R's Outplayed By Jim's Aces
Saturday 21st February 2009
QUEENS Park Rangers can take nothing in consolation after a crushing 3-1 defeat at Loftus Road, in which they were second best throughout the encounter.
In truth the R`s only played for three minutes of the game when Wayne Routledge once again tormented his respective full backs to lay on Samuel Di Carmine.
From then on Ipswich truly ran the encounter which epitomised their newly-found away form this campaign. One to Watch Jon Stead earned his pre-match billing by equalising for the away side before the break.
Fans favourite Pablo Counago put the Tractor Boys infront as their game grew in stature, with the visitors playing on the break at every opportunity.
With the boos ringing in the ears of Paulo Sousa as maligned midfielder Gavin Mahon remained on the field Ipswich had a third courtesy of returning substitute Jon Walters.
Rangers toiled towards the end of the encounter to drag themselves back into the fixture and were even denied a penalty, but in truth it would have been much more than they deserved. Paulo Sousa with much to contemplate after his tinkering with team affairs cost the R`s dear infront of the viewing world.
The subject of much talk was Paulo Sousa`s decision to drop in form defender Damion Stewart and replace him with experienced former Wigan man Fitz Hall. With his eye on the oncoming fixture congestion Sousa opted to gamble with the Rangers rearguard.
Two goal hero Matteo Alberti was dropped in favour of the returning Lee Cook, another bold decision by the Portuguese boss who opted not to include either Hogan Ephraim or new signing Jordi López in the 16.
There was a surprise inclusion in the lone striker`s role with Fiorentina loanee Samuel Di Carmine getting the nod ahead of Dexter Blackstock and the returning Heidar Helguson, just a couple of weeks after being stretchered off against Nottingham Forest.
Wayne Routledge was the man that Town fans feared, and he lined up in his right wing berth with a view to giving them another torrid time as he did for Cardiff City earlier in the campaign.
Jim Magilton kept faith with the majority of the side that performed admirably in a home with over Nottingham Forest. The strike pairing of Counago and Stead has proven consistent in recent times with the returning Jon Walters having to make do with a place on the bench.
Danny Haynes was unavailable through injury with £2m signing David Norris replacing him on the right. January purchase Luciano Civelli started for the visitors with the central defensive pairing of McAuley and Bruce once again kept together in the wake of good recent form.
Kick Off: Queens Park Rangers v Ipswich Town
The R`s were looking to impress in front of the Sky cameras as they have done on recent occasions, and came flying out the blocks with Wayne Routledge teasing the visitor`s back line with an exhibition of trickery and skill.
After three minutes the R`s found themselves in front when the aforementioned Routledge made his trickery pay and put the Ipswich rearguard to the sword. He tricked his way through two tackles before squaring to forward Samuel Di Carmine who slammed past Richard Wright from close range.
A deserved early lead for QPR who were looking by far the stronger side in the early stages.
GOAL: Queens Park Rangers 1-0 Ipswich Town
Sousa revelled in his side`s early showing encouraging supporters to raise the roof as the noise levels picked up around Loftus Road. Kaspars Gorkss had a good chance to head home shortly after the ten minute mark, but he flicked his header after Lee Cook had dug the cross out for the Latvian.
Loftus Road was visibly buoyant with supporters happy at their side`s performance in the opening stages. The performance however was already beginning to wane on the field with the visitors enjoying the wealth of possession.
David Norris was seeing a lot of the ball down the right with the industrious Alan Quinn providing the impetus from the engine room. It wasn`t long before Town were level and it was provided courtesy of a forward who seems to love scoring against the R`s.
Some excellent approach play by Town culminated in a shot by Norris from the right, the deflected effort crept past the R`s defensive line and Jon Stead was on hand to poke the ball over the advancing Lee Camp.
GOAL: Queens Park Rangers 1-1 Ipswich Town
A somewhat fortuitous goal for the visitors but nevertheless an important one as Camp would surely have been given his marching orders for bringing down Stead prior to the effort. With no keeper on the bench for QPR it would have presented quite the dilemma.
Rangers were looking shaky and this it appeared came from the decision to take out an integral member of the back line in Damion Stewart. While Fitz Hall is an undoubted talent in his own right, his appearance was highlighted in the light that the R`s defensive unit was clearly struggling without the big Jamaican.
Another chance for Town came and went when an endless barrage of corners floated into the heart of the box. Pablo Counago failed to convert the latest of the efforts by nodding over from close range with the QPR defence and Lee Camp playing musical statues in the heart of the area.
All Rangers could muster in reply was a pathetic effort from Mikele Leigertwood as he screwed his right-footed effort well wide of the left-hand upright. That was the host`s sole reposte as Town turned the screw on a forlorn home outfit evidently seeking the half-time whistle.
A Gavin Mahon horror show should have seen Ipswich into the lead only for a combination of poor forward play by Town to spurn the opportunity. Mahon inexplicably tried to nod the ball back to his keeper from 25 yards out, with intelligent forward Counago sensing this he positioned himself accordingly.
The ball dropped kindly for the Spaniard who was one on one with Camp. A poor first touch however saw him side on with the goal and he was forced to roll the ball back to Stead. With Camp in no-man`s land and the goal gaping, the prior goalscorer screwed his effort mercifully wide of the target as sighs of relief and frustration were heard around the ground.
Rangers fans were growing frustrated at the end of the first period as the visitors continued to run the show with a great confidence and ability that makes a mockery of the local media calls for Jim Magilton to resign.
The away side were proving tough nuts to crack as Rangers were not only using their best creative outlets, they weren`t getting hold of the ball as their creativity was stifled by the hard-working town outfit. Routledge in particular looked a little boy lost with the hardened figure of Ben Thatcher ruling the roost over the former Tottenham Hotspur man.
With that the maligned Mr Attwell drew the half to a close, he was escorted off the field by security officials when in truth the R's players would have been in far more danger from a discontented home support.
Half Time: Queens Park Rangers 1-1 Ipswich Town
There was a hope that we may see Damion Stewart for the second period when his warm-up was cut short prematurely with goalkeeping coach David Rouse escorting him to the dressing room for the half-time team talk.
The R`s fans cheered out their side for the second half with the old footballing mentality that the scores are level and this is a new half to impress - go out and win the second half. From the off it seemed that far from being motivated the players had been bamboozled at half time with some players evidently unsure of their role.
The engine room of the Town midfield was working overtime with Alan Quinn and Tommy Miller tirelessly toiling for their side against their central midfield numerical disadvantage. It was Quinn who carved out the latest chance for the visitors when his stabbed effort crept past the right hand upright.
Rangers were simply incapable of retaining possession in the correct areas with the ball getting as far as the six yard box, enabling Bruce and McAuley to perform their defensive duties very effectively. Town`s tactics were proving all the more difficult to play against as they strangled play and flew forward on the counter attack.
Samuel Di Carmine was visibly disappointed to be withdrawn before the hour mark as he shook his head making his way to the bench. The goalscorer was sacrificed in favour of the returning Heidar Helguson who sat out the last clash injured.
Rangers inability to do the simple things was haunting them as Liam Miller was caught out attempting some trickery on the edge of his area, while Gavin Mahon`s inability to retain possession saw him robbed of the ball. This led to Ipswich turning the game on its head to take the lead in W12.
After Mahon had surrendered the ball Fitz Hall senselessly dived into the tackle and completely missed the ball this allowed Pablo Counago to coast clear and finish with aplomb, curling a tremendous left footed effort into the top left hand corner of the goal. A tremendous finish from a good Championship striker.
GOAL: Queens Park Rangers 1-2 Ipswich Town
QPR were struggling now to get hold of the ball as the visitors` new found confidence was proving tough to break. Indeed the introduction of Jon Walters for Luciano Civelli on the hour mark added more fire power to an already potent line-up. Civelli had put in a solid performance as he continues to gain his first team fitness while learning on the job for the Tractor Boys.
If Samuel Di Carmine was disappointed with his withdrawal Damien Delaney was absolutely distraught. Paulo Sousa`s gamble mean that the full back was sacrificed in favour of Dexter Blackstock, something that the full back evidently disagreed with.
After being handed a tracksuit to put on the Irish international launched it in the direction of the dugout behind Paulo Sousa, displaying his visible frustration - perhaps at his own performance, perhaps at the decision.
His replacement was a man who had a history of turning these kind of games on their head from the bench. Blackstock turned the Preston game in the R`s favour after a similar substitution, but the main issue for R`s supporters was that their side weren`t getting hold of the ball and weren`t crafting out meaningful chances when they did.
The visiting supporters visibly delighted with their sides showing were cheering on their side to further goals in order to sew up the fixture. Substitute Walters duly obliged as Town appeared home and hosed with still over 20 minutes remaining.
Alan Quinn was once again at the heart of the move as his classy cross field pass from the left drifted over the head of Kaspars Gorkss and the first touch of Jon Walters was sublime before slipping the ball home past a forlorn Camp at his near post. Just as in two years ago, Town had turned the game on it`s head and the home crowd let their anger boil over.
GOAL: Queens Park Rangers 1-3 Ipswich Town
Angelo Balanta was thrown onto the field in a bid to salvage something from the game as the desperation grew from the R`s dugout. The issue however concerned who was withdrawn, as Liam Miller left the field instead of the expected change from section of support who believed Gavin Mahon should have been the one to go.
A section of senseless supporters let themselves down by not only booing the decision but chants of You don`t know what you`re doing emanated from some mindless morons in the Loftus Road end. The same enlightened souls also decided to boo Gavin Mahon`s every touch from then on, but they were soon drowned out and hushed by signs of support from the sane minded individuals.
While Mahon`s performance wasn`t his best, his effort was without question still evident, and while a player shows effort for the shirt he deserves the reciprocal respect from the support.
Wayne Routledge was beginning to find his range however breaking free down the right on two or three occasions and being given an age to pick out crosses. While his crosses were well placed the Ipswich rearguard more than matched the teasing balls.
Indeed Routledge perhaps could have had a penalty towards the end of the game as Thatcher senselessly hauled the down the winger at the third time of asking in the area. However not for the first time in the game linesman and referee stared gormlessly at each other before doing nothing other than seeing an subsequent infringement from Routledge.
Lee Cook seemed to be playing some feeble role on the left-hand side as he tucked inside showing no support to Gorkss who was by now a marauding left-full back. Whenever Cook found himself hugging the flank he was extremely effective digging out some testing crosses at least asking questions of the opposing defence.
One moment of brief excitement towards the end came as his cross was beautifully carved out for Dexter Blackstock with the striker nodding straight into the grateful arms of the under-worked former Arsenal stopper Richard Wright.
With most of the morons booing Sousa and the side having left the ground the boos of discontent at the end of the game weren`t as loud or embarrassing as they could have been. Nevertheless a home defeat has underlined the R`s poor form in W12 of late and something to work on as they face a tough test against Cardiff City on Wednesday night.
Ipswich however will leave W12 delighted with their showing as Jim Magilton has surely won the doubters around with two wins in two games and a truly commendable performance live infront of the world in W12. They will certainly travel back up the A12 delighted with their side`s performance as they go three points clear in the race for the playoffs.
Full Time: Queens Park Rangers 1-3 Ipswich Town
Queens Park Rangers: Lee Camp, Matthew Connolly, Fitz Hall, Kaspars Gorkss, Damien Delaney (Dexter Blackstock 57), Wayne Routledge, Gavin Mahon, Mikele Leigertwood, Liam Miller (Angelo Balanta 73), Lee Cook, Samuel Di Carmine (Heidar Helguson 55).
Ipswich Town: Richard Wright, David Wright, Gareth McAuley, Alex Bruce, Ben Thatcher, David Norris, Tommy Miller, Alan Quinn, Luciano Civelli (Jon Walters 60), Jon Stead (Kevin Lisbie 69), Pablo Counago (Owen Garvan 82).
He showed an excellent striker`s instinct to be in the right place at the right time to finish the ball well from close range. He will be devastated to be withdrawn rather than be given the opportunity to forge a partnership with a fellow forward.