Tuesday 16 January 2018

Frustration for Hughes as QPR undone by slow start

QPR 1 West Ham United 2

Henry Winter

QPR gave away 3D glasses with their programme at Loftus Road, but it was the blurred vision of their defenders that was decisive.

Although Adel Taarabt came on to give QPR hope, first-half mistakes by Mark Hughes' back-line kept the hosts rooted to the bottom of the Premier League.

West Ham dominated the first half. Ricardo Vaz Te was superb, helping create the visitors' first for Matt Jarvis and scoring the second.

Only when Taarabt stormed on, looking affronted at having started on the bench, did QPR look a threat. But Samba Diakite was dismissed for two cautions in 19 minutes and QPR were unable to recover from their first-half mishaps.

Victory lifted Sam Allardyce's side to sixth. There was also the welcome return after a month out of Andy Carroll, who was being watched by Roy Hodgson. Carroll almost scored, unleashing a magnificent drive that Julio Cesar saved. Talking before kick-off, Hughes had lamented "lapses of concentration at key moments" and his defence duly dozed off again.

QPR were missing Anton Ferdinand, Jose Bosingwa, Kieron Dyer, Armand Traore and Fabio through injury but nothing could really forgive the hapless nature of their first-half defending. Cesar was hardly a beacon of defiance in goal, either. A penny for the thoughts of Rob Green.


Hughes' back-line was all at sea when Kevin Nolan and Vaz Te combined down the right after three minutes. Nolan lifted the ball rather inelegantly to the far post, where the unmarked Jarvis scored with a cushioned header past Cesar.

Allardyce had to rejig his defence when Winston Reid departed after being briefly knocked out by Jussi Jaaskelainen as a QPR free-kick curled in. Reid, who walked off looking a forlorn, groggy figure, was soon talking in the dressing-room. James Tomkins came on, shortly followed by George McCartney as Joey O'Brien hobbled off.

Tomkins made an immediate impact, seizing on a clearance after a 35th-minute goalmouth scramble. He lifted the ball to the far post where Vaz Te, reacting quicker than Stephane Mbia, swept it left-footed back past Cesar.

Eight minutes into the second half, Hughes had seen enough, hooking Wright-Phillips and the anonymous Ji-sung Park, replacing them with Taarabt and Samba Diakite.

Diakite brought some much-needed strength and running from midfield for 19 minutes until he was sent off, while Taarabt immediately lit a firecracker of a goal. Cutting in from the left, he created space brilliantly before driving the ball irresistibly past Jaaskelainen. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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