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QPR ruthlessly slay Wolves – full match report
QPR ruthlessly slay Wolves – full match report
Monday, 19th Sep 2011 00:10 by Clive Whittingham

QPR recorded a second away win of the season already with a fabulous 3-0 success against Wolves at Molineux on Saturday.

The traditional football fansite throwaway lines comparing visits to places such as Wolverhampton with time travel back to the dark ages rather fall into a reporter’s lap when you arrive to find the whole city closed up and dark in the middle of a September Saturday. On a day when we arrived in Wolverhampton to find the place lacking power and question marks over whether the game would actually go ahead at all QPR eventually produced an electric display that lit up Molineux. Mick McCarthy probably wishes they hadn't worked so hard to correct the fault.

The pre-match previews on LFW included highlights of a 4-2 win here in 1973 and while the current team has a long way to go to match the stature of that Rangers team there was certainly plenty in this performance and result for the likes of Stan Bowles, Dave Thomas and Gerry Francis to admire. QPR were lightning quick, slick with their passes, bright, inventive and ambitious throughout. They never once looked like losing the game, and restricted Wolves to two serious shots on target in the entire match which both came in the dying embers of the contest when the away win was assured.

Adel Taarabt was said to be the modern day Stan Bowles when he ripped the Championship apart with 19 goals and 23 assists last season but QPR are no longer so strongly reliant on the Moroccan for inspiration and attacking invention. Here the main danger often came from a combination of Shaun Wright Phillips, Alejandro Faurlin and Armand Traore – two of them new and impressing, one of them well known to the Rangers fans but currently in the form of his QPR career.

As away performances and results go this was as near to perfect as it’s possible to get.

Neil Warnock was able to select the same starting 11 he’d used against Newcastle on Monday with Traore suitably recovered from the injury that forced him out of that game early. He started at left back in the new look back four which included Anton Ferdinand and Danny Gabbidon at centre back with Luke Young on the right and Paddy Kenny in goal. If that Newcastle game was anything to go by then having quality players around them is certainly helping Faurlin and Shaun Derry to step up to the new level. They started at the base of the midfield with Taarabt, Wright Phillips and Joey Barton pushed further forward behind Jay Bothroyd in attack. DJ Campbell would again wait for his chance to shine on the bench.

Wolves had a headache in attack where Scottish striker Steven Fletcher was ruled out after failing to recover from his groin injury. The lack of depth in Mick McCarthy’s squad was highlighted when the former Republic of Ireland manager was forced to move his regular left back Stephen Ward up front alongside Kevin Doyle to replace him with the giant George Elokobi coming into the defence to replace him – Ward, to be far, did play as a striker earlier in his career.

QPR set about their task with real purpose and drive. Within two minutes of the game beginning Wayne Hennessey had been called into action in the home goal, pulling off a flying save from a Shaun Derry header after Danny Gabbidon had returned a cleared corner from wide on the right. Derry missed two very presentable headed chances against Newcastle on Monday but was unlucky with this effort. Nevertheless he is still without a goal for QPR since moving from Palace more than a year ago.

The quality of the build up that led to that corner in the first place was particularly pleasing – a move that included a superb 40 yard crossfield ball from Faurlin to set Shaun Wright Phillips away down the right - and that became a theme of the QPR performance. The combination of Faurlin in the centre and Wright Phillips wide on the right was a constant source of pain for Wolves and when they linked up again in the eighth minute the former Man City and Chelsea man was able to put a bouncing half volleyed cross into the six yard box where Joey Barton was waiting to scuff a low shot into the corner of the net.

The whole thing seemed to be moving in slow motion and there was a delayed reaction in the away end as the QPR fans frantically looked to the linesman, the referee and back to the linesman again to see if the goal had actually been allowed. It had, and Rangers had doubled their goal scoring tally for the entire season.

The visitors weren’t finished there either. The passing and movement from Rangers was really something to behold with Faurlin and Barton at the heart of everything in the middle of the park. Wide on the right Wright Phillips, who has already started as many games for QPR this season as he did in the whole of the last campaign at Man City, was making a fool out of Elokobi and to make matters worse for the hosts Armand Traore was starting to exert influence in attack down the other flank as well. There were simply threats from QPR right across the park and Wolves had more problems than they could ever possibly hope to solve all at once.

The lead was doubled as the time ticked into double figures. A deep cross to the back post from Barton was headed clear from almost under his own crossbar by Elokobi and then helped on its way by Stearman but Faurlin was loitering with intent on the edge of the area and after taking a touch to control the clearance he launched a fierce volley into the bottom corner from long range with his left foot. Rangers were two up and it was certainly no more than they deserved.

For all of that though Wolves could have brought themselves back into the game immediately after the Faurlin goal. For the first time in the match Matt Jarvis got going down his wing, fed in by Elokobi, and he delivered a fine cross from the byline. It looked for a moment like centre back Richard Stearman was going to get onto the end of it but Jay Bothroyd tracked back with him well and eased him under the ball. While the home fans screamed for a penalty the ball broke loose to the edge of the area where Karl Henry met it with a low drive that hit the base of Paddy Kenny’s post and flew wide.

Henry v Barton was one of the big talking points in the pre-match build up with memories of a full blooded battle between the two in the Wolves v Newcastle fixture last season still fresh in the mind. However it turned out to be something of a no-contest as Barton turned in an excellent performance while Henry struggled throughout. This early shot was about as good as it got for Wolves’ midfield enforcer and the team as a whole which failed to register a single shot on target in the first half.

Mick McCarthy’s team only avoided relegation last season thanks to other results on the final day but they had started this campaign in better touch with two wins and a draw from their first three matches. That progress has been put down to an improvement in defence after the multi million pound signing of Roger Johnson from Birmingham but the home team’s back four looked vulnerable again before the quarter hour when Faurlin showed tremendous vision to send Wright Phillips in behind them but his instinctive first time lobbed effort didn’t carry the necessary pace or trajectory to trouble Hennessey greatly.

One of the big factors of games at Molineux has always been the home fans’ propensity to quickly get on the backs of their own players. This became prevalent again as this game progressed and the mood was turning ugly as Rangers again strung a succession of passes together in a prolonged period of pressure that ended with a low curling shot from Barton after Taarabt had set him up – Hennessey was beaten but the shot wasn’t bar-wide much to Barton’s clear frustration.

Their mood wasn’t improved much when Ward headed a corner over from close range when he really should have done a lot better with Kenny wandering around underneath the cross from O’Hara.

While Wolves chances were few and far between QPR looked capable of scoring every time they went forward. Jay Bothroyd hit a free kick straight at Hennessey at the midway point of the first half after referee Anthony Taylor had awarded a soft free kick for a foul on Wright Phillips by Karl Henry who looked very off the pace of the game in general. Within a minute the impressive Traore had been allowed to maraud forward from left back right to the heart of the Wolves penalty area before Berra got in a strong block on his shot.

As time ticked down towards half time Rangers continued to pour forward. Wolves looked stilted in a rigid 4-4-2 formation while QPR’s more fluid 4-2-3-1 meant that quality players like Barton and Wright Phillips were finding space between the regimented straight lines of the home team. Barton revelled in the space afforded to him and after a one two with Taarabt on the edge of the area he laid the ball back to the Moroccan whose shot was blocked well by Elokobi at full stretch.

And still the blue and white hoops kept pouring forwards. A fine header from Faurlin in a congested midfield zone sent Wright Phillips in behind the last man but Stearman got back at him and executed a desperate sliding tackle as he entered the penalty area. Taylor added three minutes to the end of the first half and then awarded a free kick for a foul on Adel Taarabt which Barton curled round the wall and straight into the arms Hennessey who was well positioned to deal with the threat. The goalkeeper hammered the ball into the turf when the half time whistle sounded a moment later.

The second half began in somewhat odd fashion. A routine aerial challenge between Jay Bothroyd and Richard Stearman brought a free kick to the home side and an immediate yellow card for the QPR striker. That seemed very harsh to me at the time and drew puzzled looks from all around me in the away end.

The conversation at half time had mostly settled on a theme of whether Wolves could be as bad again in the second half as they had been in the first. Mick McCarthy responded to an embarrassingly one sided first period by making two changes at half time – sending on Sam Vokes for George Elokobi, who looked and played like an extra from Big Momma's House, and moving Ward back to left back. Adlene Guedioura also came on for the anonymous Michael Kightly. With the words of McCarthy no doubt ringing in their ears the home team quickly won a corner after O’Hara cut in from the right and had a shot blocked away by the hard working Shaun Derry. From the set piece Roger Johnson got the run on Danny Gabbidon but headed over at the near post.

Rangers responded in kind with a corner of their own but when the ball broke to the edge of the area Traore hammered a shot high over the bar. The former Arsenal man deserved a goal more than most on the field for a dynamic display from left back that made him one of the standout QPR players on the day.

There was an odd incident just after the hour where QPR seemed to almost concede a goal to an animated racehorse. A ball into the area fell loose towards Paddy Kenny who picked it up and launched another attack for his side. However from our seat at the far end of the ground it looked like a Wolves player had slid in to try and stab the ball home before Kenny got there. What had actually happened was the play had coincided with a betting advert on the electronic hoardings behind the goal and the player was actually a digital horse.

The anticipated second half onslaught from Wolves never really materialised. QPR were faced with a choice in the final quarter hour of whether to hold onto what they already had or press on for more. Given Wolves’ lack of attacking invention it was a pretty simple choice to make and the R’s came within inches of a third goal when the lethal left sided combination of Traore, Faurlin and Wright Phillips linked up again to create space for the latter to smack a low drive off the base of the post. Wright Phillips can generate tremendous power with his shooting despite his slight frame and on this occasion Wolves were fortunate that the ball didn’t rebound into the net off Hennessey’s back.

Warnock sent on DJ Campbell for Jay Bothroyd and Tommy Smith for Adel Taarabt and ten minutes later it was three nil after QPR raided down the left again. Wright Phillips looked like he might be the one to do the damage but when he was held up by Berra Traore arrived on the scene to poke the loose ball in behind the home defence, catch up with it in the penalty area and then lay a first ever QPR goal on a plate for DJ Campbell eight yards out.

Campbell, who spoke during the week about his keenness to make an impact after a stuttering virus-affected start to his QPR career, looked lively and dangerous when he came on to replace Jay Bothroyd. That change was tactical, to freshen up the attack and give Campbell some game time, but around the same time Fitz Hall had to come on for Danny Gabbidon after he picked up a worrying looking injury from an awkward fall. Gabbidon, like Kieron Dyer, was a player who arrived from West Ham this summer with a reputation for being injury prone and it now seems’ we’re going to potentially be without both of them for the next few games at least.

The few Wolves fans who remained to the end ironically cheered when Adlene Guedioura sprinted into the area and hit a low shot that forced Paddy Kenny into his first serious save of the game.

Taylor added four minutes at the end of the game (who would have thought it?) and Kenny was quickly called into action for a second time in as many minutes when Jamie O’Hara curled a free kick over the wall after Luke Young had been penalised by referee Taylor for a foul on Hunt when he seemed to have taken the ball. Kenny came up with a camera save as O’Hara threatened to find the net for a consolation strike.

The game did end on rather a sour note. Karl Henry, comprehensively outplayed by the QPR midfield, put in a gratuitously violent tackle on Barton as the ball went over the deadball line. It was a blatant free kick and yellow card but referee Taylor gave neither and Henry had been allowed to get away with a really nasty piece of play born out of pure frustration. The Wolves fans rejoiced in Barton’s pain and he responded by holding up the scoreline on his fingers and blowing them a kiss. While he picked himself up and made his way back downfield Anton Ferdinand then fell victim to an elbow in the side of the head by Wolves sub Sam Vokes as the pair went up to contest a long ball. Barton than waded into the ensuing gathering with plenty of finger pointing during which Anton Ferdinand was booked for taking his protests too far.

There didn’t seem to be any hard feeling on the QPR man’s part at full time as Barton went to shake Henry’s hand but something was clearly said between the two because the mood quickly turned ugly again and they had to be separated by team mates. This altercation apparently continued off down the tunnel as the teams left the field.

This, particularly in the first half, was as almost the complete away performance. Rangers hardly put a foot wrong in the entire match and the football played in the first half was mesmerising at times. While Wolves played in an increasingly outdated 4-4-2 system that caused a staleness and rigidity about the team Rangers were able to find copious amounts of space all of the pitch in between the straight lines of Wolves players. The lack of flexibility and dynamism in the home team set up was noticeable from the first minute.

The football we played in those spaces was superb at times. For the second summer in a row Neil Warnock has used his transfer budget very intelligently to buy players who not only covered areas we were short in, but also compliment each others strengths and weaknesses well. The blend we have now is a very exciting one indeed and QPR have been absolutely fantastic to watch in the last two matches – this was every bit as good as the Newcastle performance only with the added ingredient of goals.

I was impressed with Anton Ferdinand in defence who had Kevin Doyle in his pocket for most of the afternoon, and Armand Traore at left full back. Further forward Joey Barton was at something approaching his best form after a low key start to life at Rangers on Monday while Shaun Wright Phillips simply continued where he’d left off against the Magpies – ripping the opposition apart at will.

And it’s all based on that exact same central midfield partnership that won us promotion last year. Neil Warnock says he’s been trying to replace Shaun Derry for the last five years and Aljandro Faurlin isn’t what you would term a typical Warnock player. But both are playing out of their skins at the moment – boosted by having more talented players around them and knowing they have to play well to keep their places.

Faurlin in particular will be the one that the highflyers in the division will be talking about and trying to sign in the next to transfer windows in my opinion. Mind you, if Rangers keep playing like this then they will be one of the highflyers themselves.

Links >>> Have Your Say >>> Interactive Player Ratings >>> Message Board Match Thread

Wolves: Hennessey 6, Stearman 5, Johnson 6, Berra 6, Elokobi 5 (Vokes 46, 5), Kightly 5 (Guedioura 46, 6), Henry 5, O'Hara 6, Jarvis 6 (Hunt 73, 5), Ward 5, Doyle 5

Subs Not Used: De Vries, Hammill, Milijas, Foley

Booked: Guedioura (foul), Vokes (use of elbow)

QPR: Kenny 7, Young 7, Gabbidon 7 (Hall 83, -), Ferdinand 8, Traore 8, Derry 7, Faurlin 8, Barton 8, Wright-Phillips 8, Taarabt 6 (Smith 75, 6), Bothroyd 6 (Campbell 73, 7),

Subs Not Used: Murphy, Buzsaky, Connolly, Puncheon

Booked: Bothroyd (foul), Faurlin (foul), Ferdinand (dissent)

Goals: Barton 8 (assisted Wright Phillips), Faurlin 10 (unassisted), Campbell 87 (assisted Traore)

QPR Star Man – Armand Traore 8 For the second game running at least half the time could easily have taken the Star Man award but I was particularly impressed with Traore in this game. I think we may find in time he’s a little suspect defensively and prone to taking unnecessary risks with the ball but it’s so far so ood, In this match he poured forward at every opportunity and was unlucky not score his first goal for the club in the first half. This constant marauding forward forces the winger he’s marking to track him back which meant for the first half at least Wolves had Michael Kightly out there exerting no influence on attacks whatsoever because he was so preoccupied with defending.

Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire) 6 Some odd decisions, but no major ones wrong. I struggled to see how the booking for Jay Bothroyd could be justified, and the whole incident at the end of the game between Barton and Henry could have been avoided had Rangers been awarded the free kick for the blatantly obvious Henry foul down by the corner flag.

Attendance: 24, 189 (1,600 QPR) A fantastic atmosphere in the away end throughout the game as I’m sure you can imagine. Molineyx has a well deserved reputation as being one of the country’s louder and more intimidating grounds but an ambitious building project behind the goal at the other end of the field from the away fans they are currently building a monster, two tiered new stand. That means one end of the stadium is currently without a roof which makes for a reduced atmosphere – it’s still possible to hear all the boos and catcalls from the Wolves fans directed at their own team. Quite why that second tier is needed wasn’t clear from this game – even with reasonably cheap tickets, a good start to the season and a reduced capacity there were still thousands of empty seats in the side stand to the right of the away end. Makes you wonder why we couldn’t have had that lower tier after all.

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Photo: Action Images

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SonofNorfolt added 00:34 - Sep 19
Watched the game from the comfort of outside an executive box with some Wolves fans.
Faurlin misplaced a pass half way through the second half, when one of the locals with us, whom I had informed of Faurlin's talent pre match said ' That's the first thing he has done wrong all game.'
He wasn't wrong, not far off world class.
I've haven't stopped smiling yet.

Kiwi76 added 05:55 - Sep 19
Cheers as always Clive , didn't get the full match here unfortunately but looking at other sites today and some have us around 60% possession - great result and even better to see the glowing reports on the style of football we're playing. Great opportunity for Warnock to have a real good crack at Premiership and looks like he's going to enjoy every minute of it.

N12Hoop added 08:50 - Sep 19
What I'm loving so far is how we have so many attacking options the opposition can't target one man as they did with Taarabt last year. It's the sign of a good team when you have 4 or 5 danger men and are unpredictable going forward. Warnock is building brilliantly. These are exciting times although I still wonder how our defence will stand up to more potent attacking forces.

BlackCrowe added 08:52 - Sep 19
Thanks yet again Clive.

One player i reckon worth a special mention is Jay Bothroyd. He needs to get off the mark without doubt but his line play is exceptional. His work-rate is seriously good too which apparently he didn't have at Cardiff according to their supporters - Warnock effect no doubt. Long may it continue.

Gracey added 08:58 - Sep 19
Wolves fan here

Always had a soft spot for QPR, my fav London club & ground.

Congrats on your superb win on Saturday, fully deserved, no arguments all all, painful tohough it was!!!

You put us straight on the back foot.

Continue to play like that & you'll have a great season & the lad Faurlin was head & shoulders above anything else on the pitch.

Good turn out by your fans as well.

Hope this silly spat between Henry & Barton calms down it has nothing to do with football or either of our clubs, to be honest I thought Barton's interview on SS1 yesterday was embarrassing & he's let himself down, as he to was superb on Saturday & said what he had to say at the end of the game, he should have left it at that.

All the best for the rest of the season, apart from in the return fixture, of course ;-)

BlackCrowe added 09:02 - Sep 19
Cheers Gracey - agree re Barton - do wish he'd let his performances do all the talking - didn't see SS1 yesterday but his tweeting is pretty unnecessary. I want to read headline about Rs not Joey's latest misdimeanour.

SheffieldSteve added 09:03 - Sep 19
What a great match again, and every QPR player had a great game, maybe only Paddy couldn't be talked about in the same way, only because he had very little to do, though, he pulled off the theatrical save at the end when he would have been frozen if this match had been played in the winter.
I was wondering who you would chose as QPR player of the match, and have to agree with your choice, Traore was obviously resting when he played against United as he knew he was coming to us ;-)
Great football, great article, great times to come, we hope :-D

Gracey added 09:21 - Sep 19

I don't mind the tweeting as Henry was stupid enough to mouth off in the press about him after our match with Newcastle last season, on that day he'd got the better of him, but yesterday IMO was a step too far,have a look on youtube.

I'm with you, footballers are mean't to be watched & not heard.

Monahoop added 09:57 - Sep 19
Great report Clive on a terrific result. If anyone had told me that QPR would have won two games on the road by the end of September let alone by Christmas, I would have laughed at them. This is amazing and the fear factor of playing at this level is well and truly evaporating. Continue to play like this and we can cause some more damage at oppo's manors. Faurlin is really begining to prove his worth at this level and was rewarded with a lovely goal. I have long been a Barton sceptic, but he is slowly winning me over with his steely leadership on the field and determination. Long may that continue and less of the media attention shananigans Joey! In all another great day at the office for the R's. Now let's start winning in W12. Bring on the Vanilla next Sunday!

ade_qpr added 10:14 - Sep 19
JB was at something approaching his best form after a low key tart to life at Rangers tart? I know what you mean't but when I first read it got a chuckle thinking Rooney and brothel jokes. ( also got a laugh out of you and other QPR fans doing a dance? I assume giving it to Wolves supporters on Neil's phone camera video ) too be fair to JB I think you missed a big talking point after some very ordinary tackles? by Wolves came to a head on 42 minute when the Rock Ape not a footballer but a extra from Rise of the Planet of the Apes Elokobi used JB as a step ladder yellow bordering on red ( to be fair to you from QPR position behind the goal wouldn't of had a good sight of it ) that seemed to start JB off and tackle at the end probably the straw that broke the camels back. His play brilliant his temper a worry his twittering best to give it a rest. Otherwise another fine summary thought you nailed it with the comment "this was every bit as good as the Newcastle performance only with the added ingredient of goals." Really enjoyed watching the game on tv - some of the passing, support by QPR fans and Booing by Wolves all brilliant.

beforerodney added 10:27 - Sep 19
Watching on tv I thought JB was annoyed by a comment from Johnson as he appeared to be friends with Henry. Great report as usual.

NorwayRanger16 added 10:39 - Sep 19
Well done Clive, you lot sounded great up there, and even the home fans jeeres could be heard on my tv.
"As away performances and results go this was as near to perfect as it’s possible to get." Spot on.

Have never seen Kevin Doyle so dominated, huge credit to Anton and Danny at the back.
Agree on your MOM , what a feeling it is to have two good fullbacks, awesome! Ferdinand and Ali impressed me alot also.

Antti_Heinola added 13:55 - Sep 19
Clive, I think we all might have to redefine what a 'typical Warnock player' is quite soon!

Neil_SI added 15:48 - Sep 19
That digital horse moment was brilliant, and had me and you clutching each other in fear and biting our nails.

I suppose we still need to adjust to this Premiership digital ad hoardings malarky.

Northernr added 15:56 - Sep 19
I absolutely shit myself at that point. To be fair the animated horse came a lot closer than any of the Wolves players to scoring.

AshteadR added 17:29 - Sep 19
Thanks for the report Clive - another great away day. Just hope that Gabbidon's injury isn't too serious. Roll on Sunday.....

JB007007 added 18:35 - Sep 19
Thanks Clive.
Superb performance all round. My man of the match goes to Faurlin because of the goal. Brilliantly executed.
I have also been watching the Newcastle game again and Faurlin's performance there was superb too. He just seems to have so much time on the ball. With a few more goals to his game, he will be the perfect midfielder.

QPRski added 20:23 - Sep 19
I don't remember when I was last so proud to watch a QPR team. A great and entertaining performance - and fully in control.

Pace, pressure, creativity, flair, strong defending, coolness & calmness on the ball and great team work! There is progress from the Newcastle game wth less sloppy passes and of course goals!

Outstanding team performance from still a"fresh" team. Congratulation to NW on gelling them together so quickly!

Grifter added 15:56 - Sep 20
Great report again Clive!
I've been in Prague this weekend- so disappointingly missed out on what sounds like another cracking performance.
Very pleasing to hear Traore is continueing his form again Newcastle as well ; ]

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