defuse a dangerous cross perfectly. There was Preston cramp setting in all over the show. QPR were shithousing. Mummy’s little soldier all grown up. Couldn’t be prouder. And, I say again, you could hear us. Austin especially, loving life. Informing the Brentford bench just how over the game was as a final goal kick soared into the night sky.

Brentford, meanwhile, went completely the other way. Heads lost, daft actions, multiple, multiple silly free kicks conceded, and, no word of a lie, long throws. I mean I thought committing dead money to borrow a 32-year-old centre back from West Ham who hasn’t played since the time of the dinosaurs was the sort of backward thinking, retrograde move silly little idiots like QPR do, and now here they were launching long throws to chase a deficit. Long throws. From Brentford. My word. Some clothes for the emperor if you please, there’s a chill in the air.

Raucous celebrations at full time, and long into the night online, drew further ire from The Kabin, and betrayed just how much the self congratulation from way out west has got up everybody’s nose. A red wine for Geoff. A crown for King Charlie. A fifth win from six. Warbs Warburton, not long ago seemingly certain for the sack, now taking richly deserved credit for turning a game against his former employer around with a big half time address and clever second half subs. A result I’d have offered you any price you liked on at half time. An eight-point gap to the relegation zone and eyes now fixed firmly on the catchable teams above.

Queens Park Rangers, are winning.

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

QPR: Dieng 7; Dickie 7, Cameron 7, Barbet 7; Kane 6, Ball 5 (Field 56, 7), Johansen 7, Chair 6, Wallace 7 (Kakay 79, 6); Dykes 5 (Willock 65, 7), Austin 6

Subs not used: Lumley, Hämäläinen, Bettache, Kelman, Adomah

Goals: Field 72 (unassisted), Austin 76 (assisted Wallace)

Bookings: Kane 29 (foul), Ball 33 (repetitive fouling), Dickie 57 (foul), Cameron 84 (foul), Dieng 90 (time wasting)

Brentford: Raya 6; Dalsgaard 6 (Rasmussen 83, -), Reid 6, Sorensen 5, Henry 6; Dasilva 6 (Ghoddos 75, 6), Janelt 6 (Forss 83, -), Jensen 7; Fosu-Henry 6 (Mbeumo 58, 5), Toney 7, Canos 7

Subs not used: Pinnock, Daniels, Rasmussen, Bidstrup

Goals: Toney 30 (assisted Jensen)

Bookings: Toney 90 (repetitive fouling)

QPR Star Man — Stefan Johansen 7 Key to the first half cling-on, with midfield partner Dom Ball out of his depth and Jensen running amok. Led the second half turn around, bolstered by quality arriving from the bench in the form of Field and Willock who could both have taken this honour despite only being on for half an hour. A big, fat, fuck off tackle on Rico Henry to quell the last of Brentford’s stoppage time resistance was a moment crying out for a crowd.

Referee — Gavin Ward (Surrey) 8 Some irritations — in both fixtures I’ve marvelled at Ivan Toney’s ability to commit seven, eight, nine fouls a game without even being spoken to — but overall very decent, keeping close control of a difficult game to referee.

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PinnerPaul added 18:29 - Feb 18
Thanks Clive, enjoyed that.

Philothesuperhoop added 18:47 - Feb 18
Magnificent, and magnificent report. Thanks Clive.

Willock must wonder what he has to do to get a start - he was superb. Assuming they are all fit surely we have to start against Bournemouth with the side who finished this superb second half.

Isn’t Kane such an oddity. Have you noticed that his first touch is brilliant...he takes the ball out of the air superbly every time, but the same guy hits the fist man with his cross 75% of the time. It makes no sense to me at all.

But forget negatives - last night was a thing of beauty and I agree with you Clive, it was lovely to see a Rangers team that seemed to care as much about this game as we did!

Toast_R added 19:10 - Feb 18
Great report. Very funny

londonscottish added 19:17 - Feb 18
Audrey. LOLZ.

xianwol added 19:20 - Feb 18
Kane's worldy of a pass to Wallace means he deserved better than a 5

Burnleyhoop added 19:24 - Feb 18
I think you enjoyed that Clive.....recollect something about you showing your arse if we won this one in your match preview?
If it’s good for Lineker.....

Oh, Willock needs to replace Dykes...end of.

Happy days 😁

MrSheen added 19:29 - Feb 18
Does Frank look so much like Audrey Roberts? I see him as Withnail’s friend, being chased around Brentford Community Stadium in his underpants by Matthew Bentham in Uncle Monty tweeds.

Northernr added 19:30 - Feb 18
Xian - agree, just about, so have upped him. He got a real chasing first half though.

thehat added 20:09 - Feb 18
Brilliant Clive - Had me in stitches and up there as one of your best reports.


WokingR added 20:32 - Feb 18
Not exactly the report we were promised though is it

kropotkin41 added 20:52 - Feb 18

Patrick added 20:57 - Feb 18
In recent years this has been a one sided derby, Brentford nursing 50 years of hurt, Rangers thinking "who are these people?" But after a series of shellackings on our own patch, this time management and team opened the window at half time and yelled "I'm mad as hell! And I'm not taking it any more!" And boy it was good to see.

enfieldargh added 21:49 - Feb 18
Superb to be able to read this match report.

I had moments earlier text my friend for much i love Johannsen when vavavooooom twas like watching a falcon swoop down on a darting mouse.

Hope we can keep all our loanees

superhoopdownunder added 22:25 - Feb 18
Hi Clive,

Great report. Thanks.

I started crying with laughter at your description of the second goal and Lee Wallace.
Can't post all of it here due to unacceptable language. Haha

because here goes Kane with a crossfield ball for the ages, and chugging into view over the horizon it’s Captain of Glasgow Rangers Lee Wallace, final boiler lit and swallowing coal, to collect and pile through two would be challenges en route pour Boulogne from where he cut a cute, clever, calm ball back into trouble, which of course, as we know, is Charlie Austin’s home address, and in it went as it was always going to do.

U R's



Sittingbournehoop added 22:44 - Feb 18
Definitely the most enjoyable game this season, and the loanees have given us vital quality. Without them, I couldn’t see us staying up. Austin has been a revelation and I would love to see him stay, what a difference a proven goal scorer makes and the positive influence he has on others (except Dykes unfortunately). Definitely an arrogance and superiority complex about Brentford, but our second half performance was terrific and they were taught a lesson. Willock is going to be a great player for us, has a real look of quality about him.

extratimeR added 00:55 - Feb 19
Thanks Clive! God it's great to stuff them, Willock a joy, really surprised after it went 2.1 I sort of felt Brentford were not really up for it? Do I detect a lack of bottle against our rough chaps in midfield?
" Canos disappearance so bad next time you see his face will be on a milk carton"

One of your best Clive!

Myke added 09:58 - Feb 19
Cheers Clive, excellent report. Super win and for you guys living in the locality, certainly put an extra spring in your step. I suppose important to remember amidst all the euphoria that the quality for the most part was absolutely dire, from Brentford as well as us. First half especially, must have been every bit as turgid as what you sat through last weekend. Obviously, when you get caught up in the moment, we forget, but the second half wasn't much better.
I presume it is just the hard slog of the season that is wearing everyone down, but every game is now a war of attrition, an arm wrestle to see who comes out on top. This might not suit Brentford on the run in as every team now has an almost siege mentality, regardless of where they sit in the table and are prepared to slug it out toe-to-toe with their opponent. Never mind the quality feel the point after another goaless draw. For me. both teams played much the away game and the standard of football was way higher. Don't get me wrong, there were flashes of absolute quality from both sides, but that is all they were - flashes.
If it does become a 'slug-it out-fest' for the remainder of the season a fit Johansen could become our most important player. The Dutch lad (if he ever appears) could also play a key role and of course the messiah himself up front. These sort of battles should also suit Dykes physicality down to the ground, but sadly he is only a shadow of himself at the moment. Worrying too, that we are depending hugely on loan players to turn our season around. Recruitment, especially of strikers needs to improve. I know they are the most important commodity in the team and therefore the most expensive, but you pay for what you get and sometimes you have to push the boat out a little, to ensure you have that little bit of extra bite up front. Toney, obviously way out of our financial reach, but Moore has a dozen goals already for Cardiff. If you take the combine fees of Dykes and Bonne and add in whatever we are contributing to Austin's wages, surely we would be on similar ground to Moore's fee and wages?

timcocking added 13:16 - Feb 19

Now come on, Mark...If Dykes starts next game, you're doing it deliberately.

Woog added 14:12 - Feb 19
As a teacher of English Literature I feel compelled to comment on the prowess of such writing; more compelling than Steinbeck, more skillful humorous imagery than Donne.
I will be sending this off to the SQA to have it added to the English curriculum as a set text for next year.
Though I fear 'butter my arse' may be redacted.

Loft1979 added 15:14 - Feb 19
Venerable Bard of Loftus
Homer could not have spun a more spectacular writing.
I have so many thoughts about this game but your writing dwarfs anything in my head.

kernowhoop added 15:52 - Feb 19
I am still drying my eyes.

MickB added 19:41 - Feb 19
Wonderful! Clive, it is time you made writing a profession. Maybe if Viz decided to add a sportspage?

sinceApril66 added 20:22 - Feb 19
Brilliantly re-creating a wonderful 2nd half... Have been impressed by Wallace recently... and is it really worth persevering with Dykes right now? Dieng reminds me of Seaman or Parkes for his composure, skill and presence.
Do you really not have an unfinished book buried somewhere in your home?
I loved Nick Hornby’s 1st couple, but not as much as virtually all your reports/previews!

WestonsuperR added 20:29 - Feb 19
Great report, very enjoyable read. Only 2 points separate Johansen and Dykes, surely at least 4?

Northernr added 21:22 - Feb 19
Weston - do you want me to go through the 'team mark' principal which guides our ratings? Or shall we just leave it? :-D

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