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Hull City 3 v 0 Queens Park Rangers
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 13th April 2024 Kick-off 15:00
Three is the cursed number as QPR fall in a hole at Hull - Report
Sunday, 14th Apr 2024 17:55 by Alex Perry

Dreaded game three of a three game week for QPR, three goals without reply for Hull City and now just three points separating Rangers from the bottom three with three to play – Alex Perry was there for LFW.

Let’s start in Crete, shall we? The year is 2014 and in the media room at OFC Crete one of football’s most banal traditions is taking a place, the managers press conference. A simple question is asked of then manager Ganero Gattuso – “how are the team training?” – to which, after some thought, he barks the words, those famous words. They spew out in that classic Italian/English hybrid accent, accompanied by the kind of gesticulation you would imagine from a man who went forehead to forehead with Joey Jordan and survived.

“Sometimes a maybe good, a sometimes a maybe shit!”

There it was, out into the public domain, clipped up and spread ad nauseum. Ganero Gattuso succinctly explaining away all there is to know about football. To know about your club, your players and your life. Nine simple words that can finally free you from your The Athletic subscription. Words that can help you dispel the visceral anger that Lyndon Dykes made you feel yesterday. Because truthfully, it’s all rather simple.

Just a week ago we approached that Sheffield Wednesday fixture believing we were about to see daylight between us and the relegation zone, maybe the time had finally come to let out that exhale and just enjoy the fact that sometimes maybe supporting QPR is just good. Or, maybe you will take one point from your next three games, allow the darkness to envelop you and have your mascot sacked for taking the role of a cat too far and being an actual predator. Sometimes a maybe shit, ey?

This past week has been clinically QPR and yesterday at Hull felt like a nadir in terms of Cifuentes’ reign (can’t forget Watford away with our culture guardians, can we). Here was a display that didn’t just serve to highlight our biggest flaws, it exposed something that is far bleaker. This was about levels; it was about the nature of competition and knowing it only serves a purpose when it is competitive. Shock horror folks, that QPR team in that QPR mood is not at the level to compete with the upper echelons of this league.

This wasn’t a game that made you rue profligacy or wish your midfield didn’t succumb to vertigo past the halfway line, there wasn’t even any slapstick defending or goalkeeping that made you think ‘if only’. No this was simple, this doesn’t need tactical breakdowns and data analysis, this game played out in binary. VibesViz is yet to be invented but after seven minutes of this match is became quite clear that QPR’s xM (Expected Misery) was about to be off the charts.

Hull progressed the ball brilliantly all day and did just that to work it out nicely to the left wing. It was here where the ghost of Jimmy Dunne’s early season form lingered - he had a torrid time against the ingenuity and technical prowess of Hull’s diminutive front four. Ozan Tufan took the ball, cut inside Dunne with ease and curled a sumptuous effort from outside the box, over Begovic and in off the crossbar. You can live with that, other teams are allowed to score good goals. Despite the best effort of some fans to insist it was a cross (Assist: Wind), you just have to suck it up and respond well.

If there was a response it looked like a case study as to why the Enhanced Games should be branching into football, such was the level of Hull’s dominance and ability to keep the ball. A silence descended over the away end during this period, the type of silence that screams a begrudging acceptance that what you’re seeing is a team simply being better than you. Someone would offer the occasional swear word for the admittedly pernickety if inoffensive refereeing, but really, I think the emotions had to be mined as opposed to induced. This Hull performance in the first half was all shapes and swirls, body feints and imagination. QPR couldn’t decide whether to press or retain their shape. Press and any one of their forwards would give you twisted blood, stay in your shape and you’d watch the diagrams spin around you. Even their goalkeeper Ryan Allsop was in on the act, driving out inch perfect passes directly to their wingers like he’d seen a highlight reel of Ederson that morning. Hull flittered around like a spirograph whilst QPR were stick men on an etch a sketch.

Duly this type of football brought around Hull’s second goal. Slick interplay saw Carvalho played in behind and, in a surprising turn of events, Begovic’s sprint off the line made as much difference to the outcome as your vision board at home has made to your life. Carvalho – looking every inch a player who’s only there because Liverpool have 16 forwards ahead of him – lofted the ball over Begovic and I started to wonder if the ‘stop they’re already dead’ meme was viable at 2-0.

In truth I think we were very lucky to go in at half time only 2-0 down. I’ve seen some wretched QPR halves in my lifetime but most of them coincided with Fernandes era misfits, teams that were doomed or players who simply couldn’t stand to have some sort of association with Joey Barton inflicted on them. What I haven’t seen before is a team that is genuinely trying but playing football like I do in an anxiety dream. The sense I’m not supposed to be here, I’m not good enough to do this, everything around me is a blur, the blips on my footballing radar are more unpredictable than a xenomorph and my old U17’s manager is chastising me. I’m not saying that is exactly how Lucas Andersen felt, but the fact he didn’t come out for the second half tells me he knew that figuratively he had his pants pulled down a few times in that first 45 minutes.

Smyth and Cannon came on for the second half to prevent full blown PTSD being afflicted on Dunne and Andersen. Smyth almost made an instant impact with QPR’s first chance of note, arriving at the far post but contriving to skew an admittedly sharp chance wide after Willock whipped in a good cross that had Hull’s centre backs beaten. “Okay, okay… maybe we’re not totally out of this” I thought briefly. Until Jaden Philogene picked up a loose ball from a corner, about 60 seconds after that Smyth chance, and proceeded to catch it sweetly on the half volley and arrow into the right-hand corner of the QPR net and straight through any hope of a comeback. So, goal difference is kinda important right?

Luckily for us travelling fans the Hull stadium erupted into their world renowned ‘You’re Getting Mauled by the Tigers’ chant. Wherein grown men and women proceed to shout those words and paw at you like the aforementioned tiger. With zero sense of irony attached to these actions the Hull fans emitted a peculiar vibe around the MKM Stadium that was more suitable for a furry convention, rather than a football match. Seeing how their team really lowered the gear after this point, I can only assume the reason they’re not in the play-off places is because not a single living human could feel motivated by that ‘chant’.

We very nearly put a premature end to their deviant behaviour as Smyth was played clean through. Much like at Plymouth however, you found yourself wincing in the hope he simply didn’t miss instead of standing up in anticipation that he scores. Lo and behold, he took it neatly round the keeper, forcing himself wide, giving two of their defenders a chance to get back on the line and producing a finish that was about as fast as Begovic’s sprint to close down Carvalho and found itself being blocked before it even got near their goal line. This was emblematic of the whole performance. Everything QPR tried to do yesterday lacked finesse and purpose, 11 men on the pitch playing football like they were trying to describe it in a game of charades.

To give credit to QPR they never once looked like a team that gave up. They pressed, harried and committed to keeping some dignity to the score line. Most likely aware a big dent to the goal difference is not welcome in our predicament, Reggie Cannon produced a wonderful goal line clearance from a Liam Delap lob and Begovic did well to smother a Philogene chance that maybe stopped this being considered a rout to the neutral observer.

It was sad to see a team so aware of the gaping chasm in class between them and us. Maybe having watched Lyndon Dykes gamely run around for 60 minutes, displaying the kind of decision-making skills akin to someone who thinks you heat milk up in a kettle. They were well aware that they could let QPR prod and poke without the chance of actually doing a goal. Watching Dykes’ aimless gallops today reminded me of a steam locomotive; a great spectacle that’s tainted by the knowledge he’s as functional as the country’s current train system. One goal in 53 away games now, there’s a bit of data for you.

Full time came and boos were at a minimal. Sometimes you just need to repeat the prophets’ words. Accept that ‘sometimes a maybe shit’ is how your team will perform and football will make you feel. Marti certainly seemed to channel that mantra in his post-match thoughts, calling for calm in what is shaping up to be a nausea inducing journey towards the end of the season.

It's hard to paint this weekend as anything over than Objectively TerribleTM, but with three games left and precisely zero indication of any trends or form to take comfort from. This relegation battle is shaping up to be a game of roulette with any of six teams capable of blowing their brains out. Luckily, Nahki Wells – still QPR’s best striker – acted as Huddersfield’s .45 and our fate is still very much in our hands.

On to Preston it is then, where any of crying, screaming, or vomiting could be reflective of relief or anguish. Whatever happens, we are approaching our destination at great haste and clarity is soon to be realised. Be it the safety of a The Championship’s nest or thudding into the concrete that is League 1, I simply wish for all of us to be out of the sky. The bird is bored of flying.

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

Hull: Allsop 7, Greaves 6, Jones 7, Tufan 8 (Delap 67, 6), Morton 7 (Christie 90, -), Philogene 7, Seri 7 (Traore 85, -), Slater 7, Jacob 7, Carvalho 8 (Docherty 85 -), Omur 8 (Giles 68, 6)

Subs not used: Sharp, Ashbee, Connolly

Goals: Tufan 8 (assisted Omur), Carvalho 27 (assisted Tufan), Philogene 52 (assisted incompetence)

Yellow Cards: Slater 75 (foul), Morton 79 (foul)

QPR: Begovic 3; Dunne 3 (Cannon 45, 4), Cook 4, Clarke-Salter 5, Fox 4 (Larkeche 83 -), Field 4, Hayden 4 (Hayden 73, 4), Andersen 3 (Smyth 45, 4), Willock 4, Dykes 2 (Armstrong 83, -), Chair 3

Subs not used:Walsh, Paal, Dixon-Bonner, Hodge

Yellow Cards: Dunne 36 (foul)

QPR Star Man – Clarke-Salter 5 Having maintained his fitness this season we’ve seen precisely why he was one of Mick Beale’s most coveted children. Passed the ball well, tried his best to play out from the back with nothing but static around him and put in a few reducers at 3-0 that showed some professional pride. Whether we stay up or not, this man might be our best hope of not reaching financial oblivion any time soon with clubs already circling.

Referee – Tom Nield 7 A totally competent performance. As mentioned earlier he was slightly anal about smaller aspects of the match, stopping people from gaining any ground with throw ins and the like. Hard to be mad at a man whose job is to enforce the rules, actually enforcing the rules even if many others in his profession let it slide. As noticeable as elevator music, I’ll take it.

Attendance – 21,225 (1,083 QPR) Saw a teenager just kicking the shit out of a chair at half time, like really hammering it whilst his dad vaped. Great vibes, good place, would go again.

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extratimeR added 18:51 - Apr 14
Excellent match report, (painfully accurate), had visions of those two? Nahki Wells penalties against Birmingham? but all is now forgiven.

Yes, Hull were good, (they were at our place), should be interesting now that Leicester and Leeds are trying to play their way into the relegation battle.

Cheers Alex! very good report

joolsyp added 19:35 - Apr 14
Wonderful report Alex, loved the mood board comment! Difficult to compete with a side that has Tufan, Carvalho and Philogene pulling the strings. Just hoping we can have our Dexter Blackstock v Preston moment next Saturday.

Kensal_Ranger added 19:39 - Apr 14
Absolutely superb report, thank you!

Geoff78 added 19:54 - Apr 14
Serri has 56 caps for Cote d'Ivoire and Tufan 65 for Turkey. OK it's not France but it gives an idea of the gulf in class between Hull and ourselves.

NewYorkRanger added 20:04 - Apr 14
Great report Alex. Can’t say I ‘enjoyed’ reading about a 3-0 defeat but it’s a very well written and nicely descriptive report. Thanks for taking the time

silverbirch added 20:41 - Apr 14
Great report, thanks. Was the teenager in our end? Given the half time score, I’d think so, except it was hull.
The only thing that gives me hope is that Hull were great. They were, weren’t they? Please, let’s all agree Hull were amazing.

Myke added 20:42 - Apr 14
Thanks Alex - very articulately written. Youmention 'mood', We were not in the 'mood', yet we never gave up. I would argue that our 2-0 home win v Hull was our most comfortable/ complete home performance all season. A game we controlled. As close to a ''routine 2-0 win' as we have had for some time. Our performance against WBA - several places higher than Hull - was (apart from a mad few minutes) complete dominance and with more accuracy from the spot and a fully clued in ref that we deservedly win 4-2. So how come Hull were so far superior yesterday?
And why are we worrying about Preston ? Another game we comfortably won 2-0 earlier in the season., We haven't been brilliant all season, even since Marti has arrived but there is no need to fear any team in this division. Leicester have proved that twice in the past week alone

Sittingbournehoop added 20:46 - Apr 14
The season is just a few games too long. After an excellent Easter period, the Marti miracle of getting wins from this team has come to an abrupt end. The gulf in class against Hull was clearly evident but how we are not already long relegated. A dodgy keeper with slow reactions and unable to deal with crosses, and strikers incapable of scoring, Marti has done as much as he possibly can here. We’re definitely down and I thought that after the Wednesday game and we won’t get another point this season. Great match report by the way, thanks.

tsbains64 added 08:19 - Apr 15
Thanks for the report Two fantastic goals -not surprised that we lost but still got hope that this crew will do enough to stay up

tomers added 18:30 - Apr 15
Great report Alex. I thought Hull were pretty amazing at times, especially in attack in the first half, but Rangers never stopped working hard and could’ve had a goal or two in the second. Willock’s performance was notably a lot better than Plymouth game, he played well and worked his socks off.

TacticalR added 20:39 - Apr 15
Thanks for your report.

We were outclassed and that hasn't very often happened since Cifuentes took over. All three Hull goals were good goals. The first goal took the wind out of our sails, and subsequent goals were further body blows that we didn't have the ability to recover from as we didn't look like scoring. If it was a midtable game we could just forget about it, but because we're in a relegation battle this is the last thing we needed with results around us on Saturday far from ideal.

PaulGutirrez added 10:08 - May 10
In football lore, superstitions often find their place, and for QPR fans, the number three might be taking on a new meaning. As they stumble in a match against Hull, it's easy to wonder if there's some eerie curse at play. Perhaps a dose of humor and resilience, coupled with some strategic changes, could lift the spell. For a lighter take on football woes, check out this amusing compilation:

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