Queens Park Rangers manager Harry Redknapp rolled the dice on transfer deadline-day with a handful of loan signings but the three games since then have yielded just one point against Burnley, Derby and Reading, all of them rivals for automatic promotion in the Championship.
During QPR's only decent spell yesterday, when a goal by one of the loanees Kevin Doyle equalised the 10th-minute opener from Danny Williams, it looked like wheeler-dealing might outdo the solidity of the visitors.
But QPR fans bemoaned Rangers' defence as Alex Pearce's back-post header and Garath McCleary's sumptuous long-range shot put the game to bed.
McCleary strolled from his own half before unleashing a dipping right-footer from outside the penalty area beyond the dive of Rob Green. It appeared to provoke angry words between QPR players.
Reading had centre-back Kaspars Gorkss sent off for a lunging foul on Junior Hoilett in the 71st minute.
There had already been five yellow cards for innocuous fouls, so Gorkss, the Latvian who has lifted the Championship trophy with QPR and Reading, took a risk lunging for a ball he never looked likely to win.
Long-term injuries to QPR's 14-goal top-scorer Charlie Austin and his regular provider Matty Phillips forced Redknapp's move for Will Keane, the England U-21 striker from Manchester United, who made his debut yesterday, up front in a 4-4-2 alongside Doyle.
Doyle struck in the 20th minute on his first appearance against the club he left five years ago. Hoilett cut out a weak clearance on the edge of the penalty area and stabbed a short through ball to Keane, whose weak shot was parried into Doyle's path by Alex McCarthy, but that was the best moment the home side fashioned.
"We've started to ship goals and for two of Reading's we backed off them," said Redknapp's assistant Kevin Bond. "In an effort to do something about scoring, we've made ourselves more open to conceding them." (© Independent News Service)