Wasteful Rangers' Pay The Penalty
After a long summer of reliving the magic of the play off final back in May, the football season finally returned to Loftus Road yesterday afternoon as Premier League football was back on the menu. Our first visitors of the season were FA Cup finalists Hull City.
A long pre-season was finally over and for the first time in a very long time none of the LH gang attended any of the friendlies during the build up, instead we were lucky enough to catch a stream on the majority of games to see how the team were shaping and how our new signings were beginning to bed in.
At 2pm we all assembled in our usual meeting point near the Loft entrance as Sam, Luke, Jess and myself hooked up with the already present Lofty, Jenson, Lorna and Zach.
Once the cobwebs were dusted off we made our way in the ground and met Michael before we made our way up to our seats and getting back into the spirit of our Saturday afternoon joy/disappointment for the next 10 months.
Harry Redknapp decided to go with the new look 3-5-2 formation that we have been trialling during the course of pre-season, with three of our new signings making their debuts. Surprisingly Dunne was preferred to Onuoha as Loic Remy marked his return to Loftus Road following his loan spell at Newcastle and potential move to Liverpool collapsing.
The official QPR Twitter account (@QPRFC) provided an excellent insight into the formation we would be playing -
The R's started the game very nervy as the players looked to continue to familiarise themselves with the new formation. Both wing backs did not venture forward to much in the opening 25 minutes as they feared leaving the back three exposed to the threat of Ince and Snodgrass.
Jelavic harmlessly steered his header over from Robertson's cross in the opening 10 minutes of the game, Hull's only effort on goal in the first half!
Rangers' slowly grew in confidence as the half wore on and as we slowly began to assert pressure on a very well organised Hull defence.
As we edged past the half hour mark the R's created their best opportunity of the game as Austin and Remy combined down the right before Remy floated into the near post to Mutch, whose deft header somehow flashed across goal and wide.
This gave the home side the initiative to press further forward and win a series of corners which sparked some panic in the Hull backline with some desperate defending leading to two goal line clearances.
Austin also found himself wanting as his managed to back clear after a misplaced back pass lead to last seasons top goalscorer racing clear, only for Bruce to put in a superb last minute challenge as Austin was about to pull the trigger.
During the half time interval I was saying how last time we were in the Premier League we were good at creating chances, however often found ourselves not making the most of these and getting punished on many occasions, I was just hoping that this wasn't going to be the case once again.
Hull started brightly in the second half and earned themselves a corner as Elmohammady continued to cause Traore problems down the Hull right before having his cross intercepted and put out for a corner. The resulting corner saw Quinn float a ball towards the far post where Chester had cleverly escaped Ferdinand before heading into the bottom corner to give the visitors the lead.
Hull used their experience to slow the game down and try to draw us further up the pitch before counter attacking in behind our defence and extending their lead. The plan nearly came to fruition as Dunne got drawn forward by Jelavic before Quinn was played into the gaping hole left by Dunne as he went one on one with Ferdinand. Ince then made a great run on the outside of Quinn before receiving the pass to go clean through on the R's goal, only to find Rob Green more than equal to the task. Ince really should've done better and sealed the three points for Hull.
Rangers' needed to freshen up their approach as they had completely gone flat as Hull controlled the game.
The out of sorts Simpson made way after an ineffective game which saw him look pretty lost as a wing back, Ali Faurlin also made way as Hoilett and Phillips came on to to add some extra bite to our attacking play.
Some life was brought back in as Remy started to come more and more into the game as Hoilett began to create more trouble for Hull as they finally had someone running at them and back peddling towards goal.
Zamora came on for the final ten minutes of the game and almost immediately as he released Hoilett down the left before trying to centre the ball for the awaiting Austin, however Chester was adjudged to of handled the cross and the penalty was awarded!! A very harsh decision when you look back on the replays, however justice was done when Austin stepped up and placed the ball to the left of the goal and saw McGregor save and preserve Hull's one goal advantage.
Rangers' did continue to put the pressure on and Ferdinand had the opportunity to level from three yards out but did not react quick enough before a last gasp effort from Remy was tipped over the bar.
On reflection you have to be positive coming away from the game as we did show flashes of good play and once the players get used to the wing back system and begin to play more football on the floor rather than lumping to Austin and Remy then we will see even further improvement. We also need to be more clinical in front of goal and make the most of the half chances we create. If we do not do this then we will find ourselves get punished more often and get even more frustrated.
You also have to give credit to Hull who came to W12 to not lose and were patient and organised within their approach whilst also having that killer instinct in that final third. Once they strengthen the squad after Long's departure they should sit comfortably within the Premier League whilst enjoying their European experience.
Onto our Man of the Match. There was a split across the gang today as Jess opted for Remy as Sam picked out Ferdinand. There was a tie at the top as Jenson and Luke voted for Caulker whilst Lofty and I picked out Mutch. As this goes to editors choice it is only right that the choice of Lofty and myself wins the opening vote of the season, so Jordon Mutch is today's Man of the Match for an encouraging performance whilst should've been rounded off with a goal in the first half. I have a feeling we will be writing a few rave reviews about this new signing over the course of the next few months.
Lofty will make his long awaited return next week as he, Jenson, Luke and Sam make their way to White Hart Lane on Sunday afternoon. Hopefully we will see a return of the Pie Ratings as we look for our Premier League Pie of the Year.