#QPR 3-2 Cardiff: Match Report

We just love playing Cardiff city at home don’t we! A 90 minute performance which encapsulated just about everything about being a Qpr fan. Literally from the sublime to the ridiculous and then back to the sublime again at the end just as we thought that we’d done a little known thing us fans like to call a ‘QPR’.

The weekly check of twitter at 2pm was of course met with a contrast of emotions from Rangers fans. 4 changes from the Barnsley shambles, one of course forced due to Dickies red card, Cameron and masterson came in for Ball and the aforementioned Dickie and there was a spot in the side again for BOS after his midweek shunning. The biggest shock came in the shape of the man that even the mention of his name can send shivers down the spines of Qpr fans. Todd Kane. Yes, he does still play football and the few that managed to actually continue watching the midweek masterclass would have noticed that he did in fact come off the bench in that game. Whether it was Kakay being dropped or rested was the main talking point prior to kick off, personally I believe it may have been a combination of the two, not wanting to overwork the young fullback but also a wakeup call for him as he hasn’t been as purring in the last 2-3 games.

With the line-up confirmed and the formation seeming to be one up front again supporters anguished and murmurs of a certain goal record dating back to 2003 began to rise. We had gone 4 without a goal prior to the game and another blank drawn against the blues would have broken the record set in 2003 for the most amount of time without scoring. The visitors were confident prior to kick off from what I could digest on social media, they hoped to rub salt into our wounds and many Qpr fans did strap in and prepare for the so called ‘banter’ on twitter post match. Of course my eyes were opened to the fact that the internet does exist in Cardiff, a place where electricity was only discovered in what seems like 2010 and the use of fax machines are apparently still prominent.
Kick off, and again we actually started with aplomb it was instantly apparent that bread man may have discussed the obsession for barbet and dickie to spend 25 minutes passing between one another. We looked positive in possession and had impetus going forward for the first time this season. An early chance came for Adomah following a great reverse pass from a now Charles Bronson looking Lyndon Dykes, who has ditched the Eminem look for a more shall we say intimidating impersonation. The early signs were very positive. Adomah spent the first 15 mins taking the absolute piss out of Joe Bennett his former Boro team mate. The start was very bright and it paid dividends on 15 minutes, when Uncs was played down the right after a wonderful reverse pass form Carroll and just took a split second after chopping inside to pick out a perfect cross for the wee man Ilias Chair who volleyed home from the edge of the area. 1-0, what a start we’ve actually scored a goal and Chair has his confidence booster that was much needed GET IN! Then the instant Qpr fan thought creeps into your head, calm down and nothing silly for 10 minutes, but we didn’t follow that principle at all. Last year we had a knack for scoring 2 or 3 goals inside a 20 minute blitzkrieg Luton at home springs to mind, we were reminded of that cavalier attacking style when the dominance continued. Cardiff resorted to hacks on BOS and Chair we absolutely blew them out of the water hounding for the ball back and attacking with real energy and purpose. When chair wonderfully flicked the ball over the head of Vaulks it had me off my seat, only to then see the ball fall to Todd Kane. Instantly I looked into row z expecting the ball to turn up somewhere around there but to my shock it flew into the top right corner. 2-0 rangers and more than deserved. Following the blitz of attacks we decided it would be time to control proceeding until the half time whistle blew. A first half that made us look like a team full of confidence and arrogance. The negativity towards warbs was forgotten and worry disappeared. Of course we don’t support Liverpool or Manchester City, so it wont come at any surprise to tell you that we didn’t see off the game with a professional second half display. Of course we didn’t its Qpr for Christ sake!

Cardiff under Neil Harris managed to squeeze into last years playoffs, but I don’t think any City fan will argue that the football they play is pleasing on the eye. They looked like a team that have struggled to meet preseason expectations and the injury to welsh wizard Harry Wilson certainly left them high and dry in the creative department. Hoilett replaced a lacklustre Vaulks at half time definitely a more positive change which was of course needed after their toothless first half performance. Just 30 seconds after the whistle blew for the second period to begin it became very obvious that the Cardiff dressing room was not a pretty sight at half time obviously whatever Harris said resulted in a fiery reaction from his players who came out looking like a different animal. A late Kane challenge went unpunished from the referee, Kane was already on a booking and could have easily seen his marching orders being sent to him. And just a minute later we had conceded guess what? another penalty. It doesn’t take much to see our centre halves part like the red sea, on this occasion it was a slipped ball through to an unmarked Moore who then was met by who else but Mr Barbet who of course dived in again unnecessarily and in that undoing all of his positive work in the first 45! I understand that he does have positive elements to his game, however the sheer rashness of his decision making can only be compared to something you see at an under 14s game. Ralls converted and it was game on. Of course we are fairly inexperienced on the whole at championship level with the squad of players we currently have. Only really Cameron and Adomah have real championship experience and especially when compared to Cardiff we look like a youth side at times. One major gripe I have always had under Warbs is that we seem to let our heads drop in times of adversity and all of a sudden our footballing ability (especially in the defensive department) goes out of the window. This was the case on Saturday, as we spent the next 40 minutes looking just as toothless as we have all season and for Lyndon Dykes, who by the way works his absolute socks off and possesses a real threat in the air, the gap between him and the midfield became a gaping chasm. Cardiff never created anything clear cut, which ultimately is probably the main reason why they didn’t get something from this game, but we looked like we had no energy, intensity or any sort of creativity when we got the ball. It just looked like the early goal had morphed us into a Sunday league side. There was a few splashes of positivity in the second half however. Young Nico Hamalainen, well we say young, he is 23 which isn’t that young in todays game, played very well and worked our only real chance in the second period when he drove down the line before squaring to BOS who dilly dallied on the edge of the area before being dispossessed. That man Dominic ball came on for Chair with around 15 minutes left and that did give us a little bit more energy in the midfield, Joe Willock also came on earlier however he showed very little going forward and didn’t really provide any great impact on the game, it’s difficult coming on in that situation however Willocks tendency to go missing for periods in the game is certainly a worry. Lee Tomlin arrived in the game with a terribly late challenge on Bright who had to hold back from reacting and potentially seeing red. As much as we invited Cardiff to win the game, they just lacked the quality and drive to do so, after resorting to pumping it long to Moore became their plan A, many fans would see that as a relief as simple balls shouldn’t be too hard to deal with from a competent defence. Competent is the word to highlight there, as it does seem that there is something in the water in the home dressing room. A long punt from Morrison and Masterson does his best Diego Maradona impression punching the ball and leaving the referee no choice but to give ANOTHER PENALTY. To make matters worse, a superb save from the spot by Deing fell right back at the feet of Ralls to tap home 2-2 and the only team that looked like winning the game were Cardiff. But as we know this sport can be nothing short of mad at times. Dykes throws himself at about the 20th ball of the game (he really did battle for everything up against two very physical centre halves). And Bang, a BAALT OUT OF THE BLUE. A THUNDERBAALT. Enough of the dad jokes, but oh my lord what a goal it was from everyone’s favourite industrious midfielder (sorry Geoff Cameron) Dom Ball. One of the least likely people to put one in the top bins from 30 yards but he did and thank god he did because I dread to think of the reaction to that result had he not. Full time 3-2 Rangers big win at what seemed a crossroads for this season and potentially Mark Warburton’s tenure at the club.

Overall the first half performance was one full of quality, dynamism and confidence which was everything that the second half performance lacked. Cardiff did start the second half really well, and that seemed to scare us. Something which certainly does need addressing. Do we even need to mention the elephant in the room of penalties. 5 in 3 games is really a sight for sore eyes isn’t it. But on the whole a win is positive and there was a lot of good to take from the game. 3 points and a big chance to follow it up with a midweek trip to an out of form Derby county side. Onwards and upwards.

Player Ratings
Dieng – 7.5
Kane – 7.5
Masterson – 6
Barbet – 5.5
Hamalainen – 7
Cameron – 6
Carroll – 6.5
Adomah – 8
Chair – 8.5 MOM
Osayi Samuel – 7.5
Dykes – 7
Willock – 6
Ball – 8
Bonne – 6

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