It’s disappointing but, if we get three points against Middlesbrough, it’s a nice run – Bruno Saltor
The night started off not too well. Signalling problems meant reasonably large delays. Despite this we managed to get up to Westfield shopping centre via overground train (10 minutes from Loftus Road). The next issue was the constant downpour and humongous puddles lining the London pavements. Luckily Google maps bailed us out and gave us plenty of time before kick off to admire the ‘wonderful’ box-like structure that is Loftus Road.
There is an uncanny similarity between the two images!
Anyway enough of that lets talk about the match. Pretty much all sensible fans would admit that QPR were the much more dangerous-looking side in the first half. Shots from Austin and Phillips were brilliantly saved by in form keeper, David Stockdale. QPR got unlucky when the man himself, Inigo Calderon blocked the ball off the line – giving the Albion another chance. After a bright start, the game started to level out and the first half finished a reasonably fair 0-0. The Albion fans were in full voice and singing for the majority of the first half. Y
To summarise the performance, we were solid and consistent enough in defence but showed no cutting edge in attack. The second half started very brightly. Just seven minutes after the restart, a cross from Inigo Calderon was met by the stretching Dunk who looped the ball back into the six yard box for Dale Stephens to perform a brilliantly strange overhead kick from about two feet off the ground – great improvisation from the midfielder! Also QPR fans who think that Sandro was fouled by Stephens need to realise that a 6’2″ defensive midfielder needs to be stronger than that (basically man up and don’t dive!) Our goal seemed against the run of play but it shows that in football, you need to take your chances.
To add insult to injury, on-loan Wolves winger, Rajiv Van La Parra thundered home a lovely driven shot from what must of been 35 yards out. QPR seemed to be in shock from the first goal – this lapse of concentration allowed Rajiv the time and space to turn and calmly smash the ball into the bottom corner. Admittedly QPR fans will feel like Green should have done better as the ball went under him but all credit to Van La Parra… it was a powerful unexpected shot that a lot of keepers would struggle to save.
I thought that goal was the final nail in the coffin, that got us the three points… However Albion seemed to have their own fatal lapse of concentration. A driven Phillips cross landed to star-striker Charlie Austin who seemed to lose the ball however a fortunate rebound allowed him to tuck the ball past Stockdale into the top corner (an exquisite finish by the striker). Matters only got worse as Lewis Dunk over-committed for a ball and nailed Faurlin with the high foot. I don’t think it was intentional however the referee was completely right to send him off, a silly thing for our centre back to do when we are trying to maintain 3 points.
After this, QPR really turned the pressure up and this payed dividends after a Bobby Zamora handball led to a free kick which was turned behind for a corner. Inevitably, Austin flicked the ball into the back of the net. Two things that we could have done to prevent this goal… Have someone bigger marking Austin (not Bruno!) and put someone on the line to block the header!
The 4th official somehow came up with the magic number of 7 minutes added time – definitely a QPR fan! Phillips nearly made it 3-2 with a driven strike which skimmed the post to almost replicate our 3-2 comeback vs Charlton.
Overall I believe that it was a fair result, QPR were the stronger team in the first half. We started very brightly in the second half, prevailing with two quick fire goals however after their first goal our performance went completely downhill. However we did well considering we had 10 men for 15 minutes. However we should never have let the 2-0 lead slip. But like Bruno said these two draws will be completely worth it if we win on Saturday. Another result where before the match I would have been happy with a draw but also feel disappointed because we could have easily won the match after being 2-0 up!