Mackie's Mettle Not Enough To Save Uninspiring Rs
Mark Hughes endured an unhappy return to Ewood Park as he saw his Rs side capitulate to a lacklustre 3-2 loss against Blackburn. His side were made to pay for a flat and uninspiring first period as Rovers took full advantage, soaring into a 3-0 lead at half time. The introduction of Jamie Mackie in the second half gave QPR some impetus, but two late goals from the frontman was far from enough to rescue anything from a game that was over at half time.
Yakubu fired his side into an early lead in the 15th minute as the Nigerian capitalised on some poor QPR defending to fire past a flat footed Paddy Kenny. The lead was quickly doubled as Steven Nzonzi broke free from midfield and gratefully received a return pass from winger Junior Hoilett to tuck in a superb finish.
QPR appeared to settle down and were looking the better side going into half time, but having only mustered up jaded half-chances, any chances of an unexpected come back were dealt a serious blow as a shot from Hoilett just before the end of the first half, clipped Nedum Onuoha and somehow squeezed under the bar and into the net.
QPR started the second period more brightly, no doubt with Mark Hughes` stern half-time words ringing in their ears, and started to create better opportunities. Jamie Mackie came on for Akos Buzsaky and managed to pull a goal back on the 71st minute after Taiwo set up the attacker after some indecisive defending from ex-Ranger Bradley Orr.
Blackburn were content to sit on their two goal advantage and despite enjoying the majority of possession QPR couldn`t break through the Rovers defence. A late Mackie cracker was nothing more than a consolation as QPR`s fellow relegation rivals held out for an invaluable three points.
QPR`s 14th defeat of the season sees them still hanging precariously just above the relegation zone on goal difference, and with losing now a seemingly frustrating habit, the prospect of relegation looms large over Mark Hughes and his QPR side. Big problems for big spending Rangers.
Mark Hughes was forced to reshuffle his defensive back line as Luke Young was ruled out through injury. Fitz Hall replaced the full back, pushing Nedum Onuoha to right back; Anton Ferdinand partnered Hall in the centre of defence, with Taye Taiwo slotting in at left back in front of Paddy Kenny in goal.
Armand Traore earned himself a start on the left of midfield, with Shaun Wright-Phillips patrolling the opposite flank. Akos Buszaky also returned from injury and was reunited with Joey Barton in the centre of midfield. Djibril Cisse started the first of his three game ban following his red card against Wolves, which meant Adel Taarabt started just behind Bobby Zamora up front, a position he found so fruitful in the Championship last season.
Steve Kean made four changes from the side that was thrashed against Arsenal last weekend, as he granted Bradley Orr his first start in a Rover shirt. He was joined in defence by Grant Hanley, Scott Dann and Martin Olsson. Lowe, Nzonzi, Pedersen, Formica and Hoilett made up a five man midfield, with Yakubu playing a lone role up front.