|Queens Park Rangers 1 v 3 Swansea City|
Wednesday, 21st August 2019 Kick-off 19:45
Soft Super Hoops succumb to Swansea - Report
Friday, 23rd Aug 2019 01:07 by Jordan James Foster
Soft in both boxes but beautiful in the middle third, QPR doubled down on their middling start to the season with a 3-1 home loss to Swansea on Wednesday – Jordan Foster was there for LFW.
QPR’s mixed start to the season continued on Wednesday night as individual errors resulted in a loss to Swansea City.
Bersant Celina put the visitors ahead just after the half hour mark after capitalising on a poor Rangers corner. Andre Ayew pouncing on a stray pass to send Celina through to open the scoring.
QPR struck back deservedly when Jordan Hugill managed to nod substitute Ilias Chair’s right-footed cross past Swansea keeper Freddie Woodman just past the hour mark. Just as the hosts were gaining momentum, Yoann Barbet gave away his second penalty in two home games when he brought down Jordan Garrick. Spanish forward Borja - who had been lively all evening - scored the resulting penalty.
Ten minutes later they doubled their lead when Bournemouth loanee Sam Surridge couldn’t miss after being found by Ayew’s cross.
Manager Mark Warburton made one change to his side after the loss at Ashton Gate, former Swan Angel Rangel making way for Todd Kane. Loanees Luke Amos and Matt Smith lined up alongside Geoff Cameron with Ebere Eze and Bright Osayi-Samuel supporting Jordan Hugill in attack.
The lively Eze came close to putting the home side in front within the first 10 minutes, turning Mike Van Der Hoon before firing wide. On the other side Osayi-Samuel did well skipping past George Byers and Matt Grimes but his shot was blocked by former Ranger Jake Bidwell.
Hugill did exceptionally well to collect a Manning corner on his chest, but his Bergkamp-esque turn and volley flew narrowly over the bar as Eze forced another save from Woodman minutes later.
Swansea began to grow into the game, largely through Celina who Cameron tried his best to nullify with little joy. The diminutive attacker caused problems for the Rangers defence all evening and was unlucky to see his shot on 20 minutes fly past the post. Celina again fired another shot wide and then teed up Borja, but the Spaniard was only able to air kick the resulting chance, much to the gratitude of the Rangers defence who had left him completely unmarked.
Against the run of play, a long hopeful pass from Kane was turned behind by Joe Rondon when it would have been easier to give back to his keeper. Manning overhit the resulting corner, leading to Geoff Cameron busting a gut to retain possession. The American decided against a first-time ball back into the area, instead laying it back to youngster Matt Smith. ‘Naive’ and ‘reen’ perhaps describe the next phase of play. Whereas more experienced heads might have gone back to Lumley, Smith decided to try and play a defence splitting pass which was easily intercepted by Ayew who in turn burst his opposite number creating a 2v1 against Kane.
Celina continued his impressive display by finishing the swift move with a neat finish, leaving Smith apologising to his teammates. It was a cruel blow for the Man City graduate who had looked somewhere between safe and impressive in equal measure before the mistake.
But it should be noted that despite his parent club being one of the most successful in Europe and having a cap for Wales, you only have to look at the talent coming out of Netherlands that have flattered to deceive in recent times. The second division of which Smith starred for FC Twente is probably the equivalent of League 1 or 2. Undoubtedly there’s a player there but it’s going to take time, especially in the role he’s in which isn’t really an eight or a ten but somewhere in between.
At the interval, Warburton replaced Cameron with Chair as his side continued to search for an equaliser. Kane’s first-time cross was tipped onto the bar by Woodman and Scowen had another effort saved before firing a well-struck volley wide of the Woodman’s goal. Smith was then replaced by Pugh, spending all of Rangers’ subs but leaving both strikers, Mlakar and Wells, on the bench for the duration. Pugh was soon dancing round the Swansea defence before laying to Chair, but the youngster could only find Woodman’s chest from within the six-yard box – Woodman pretended he’d been hit in the face and got the play stopped.
Just after the hour mark, Rangers finally got the breakthrough they deserved. More good work from Chair, who beautifully controlled the ball with the outside of his right foot after being found by Osay-Samuel, before clipping a left footed cross which Hugill headed home having generated all the power onto a chipped cross himself from eight yards out.
It was the first time Rangers had managed to get decent service to the forward all evening as Hugill cut a frustrated figure for the majority of the game. When he came short he didn’t get it and when he picked up positions for the likes of Eze and Osayi-Samuel to play off him they didn’t get round him quick enough. From 27 attempted crosses only eight were successful in actually getting into the box, it was an even small number which even found his head but he did well to finish Chair’s cross under pressure.
Straight from kick off another classy Pugh delivery allowed Hugill to nod back across goal but Chair was unable to convert from close range, again. Former R Jake Bidwell blocking on the line with his hand – referee Paul Tierney missing the offence causing assistant manager Neil Banfield to lose his rag to such an extent that he was sent off. Had he managed to find the net, Rangers probably go on to win and the outlook is very different. Small margins.
Pugh continued to trick and tease his opposite full-back and generally look a class above anything on the pitch. Like a 2019 version of Tommy Smith from Neil Warnock’s title winning side, not being particularly quick or strong but a footballing brain a level above anything else we have.
Swansea boss Steve Cooper pulled the pacy Jordan Garrick from the bench for his first league start in an attempt to try and stem the momentum Warburton’s side had built.
But just four minutes after getting back into the game, another individual error cost Rangers. Substitute Garrick danced past Manning and Pugh before Barbet butchered him down for one of the most obvious penalties you’ll see this season. The former Brentford man tried to protest his innocence however there was no real arguments from any other player in blue and white for the decision – Borja converted from the spot.
It was a monumental error which undoubtedly killed the home side in this game. For one of the more experienced members of the team to commit such braindead error doesn’t exactly bode well for the season. Even more so when you consider that’s two penalties in the first two home games of the season and you could even say he’s managed to avoid copping any abuse for his role in the calamitous goal at Ashton Gate. For all his beautiful diags, maurading runs and Cruyff-turns, Barbet needs to cut out the errors - quickly. After really getting the crowd back on side following Hugill’s goal, it seemed like it knocked the stuffing out of everyone.
It might be an unpopular opinion, but I don’t see Ryan Manning as a long-term fullback either and would expect Lee Wallace to come in and really make that his own. To have both Manning and Barbet on that side is causing problems and the channel between the two of them has been exploited on numerous occasions this season and we’re only four games in. Against Huddersfield, Manning was caught out of position and Barbet lost sight of Karlan Grant for their penalty and here it came down their side again. As much as I can understand the clamour for Toni Leistner, it’s hard to see Warburton going with that and no doubt will put his faith in Barbet because he is so pivotal to how Warbuton wants to play.
Despite the 22 shots at Woodman’s goal, only three (Swansea managed two more in half the number of attempts) were on target and incredibly ten were blocked by a visiting player. Rangers seem to run out of ideas in the last quarter of an hour, choosing for the first time this season just to lump it up to Hugill to battle the two Swans centre halves on his own.
The Welsh side made it three late on, good work between Ayew and Bidwell allowed the latter to find the unmarked Sam Surridge who couldn’t miss after being found with a powerful cross.
Despite having more possession and shots, Warbuton nailed it when asked post-match for his thoughts, it all did seem a bit ‘soft’. Whilst playing nice football and creating chances, we aren’t clinical enough when it matters and individual errors are really costing us. Wigan on Saturday becomes a fairly big game now to see where Rangers are this year, lose that and upcoming fixtures against Sheffield Wednesday (A), Luton (H), Millwall (A) and West Brom (H) look even tougher.
QPR: Lumley 5; Kane 7, Hall 6, Barbet 5, Manning 6; Cameron 5 (Chair 45, 7), Smith 6 (Pugh 52, 6); Osayi-Samuel 6; Amos 6 (Scowen 31, 6 ), Eze 7; Hugill 7
Subs not used: Kelly, Leistner, Mlakar, Wells
Goals: Hugill 66 (assisted Chair)
Bookings: Osayi-Samuel 62 (retaliation), Hugill 90+2 (dissent)
Swansea: Woodman 7; Roberts 6, van der Hoorn 7, Rodon 6, Bidwell 7; Fulton 7, Grimes 7; Ayew 6 (Naughton 81, 6), Byers 6 (Garrick 62, 7), Celina 8; Borja 6 (Surridge 77, 6)
Subs not used: Nordfeldt, Routledge, Wilmot, Dhanda
Goals: Celina 29 (assisted Ayew), Borja 70 (penalty, won Garrick), Surridge 80 (assisted Ayew)
Bookings: Rodon 41 (foul), Fulton 55 (foul), Woodman 75 (time wasting)
QPR Star Man - Ebere Eze 7 Looked up for it from the start and was a constant threat with his ability on the ball. Glides past players and his balance is ridiculous. Even bailed Manning out on two occasion with good defensive play, perhaps there was a scout watching? Anymore performances as well rounded as this and he won’t be here after January.
Referee: Paul Tierney 5 (Lancashire): Thought he did okay, got the majority of the stuff right but perhaps let Woodman get away with a little too much time wasting before eventually booking him. I can’t really complain when we built so much of last season on being ‘clever’ – there’s something I really don’t miss from Steve McClaren’s reign. I didn’t see the Bidwell handball at the time, and the referee only gets one look, but that’s a big decision incorrect and Neil Banfield was red carded from the touchline for complaining about it.
Attendance: 12,287 (1,085 away) A typical midweek attendance at Loftus Road, Swansea were fairly vocal largely buoyed by having former forward Oli McBurnie sitting among them. The usual hardcore 10k present for Rangers, not great but of course not helped by the red-button showing all games nowadays.
The Twitter @JordanJFoster, @loftforwords
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