Five in a Row For Tinkerman Olly
17.04.17 - 15.00
QUEENS Park Rangers fell to a fifth successive defeat at the hands of playoff chasing Sheffield Wednesday.
A penny for the thoughts of the supporters of the remaining playoff pack when they see Ian Holloway name five more changes to his QPR side, involving Mike Petrasso getting his first start in nearly a year.
A 3-5-2 with only one recognised central defender made Rangers appear more than a little uncomfortable with the personnel at their disposal.
It came as little surprise when the visitors took the lead. Daniel Pudil's cross was sliced into James Perch and Adam Reach slammed home from 12 yards - Defensively it was suspect at its kindest.
There was a leveller though - a goal that started tidily enough with interplay between Luke Freeman, Ryan Manning and Jamie Mackie - the latter somehow engineered the ball onto top scorer Idrissa Sylla - the Guinean netting beyond Keiren Westwood to reach double figures for the season.
Defensive frailties, however, went on to cost Rangers dear despite the inevitable best efforts of Alex Smithies. Ross Wallace delivered a teasing set-piece for Jordan Rhodes to bring the best from the Rs stopper, only for Pudil to ghost in unmarked and head home what proved to be the winner.
Undeterred, Holloway tinkered in a typically relentless fashion. Long throws were off-set by short corners, Petrasso was then thrown around the pitch before being hauled off at half time.
Three very attacking changes in the second half did see an improvement from the hosts but not to the degree where they really troubled Westwood's goal to a significant degree. Matt Smith came closest for Rangers when his glanced header dropped just wide of the upright.
Rangers stumbled to another defeat - a fifth in succession - while only having kept one clean sheet in 17 games.
Their only saving grace at this stage is the fact that
Blackburn Rovers, Birmingham City and Nottingham Forest seem to be having their own private battle to make up the bottom three with already relegated Rotherham United and perilously placed Wigan Athletic.
A tad troubling for Rangers though, and needlessly so in some quarters. At this stage in the season supporters will of course expect some level of experimentation, but the rate and scale of these tactical gambits cannot be construed as something productive.
What Olly will have learned from playing Petrasso in three different positions before removing him at half time is anyone's guess.
Three more nails to go into the coffin of the 2016/17 season.