|Queens Park Rangers 0 v 4 Nottingham Forest|
Wednesday, 27th November 2019 Kick-off 19:45
QPR with all on against away specialists Forest - Preview
Wednesday, 27th Nov 2019 12:15 by Clive Whittingham
QPR, now five without a win and still conceding two goals a game, go again tonight at Loftus Road against a Nottingham Forest side that has only lost once away from home this season.
QPR (7-3-7, WDLLDL, 12th) v Nottingham Forest (8-5-3, WLLWWD, 6th)
Mercantile Credit Trophy >>> Wednesday November 27, 2019 >>> Kick Off 19.45 >>> Weather – Damp >>> Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium, Loftus Road, London, W12
Football’s a bit shit at the moment isn’t it?
Jose Mourinho’s back, Liverpool fans are crawling out of the woodwork, 20,000 extra Leeds United fans have snuck back into Elland Road and are pretending they were there all along while their team score one last minute winner after another. Mediocre players who used to cost £5m now go for £40m, academy players who’ve never played a first team game and you’ve never heard of now pull £50,000 a week, run-of-the-mill gobshite forwards with ten goals in their last 86 appearances rampage around the most expensive hotel on Miami Beach shouting “BEANS BEANS BEANS” down the lens of the phone to an Instagram following of millions. Bury, nearly Bolton, and soon Macclesfield, cease to exist altogether.
We have a new toy, VAR, which takes an interminable amount of time to reach decisions every bit as incorrect and infuriating as the ones the referees used to make in a split second. After 27 looks over nearly four minutes at Dele Alli punching a recent Everton corner clear with his arm well above his head, no penalty was awarded. Every goal is assessed, for offside, or handball, or a sin committed by the scorer in a previous life. If it transpires that somebody involved in the move a couple of minutes prior to the goal had the tip of their boot beyond the last defender – as long as you zoom in on a heavily pixelated image with an inadequate frame rate from a camera not exactly in line with the incident - then the goal is ruled out. Having spent all season insisting that Raheem Sterling, Roberto Firminio, Raheem Sterling again are offside at the arm pit, we then succeed in killing the joy of a last minute Sheff Utd equaliser against Man Utd by spending a couple of minute debating whether the top of Tartan McPartick’s shoulder counts as handball. Can’t have it both ways you unfeeling, emotionless droids. If you’re offside at the arm pit then you can score with it. Congratulations on digging that hole for yourself lads. Pricks.
At QPR, a terrific start to the season above all expectations is threatening to give way to one of those long winless runs we so enjoy. Three separate occasions Ian Holloway lost six in a row, and Steve McClaren went from the edge of the play-offs to the sack with one win in 17. Already there are murmurings about Mark Warburton’s inability to stop the defence conceding two goals every time it takes to the field – nine games in a row now, the worst run since the 1950s, and five games without a win. The Twitterati say Warburton should be sacked immediately, and Gareth Ainsworth appointed instead. Yup, we’re there already.
We go 1-0 up at Fulham, hit the post to go 2-0 up, go through on the goalkeeper and kick the ball straight at him for 3-1, and end up losing 2-1 to goals that we gave them. One of our group misjudges that one step in the away end that’s randomly twice as deep as all the other and snaps his ankle. Afterwards the stewards try and funnel 2,000 QPR fans down one staircase causing a crush, while another set of steps sits unused behind a line of officious, jobsworth yellow coats unable to think for themselves. When the frustration of the night gets the better of me and I lose the plot with one of them, I subsequently spend three days afterwards beating myself up for having a go at some poor bastard on minimum wage just doing as he was told by his orange coat overlord.
Played seven-a-side on Monday, had 25 shots on goal to their two, lost 1-0. And the goal was my fault.
But, do you know what, I’ve got Wednesday afternoon off. Now I’ve bitched and moaned on here often enough about the weight of midweek fixtures in this Godforsaken league – particularly during Shaun Harvey’s reign of terror when he came to the conclusion, all by himself, that football supporters want their local games on a Saturday and all their trips to Blackburn on a Tuesday night, requiring two days off work, peaktime train fares and a stay in some dire provincial Travelodge where the stains from a recent prostitute bludgeoning resolutely refuse to come out of the carpet.
There is, however, something about a midweek football match. The lovely moment when you wake up and realise that, although it’s Wednesday, it’s not a working Wednesday, it’s a Wednesday for pubs and football and pubs. The tube ride in in your jeans, surrounded by people in suits. The leisurely walk through the city streets, surrounded by offices packed with people behind steamed up windows performing menial tasks on shiny Apple Macs in stuffy rooms for no real positive gain whatsoever. All with the knowledge that you’re going to the Crown and Sceptre, and Loftus Road, not to a Powow Now conference call with six people you don’t give a shit about or want to talk to.
You’re like a kid playing hooky from school, there’s a naughty feeling to it that I haven’t experienced since my dad used to tell my teacher I had a dental appointment and whisk me away in the middle of a Tuesday afternoon to go with him and his mates on the train to Aston Villa away in the League Cup (lost 1-0, Andy Townsend scored, not for me Clive). There's the lights, and the way the pitch gleams, and steam and smoke rising from the kiosks into the dark sky, and people you're used to seeing on a Saturday suddenly ponsed up in work clothes. There's that Samuel Di Carmine goal, or that Dexter Blackstock goal, or that Jamie Mackie goal, or that Paul Furlong goal. There's the abandonment of plans to go straight home after in favour of an all out assault on last orders somewhere, brought on by a late equaliser.
And all we need to really put the tin hat on the whole thing is a QPR win. Just a little one, achieved with a dodgy own goal or something like that, to keep the wolf from the door and the mouth breathers off social media and the Neil Warnock jungle drum in the cupboard for another week or two at least.
Come on Rangers, throw us a bone.
Links >>> Clinical Forest flying – Interview >>> Ferdinand’s Easter goal glut – History >>> Martin in charge – Referee >>> Forest Official Website >>> Nottingham Post – Local Press >>> LTLF – Message Board >>> Bandy and Shinty – Fanzine >>> Forza Garibaldi – Blog >>> LFW Reciprocal Interview >>> Matchday with Max – YouTube Channel
Geoff Cameron Facts No.75 in the Series – Geoff won the 43rd World Stare Out Championships, beating Alessandro Kampagnola in the final.
Team News: QPR have Geoff Cameron back from a one match ban to bolster the defence/midfield but Yoann Barbet remains sidelined. There’s no word yet on Liam Kelly who has sat out the last two but would probably come back into the team if fit following Joe Lumley’s latest howler at Fulham.
Forest midfielder Ryan Yates is on the naughty step after his red card at the weekend at Bristol City. That could be a real problem if fellow midfield enforcer Samba Sow also doesn’t make it – Forest will give him as long as he needs to prove fitness. There’s a fairly sizeable injury list at The City Ground at the moment with Yuri Ribeiro (rickets), Alfa Semedo (gout), Carl Jenkinson (blinded by the light), Yohan Benalouane (scurvy) and Michael Hefele (gangrene) all missing tonight. Luckily a recent transfer policy that would make even Harry Redknapp blush a little bit has left them with a squad of 42 players (eight out on loan) including six senior goalkeepers so they should just about squeeze through.
Elsewhere: Couple of very notable results in amongst the drek last night. The Champions of Europe move ominously back into first place with yet another late winner away at Hayes and Yeading. Lutown, meanwhile, snapped their winless run and climbed clear of the bottom three with an Izzy Brown-inspired 2-1 win at home to Charlton. Lee Bowyer said it was the referee’s fault. PSV Derby, meanwhile, have won their last four home games to nil and lost their last four away games without scoring following a meek 3-0 surrender to Binky and Tabitha. Draws for Wigan Warriors at Millwall Scholars (2-2) and the Cowley sisters at home to Swanselona, while Cardiff won the long-ball-off 1-0 at home to Poke City.
West Brom can usurp Leeds and return to the summit of the Championship with a home win against Bristol City this evening, although the Robins have only lost one game away from home all season.
Garry Monk wasn’t holding back on his feelings for Birmingham’s interim, temporary, caretaker, assistant head fluffer Pep Clotet ahead of Sheffield Owls game with the Blues at Hillsborough tonight – essentially accusing the Spaniard of stabbing him in the back so he could have the job for himself. No mention of Birmingham, like Middlesbrough and Leeds before them, objecting to Monk’s propensity to overpay for players they didn’t really need who just so happen to be represented by his agent.
Preston Knob End are playing Allam Tigers and Grimethorpe Miners’ Welfare are away to Middlesbrough which is all just about the most northern thing that’s happened since Fred Dibnah stopped climbing chimneys.
There’s a trip to Lancashire too for Justice League leaders Spartak Hounslow, who will almost certainly be the best team the Mad Chicken Farmers have faced all season.
Referee: Steve Martin, who wrote and starred in the 1986 John Landis comedy film The Three Amigos alongside Chevy Chase and Martin Short, is in West London tonight to take charge of this one. He is, like Friday, another referee we’ve never lost a league game with. Details.
QPR: Rangers are having their first sticky patch of the season, with the 2-1 loss at Fulham their fifth game without a win and ninth consecutive match conceding at least two goals. At home they’ve only won three of nine, drawing three and losing three of the other six. They remain the only team in the whole Football League yet to keep a clean sheet this season. Whether that will improve against Nottingham Forest is doubtful given recent meetings between the teams. Although QPR did finally get a first ever win at The City Ground at the thirty fourth attempt last season, the Trees have enjoyed their recent trips to W12 with three wins from four visits since Rangers were last relegated from the Premier League.
Forest: Only Bristol City (two) and West Brom (one) have lost fewer games than Nottingham Forest (three) this season. Their away form is even more impressive with just one defeat from nine games – four wins and four draws in the remaining eight. So far they’ve won on the road at Fulham (2-1), Stoke (3-2), Swansea (1-0) and Luton (2-1) with draws at Leeds, Charlton, Blackburn (all 1-1) and Bristol City last time out (0-0). Forest have scored 20 times this season which is the lowest total in the top half of the table, and lower than four teams in the bottom half including 21st-placed Luton Town. They’ve done that from 48 shots on target which, following Huddersfield’s (52) game last night, is now the lowest amount in the league. They’ve scored one goal or fewer in 12 of their 16 league games this season including six of the last seven but they’ve taken 17 points from those dozen games regardless. They’ve won 1-0 four times this season, once away at Swansea and three times at home against Barnsley, Brentford and Derby. The three home games all featured goals scored in the 56th minute, including two against Barnsley and Brentford from Ben Watson who previously hadn’t scored in 64 Forest and Watford appearances going back to April 16, 2016.
Prediction: Our Prediction League this year is sponsored by The Art of Football. Get involved by lodging your prediction here or sample the merch from our sponsor’s QPR collection here. Sadly spot on against Fulham on Friday, right down to the QPR scorer, this week last year’s champion WokingR says…
“After the extreme highs and lows of Friday, I reckon this is going to be a 'dull as ditch water', hard fought draw. 1-1 with Wells back on the score sheet.”
Woking’s Prediction: QPR 1-1 Forest. Scorer – Nahki Wells
LFW’s Prediction: QPR 2-2 Forest. Scorer – Nahki Wells
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Letters from Wiltshire #05 by wessex_exile
Matchday #3, and Robbie’s not happy. I know opinion is divided, but I have considerable sympathy with the Chairman on this one. I don’t want this to be necessarily a political comment, but many are looking on with bemusement as the government seem to lurch from one knee-jerk reaction to another during this crisis, and I would be saying this of any government, regardless of their political persuasion. The nub of Robbie’s comments is quite simple, what’s the point in having a panel of experts working closely with responsible club owners to plan supporter’s safe return to essentially open air stadia, investing in alterations, changes to layout, developing detailed procedures etc. to then have the rug pulled out from under their feet? I know why, a second wave seems to be coming, and frankly it looks like people simply can’t be trusted to follow the rules – but why then are pubs still open, or does the virus only come out after 10pm?
Would you like to appear here as a Welsh football writer? by KeithHaynes
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Letters from Wiltshire #04 by wessex_exile
After last weeks’ solid point away against Bradford City, tipped by many to be strong promotion contenders, we now face another stern test against fallen giants Bolton Wanderers. Okay, giants may be stretching it a tad, but these guys have won the FA Cup four times, the League Cup twice, and the Charity Shield and Football League (Sherpa Van) Trophy once apiece. Christ, they were in the Premier League just eight years ago. But, they are where they are for a reason, and Saturday is all about 11 v 11, literally on a level playing field…
Letters from Wiltshire #03 by wessex_exile
So here we are, the drôle de guerre is over, the real battle is about to begin. Can we take any positives from the opening exchanges so far? I think so, the style is good, albeit Noah is right that the work in the final third needs considerable improvement if we are going to capitalise on our tippy-tappy triangles in midfield. But we’ve played some decent sides, far better sides than we should expect to face in League 2, and we haven’t been beaten out of sight yet, so let’s see what today brings against a side I think will be there or thereabouts come May next year.
Letters from Wiltshire #02 by wessex_exile
Three days on from our early Carabao Cup exit at the Madjeski, we prepare to start the next cup competition at Fratton Park – at least we can’t be out of this one by full-time – well, not tonight anyway. For those that gain perverse pleasure from such things, had we prevailed against Reading, only Luton Town would have stood between us and another match against Manchester United! Of course, we wouldn’t have done, because we’d be in a completely different strand of reality, and thus a completely different cup draw, but no harm in a bit of Whatiffery.
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