sábado, 15 de octubre de 2011

Queens Park Rangers 1 - 1 Blackburn

At least this ugly match yielded a fair result. Neither side deserved to win. For much of the game, it was not even clear that either side was trying to win.

Fear, unsurprisingly, was a prominent feature of this game. Having suffered hefty defeats in their last outings both sides placed heavy emphasis on not conceding. The other obvious feature was a lack of quality.

If the managers had bigger squads they might have made radical changes to their lineups following the defeats to Fulham and Manchester City but they restricted themselves to three apiece. Neil Warnock explained afterwards, though, that he would have made more if DJ Campbell had not suffered a suspected broken metatarsal at training on Thursday. "He may need an operation, we'll find out on Monday," revealed Warnock, whose team can ill-afford to lose forwards given their goalscoring problems. Campbell's injury forced Warnock to amend his plans and he was irate that his revised lineup was leaked on a QPR supporters' website before the game.

"It's unbelievable that a so-called supporter would do that," he railed before reading out the culprit's email address and urging other fans to vent their anger at his or her treachery.

By contrast, Warnock professed to being happy with his team's performance against Blackburn. "I can't fault the players, they tried hard," he said.

That much is true. It is also true that this was a gruelling spectacle. It was apt that the first shot on goal was a sliced clearance by Anton Ferdinand in the 13th minute that forced goalkeeper Paddy Kenny to tip over the bar.

Three minutes later negligent defending at the other end allowed QPR to take the lead. Blackburn's marking from an Alejandro Faurlín corner was nonexistent but they appeared to have been spared when Heidar Helguson's goal-bound header was unintentionally blocked by team-mate Jamie Mackie.

Helguson, however, was allowed to help himself to the rebound and sent a fine chip over Paul Robinson and into the net. The home side had not done much to merit the lead, and they did not do much to protect it. Within seven minutes Blackburn drew level as Christopher Samba scored with a powerful header from a Jason Lowe corner. "I was disappointed with that," Warnock said. "You have to make the other team earn their goals. If you can't mark from a corner there's something not right."

Blackburn resorted to long balls with a regularity that may even have appalled Steve Kean's predecessor, Sam Allardyce. Their only source of unpredictability was Junior Hoilett, whose jinking run in the 41st minute would have been rewarded with a goal if not for a clearance off the line by Fitz Hall.

QPR were not adverse to booting balls long too, although they did try other approaches too. It is just that they were not good enough to prise Blackburn apart. The closest they to came to regaining the lead in the first half was when Shaun Wright-Phillips fired a low shot fractionally wide from 25 yards.

After nearly 20 barren minutes of the second half, Warnock introduced Adel Taraabt in place of Mackie. The Moroccan was presented with a wonderful chance to score in the 72nd minute after a flick-on from the unmarked Wright-Phillipss sent him clear on goal. Rather than trouble the goalkeeper, however, Taarabt embarrassed himself with an appalling miscue

Blackburn almost provided an unsuitable ending by plundering a winner. In the last minute, Hoilett conjured space in midfield before slipping the ball through to Martin Olsson. But the Swede shot straight at Kenny from 16 yards. So Blackburn sink to the bottom of the league, but Kean remains upbeat. "Any point you get away from home is good," Kean said. "We are getting ourselves moving, slowly, again."

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