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The view from the Pu - October
Tuesday, 9th Nov 2021 15:09 by Steve Hardy

International break means Steve Hardy is back with his review of the previous month - an October that was the very definition of mixed for QPR, with extreme highs and lows, injustices, late goals, two wins, two draws and two defeats.

The clocks have been spun back, the trick and treaters have been and gone and the long slog into the dark winter begins now. Let’s take a look at a month that provided us with an even split of two victories, two draws, two defeats and possibly the worst officiating decision I have ever seen at a live football match. I thought I would change it up this month and instead of just listing the good and bad bullet points I scribble down on post-its at work I thought I would actually try and piece together a coherent article that covers what we actually witnessed in October. Bear with me.

A month can seem a long time in a football season, especially one where you have a two week break but still somehow manage to play six games. It feels like that Preston game was a lot longer ago than the beginning of October but in the end what a way to start the month off. Pissing it down with rain, defensive calamities to put us behind the 8 ball against a team so notorious for their game management. It was fantastic to not only see us turn it around and win the game but when your star striker is setting up the winning goal via a header when the ball is on the floor you know it is going to be your day. Probably the most positive element of October was the performances of Lyndon Dykes, he really seems to have found his feet at this level now and it really is great to see when you compare it to how quickly the surfing Scotsman was written off by the Twitterati this time last year. If only Andre Gray could borrow some of his work ethic.

So, after another vital international break where England played those footballing giants from Andorra we headed down the road to Fulham and the less said about that the better. However contrary to what a lot of people have said, up until conceding the second goal, I actually thought we were very much in that game but when you only have one man – who I’m sure was carrying a knock – playing central midfield it is bound to take its toll and let’s not forget that having Mitrovic upfront in this division is tantamount to cheating. Another hammering down by the river leaving us questioning why it can’t ever be a 15.00 kick off so at least we’re drunker to witness the horrors.

I think the less said about the Blackburn game the better as well, but that was more to do with the quality of the football on offer which was solely down to Tony Mowbray’s desire to shithouse his way to a nil nil draw. Fair play to the team for sticking to their guns in this one and it was a real moment of quality from Chair to decide the game, although I’m not having the assist from Dickie for that one. Also a special mention for the second half performance from Albert Adomah, he really changed the atmosphere of the whole game and definitely another real positive to the month was that he seems to have injected a little bit of energy into not only the team but the crowd at a time when it felt like things were starting to drift a little, the Blackburn game was a good example of this and also credit to the defensive side of Adomah’s game as I feel like this has been something that is overlooked with all his lovely flicks, tricks and turns. It really is great that he finally seems to have found a spot in the team.

Following the tonic of victory over Rovers we then moved on to what can be described as ‘one of those weeks’ that only the R’s could serve up, however I can imagine all fans of clubs outside the top six of the Prem all say the same thing. Two last minute heartbreakers sandwiched either side of one of the worst pieces of officiating ever witnessed.

It’s been well documented that we were always going to lose away at Peterborough due to the size of our away following, however I think the thing that worried me the most that day was how slow we looked. Once you got past our wingbacks the back three were slower than a week in prison which made the winner the most predictable thing since Joel Lynch’s last Christmas sabbatical – this does worry me for our upcoming game with Luton. I had to agree with the gaffer after this match and say that it was poor game management. Call me old fashioned but a point away from home is always a good result in my eyes and the fact that we were throwing bodies forward when realistically we should have been preserving what we already had meant it was only ever going to end in tears. Easy to sound like an expert with hindsight of course but the game at London Road was the first time this season where I actually left the ground questioning if we were actually as good as we think we are. Still we were in the cup with a great opportunity to make it to the quarter finals for the first time in over 30 years, what could go wrong?

Clearly onside, deliberate handball, take your pick at what to be aggrieved with the most about THAT decision. There’s no point going into too much detail as it’s done now and there isn’t really much that hasn’t been discussed about it but my word I genuinely can’t remember seeing such an awful decision in a game I’ve ever been at. That one still hurts to be honest and it’s solely down to the injustice of it all. I’ll leave it at that.

We ended the month on TV – of course we did – with more last minute heartbreak, although unlike the Peterborough game I actually felt this was undeserved. Although Forest were better for large chunks of the first half, I really thought we found our feet in the second and should have put the game to bed. It was hardly as if Forest were banging the door down and were ultimately resorting to long range efforts. It didn’t feel inevitable this time and I honestly thought we would see it out but Charity Park Rangers had to make a quick appearance and allow Jack Colback to score his first goal for the best part of three years. At the start of the month we really could’ve done without the international break however after that sickener and what started to feel like a game every ten minutes I actually sat there wishing for one.

So where does this leave us? Towards the conclusion of 1998 classic ‘The Truman Show’ the films main character is stranded in a boat in the middle of a pretend ocean trying to escape the huge TV set that has been his world, whilst the protagonist of the movie – portrayed by Ed Harris – desperately tries to dissuade him by creating phony storms and constantly capsizing his boat. Undeterred Truman screams ‘Is that the best you can do? You’re going to have to kill me!’ to which he is finally left in peace and allowed on his way. Without being too over the top that sums up how I felt coming out of the ground after the Forest game and although that last week of the month was an absolute killer we’ve had worse weeks in our history and will ultimately have even worse in the future. However this team deserves us to stick with them, there’s still a long way to go and if we can ride out these current bumps in the road and get players back fit then the second half of this season could be a very exciting one. I remind you all that at Christmas last year we had only won four league games and still finished ninth.

October grade – C+

Links >>> Follow Steve’s match-by-match reviews on Instagram >>> August 18 >>> September 18 >>> October 18 >>> November 18 >>> December 18 >>> January 19 >>> February 19 >>> March 19 >>> April 19 >>> 18/19 Season Review >>> August 19 >>> September 19 >>> October 19 >>> November 19 >>> December 19 >>> January 20 >>> February 20 >>> March 20 >>> April 20 >>> May 20 >>> June 20 >>> July 20 >>> September 20 >>> October 20 >>> November 20 >>> December 20 >>> January 21 >>> February 21 >>> March 21 >>> April/May 21 >>> August 21 >>> September 21

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Paddyhoops added 17:55 - Nov 9
Fair summary of the past month. Not anywhere near our best by we ended up in the top six.
Be interesting to see Wallace back in the side . We look a much better side with him in it and I wouldn't have said that this time last year.

kingfisher6404 added 12:49 - Nov 10
October was when we saw the team regulars looking tired and, because of that, making mistakes with passes and finding spaces. It was also a month where clubs decided our 'make-do' wing backs were there for the taking. Initially Odubajo (moved to LWB) struggled, but he grew better as the month progresses. Adomah seemed to have less problems but he too was looking really good in the last couple of matches. Our problems are well known though, and they are not the wing-backs - they are slow to turn CBs and misfiring strikers! If we are going to play possession-based, attacking football we will leave ourselves exposed at times, so we rely upon scoring goals.

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