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Big trouble in little W12 - Report
Thursday, 23rd Aug 2018 07:55 by Clive Whittingham

QPR lost their fourth game in a row to start the 2018/19 season on Tuesday night, pathetically surrendering 3-0 against Bristol City at Loftus Road.

This, this, was always going to go one of two ways.

When you’ve had a new arse torn, when you’ve been completely humiliated, when you’ve been beaten up in front of your kids, when the whole world is laughing at your players tackling each other in their revolting pink kit your options number two. Flight or fight.

Sadly, we’ve become rather accustomed to Queens Park Rangers getting bummed in the gob. It happens rather a lot, because apparently we’re all terrible people and deserve this sort of punishment being handed to us on a semi-regular basis. I mean not 7-1, that was new, but we’ve had plenty of fives and sixes in recent times. We’re not very good, shit happens.

It’s the response that tells you so much. When beaten 5-0 at Southend in February 2007, it was the twelfth defeat QPR had suffered in their previous 16 matches. John Gregory’s side was circling the drain. At Roots Hall, in front of a live television audience, against a team that would go on to be relegated itself, they were 50 shades of pathetic. Response? They mucked in. Lee Camp returned, Danny Cullip added a bruising intimidation to the middle of the defence, Adam Bolder completed the spine and Lee Cook made Dexter Blackstock look like Kylian Mbappe. A 0-0 draw at Leeds was mucked out, Rangers lost just one of the next six and two of the next ten. Wins were secured against Leicester, Coventry, Cardiff and most memorably against Preston and Luton. Relegation was avoided.

That’s what I was hoping for on Tuesday. Accept you’re in a relegation battle, dispense with the budget-Barcelona routine, stick your backs to the wall and come out swinging. Our home ground, our club, our colours, not going down without a fight. Bully, bite, fight, cheat, scrap, dig, scrape, dive, spit, swear and sweat. Whatever you have to do. Just muck in and get it done, get points won, by whatever means possible. As a team in financial strife, with senior players departing, incidents like Saturday can happen against monied sides fresh out of the Premier League. Suck it up, stick your chest out, get back out there, restore pride.

Or, you know, don’t.

QPR went for don’t.

In many, many ways, this was worse than Saturday for me. A wake up call had been issued, and completely ignored. This was a home game, against a team that has also lost its three best players over the summer, and is also trying to compete in this league without parachute payments or Premier League riches. Bristol City have won four times this calendar year, none of them away from home, and haven’t won at Loftus Road in 16 visits going back to the 1970s. Having lost Aden Flint to Middlesbrough over the summer they were also without first choice centre backs Bailey Wright and Nathan Baker through injury here. They too were yet to win this season. You can’t pick your fixtures, but if you could QPR might well have gone for them as they attempted to put their first points on the board and belatedly get their season up and running.

Instead, all the same bullshit all over again. Defensively shambolic goals, three of them. Goalkeeping of a park standard from Matt Ingram who surely, surely now must be removed from his own personal hell and replaced with Joe Lumley. Goals, once again, slipping through the pleasure window between 35-55 minutes — two of them, immediately before and after half time, killing the game off altogether. The first, from Matt Taylor on 41 minutes, a shot a blind goalkeeper would have saved even without the use of a ball with a bell in it — Jake Bidwell fell on his arse in the build up. The second converted by Andreas Weimann at the far post, at the head of a queue of half the population of Bristol who’d been left there unmarked to receive the cross from Eliasson. Less of a pleasure window, more of a glory hole.

Bar the standard Conor Washington missed sitter after rounding the goalkeeper on the hour and then messing the square ball up, QPR rarely threatened. A first half free kick from Josh Scowen went straight at the keeper and later Freeman and Washington tackled each other trying to convert a cross from Wszolek. Clown school. They were beaten 3-0 and they deserved it. Baptiste had nearly skimmed an own goal in off his head on 40 minutes even before the first goal went in. It was all over long before the third was slid in by Weimann in injury time, unmarked from close range amidst another defensive implosion, but it spoke so much to the total lack of any substance, grit, brains or ability in this QPR team coming as it did with Jake Bidwell caught upfield having tried to execute a long throw he doesn’t possess into the opposition penalty area. Bidwell’s been here two years, if he had a fucking long throw I suspect we’d have known about it before now.

McClaren continues to talk about “these young players” as if we’re as dumb as his team. They’re all gone. Bar Ebere Eze, reduced to a peripheral figure here by the complete lack of a QPR performance and the ongoing failure to accommodate him and Luke Freeman into the same attack, he's sidelined all of them. Osman Kakay the latest to be replaced, by 35-year-old Angel Rangel who won several headers against the odds but not much else. Bright Osayi-Samuel, Paul Smyth, Ilias Chair, nowhere to be seen. Ryan Manning named Man of the Match for Rotherham, who are four points ahead of us.

Freeman wasn’t even effective from set pieces against his former club, usually the bare minimum you can count on from him even when it’s all gone to shit. He finished his night by turning to a supporter in the East Paddock and telling them to “fuck off”. I actually sympathise with him on that, football supporters think they can yell what they like at players and managers then suddenly get all precious whenever anything is said back. But, football wise, he was as abysmal as the rest of them. This time last year he was carrying us, and now he’s just pushing us closer to our luggage allowance.

The last time City played here they were on the crest of a wave — five straight wins, including a last minute victory against Man Utd, nine wins from their previous 11 games. They had the division’s outstanding three man defence in Baker, Wright and Flint. They had Joe Bryan, who Fulham have just bought for £6m, and Bobby Reid, who Cardiff have purchased for £10m. They were the form team in the country and they were lucky to escape with a 1-1 thanks to a nonsense late penalty award. Here, without Bryan, Reid, Wright, Flint, Baker or first choice keeper Frank Fielding, without a win yet this season, without an away win all calendar year, they won without breaking a sweat. Weimann went round Ingram on 62 minutes but the resulting shot from Pack seizing on his cut back flew over the bar. That could, probably should, have been 4-0. QPR have conceded 13 goals in four games as it is — one every 27 minutes.

Last season QPR gained more points from losing positions than just about anybody else in the league. They recovered from two down against Millwall and Brentford with late rallies on this ground, and nearly did the same to Fulham, by laying siege to opposition goals, by never giving up, by raining shots down, by sending in umpteen crosses for Matt Smith to attack. Here the game was over on 50 minutes. I’d say they’d given up, but that would imply they ever really got going in the first place.

Still, as one wit on Twitter pointed out afterwards, look on the bright side - at this rate we'll be able to move into the Linford Christie Stadium without refurbishing it.

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

QPR: Ingram 3; Rangel 4 (Sylla 76, 5), Leistner 4, Baptiste 5, Bidwell 3; Scowen 4, Luongo 3 (Cousins 60, 4); Eze 4, Freeman 3, Wszolek 4 (Smith 60, 4); Washington 3

Subs not used: Lumley, Chair, Kakay, Smyth

Bookings: Scowen 56 (foul)

Bristol City: Maenpaa 6; Hunt 7, Pisano 7, Webster 7, Kelly 6; Watkins 6 (O’Dowda 76, 6), Brownhill 7, Pack 7, Eliasson 7; Taylor 8 (Eisa 90+1, -), Weimann 8

Subs not used: Dasilva, Walsh, Paterson, Moore, O’Leary

Goals: Taylor 41 (assisted Brownhill), Weimann 50 (assisted Eliasson), 90 (assisted Brownhill)

Bookings: Pisano 26 (foul), Brownhill 48 (foul), Pack 70 (foul)

QPR Star Man — Alex Baptiste 5 Marginally better than the shambles around him. A very slight improvement on Lynch the terracotta turnstile.

Referee — Peter Bankes (Merseyside) 7 Much like Saturday, decent refereeing in a non-competitive game although as in the Preston and Sheff Utd games did nothing to clamp down on late gamesmanship designed to run the clock down other than point at his watch, then didn’t add on the time at the end. It seems now that every Championship side, once leading in the last 20 minutes, is trained to engage in this injury feigning, time wasting shithousery and unless the referees get wise and strong to it it’s going to fester.

Attendance — 11,739 (800 Bristol City approx) Looked a lot, lot less than that to me.

The Twitter @loftforwords

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thorpebankR added 08:55 - Aug 23
That pic of the coaching team says it all for me. Team set up clueless. We have to set up not to concede after losing 7-1 and we were wide open. What were they doing in training?

GloryHunter added 09:10 - Aug 23
Agree the crowd was much lower than claimed - no queue at all at half-time at the Upper Loft bar, which I've never, ever seen before. They must be counting season ticket holders who didn't turn up.

wrinklyhoop added 09:38 - Aug 23
Reads like you might have written that in the pub before the game!

Marshy added 10:15 - Aug 23
Baptiste probably was our best player on the night, but that’s saying something. Has there ever been a defence that looks, and has been as bad as ours. The schoolboy defending was a disgrace. Rangers were just so naive, and we have regressed so much since last season. It wouldn't surprise me by the end of the window that we will have loaned out more of the youngsters, only to be replaced by geriatric has beens.

However, at the other end it seems we have little chance of ever scoring a goal created from our own skill and merit. We would have to rely on the opposition making an error to stand any chance. Anyway, Schteve decides not to play it out from the back, but reverse to the Holloway tactic of just hoofing the ball upfield in the hope that someone will get on the end of it. If that was the case, why didn’t he play Smith from the start? Not that it would have actually made any difference I guess, as he looks slower and less mobile than ever.

I suppose it could have been slightly different if Washington and Eze hadn't have missed those absolute sitters. Some teams might have a woeful defence, but compensate by scoring at the other end. Smith, Washington, Sylla - no way can you call these duds strikers. We could still be playing Bristol City, and wouldn't be able to get the ball in the back of the net.

QPRski added 11:53 - Aug 23
"Clown School" perfectly sums up the performance.

An accurate, truthful and very witty read which would have had me laughing, had I not been crying.

JordanFoster added 12:32 - Aug 23
Sorry Clive, because this is the one point that I normally hate when writing these BUT...

I actually think Washington should be far higher than a 3. His effort and application was better than any of the others that have started that role recently. His movement was nice for the chance, although the finish was poor. His effort and pace constantly caused a problem first half and even when was onto the long ball in the second he did well to go round the keeper and lay to Eze.

timcocking added 14:19 - Aug 23
Sadly, we’ve become rather accustomed to Queens Park Rangers getting bummed in the gob.

Nov77 added 14:20 - Aug 23
Can’t agree that Washington “messed up the square ball”, eze should have struck it first time into the empty net. If the roles had been reversed and eze played that ball to Washington and he missed it he would have got pelters and rightly so.

timcocking added 14:21 - Aug 23
That Bristol kit is worse than ours!

thehat added 15:34 - Aug 23

Thanks Clive brilliant as always - I thought Washington did okay looked a threat stayed onside and never stopped working unlike some of the others.

Freeman was a disgrace and was blowing out his arse after 70 minutes failing to track back and his body language was very poor. Looks like he is sulking after not getting his move Boro - Big Baby!!

colsson added 16:46 - Aug 23
As always it's a case of taking chances. Washington should have done better in the first half before they scored. If that goes in and we are 1-0 up then the game changes completely. We were playing well at that point and City had barely threatened so confidence and who knows. It didn't and they scored against the run of play. Unfortunate Bidwell slipped blame the pre-game sprinklers?) but Ingram should have saved it even though it does go through another defenders legs. Second goal is down to poor defending, Bidwell mainly for not marking the incoming attacker, and little Ingram could do but even then as mentioned above if Eze hits the ball first time on 65 mins it's in the net and at 2-1 theres some hope.

A final point is the substitutions didn't make things better, especially Cousins for Luongo and taking Wszolek off when Smith came on as we had no one to run down the right side and put in any crosses. Smyth instead of Sylla would have been a better option.

Going to be a long hard season even with, hopeful, a decent striker now on board for Sat.

Myke added 18:29 - Aug 23
Clive that is criminally hard on Washington, You're a way better journalist than pick on the most unpopular player at the club and kick him even further. He burst down the left, rounded the keeper and put it on a plate for Eze (everyone's pin up boy I know) who royally fcuked it up by taking a second touch and allowing a defender to get across and block it. Come on man, when everything else is going to pot, don't let your high standards slip.

Northernr added 19:16 - Aug 23
Ok three good contributors have told me I'm wrong on Washington so fair enough. Haven't watched it back, called it as I saw it at the time from front of F Block, thought he made a pig's ear of it. Don't think I'm particularly harsh on Washington in general, compared to the general sentiment towards him.

TacticalR added 22:19 - Aug 23
Thanks for your honest report on a dire situation.

I can't remember anything quite like this before. One of the peculiarities of the situation is that it has come upon us so suddenly. A team that had a bit of fight in it and was performing reasonably well at the end of last season has almost overnight become completely disorientated.

The players have shrunk into themselves and look desperate for matches to be over. The result at West Brom wasn't an aberration. The players don't think we're going to win, the fans don't think we're going to win, and the opposition doesn't think we're going to win.

What can one say about Washington, except that he doesn't score? It all feels a bit academic as I am sure even if he had scored we still would not have won.

Spen added 10:53 - Aug 24
Viewed from upper loft. I thought we we're playing quite well up until the goal but the confidence completely drained from them after the 1st goal. Poor defending from Bidwell and very weak from Ingram. I don't know how you can prevent that as a coach apart from dropping them for the next game? I thought we still had a goal in us until the Sylla substitution after which we looked a spent force. Agree we should have had Smyth on. Sylla and Smith have never really worked as far as I can recall.
We're still be there on Saturday hoping for better with new signings, and interesting to see who'll keep their place from Tuesday's game.

Hogbag added 12:21 - Aug 24
Must be what happens when you sack a dunce like Ollie and replace him with the best coach in the league...oh hang on...

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