Sheffield Wednesday Match Report
by, 04-04-2010 at 01:27 PM (291 Views)
Saturday 23rd April 2010
The Coca Cola Championship
Loftus Road Stadium
Referee: C H Webster
Queens Park Rangers 1-1 Sheffield Wednesday
By The Godfather
Queens Park Rangers starting line-up: Ikeme, Gorkss, Hill, Stewart, Ramage, Taraabt, Ephraim, Leigertwood, Simpson, Priskin, Faurlin.
Sheffield Wednesday starting line-up: Grant, Spurr, Purse, Beevers, Buxton, Nolan, Potter, Soares, O'Connor, Varney, Tudgay.
What a depressing result this was. Once again, Queens Park Rangers threw away what would have been a valuable victory over a very poor team. The Rs were clearly the better of the two sides, enjoying the lion's share of possession and creating several clear-cut chances. Unfortunately, though, after Alejandro Faurlin had netted his first goal in a hooped shirt, Warnock's men failed to put the game to bed, and were consequently punished.
The frustrating thing was that, in truth, this was a rather impressive performance from Queens Park Rangers. Even Tamas Priskin looked livelier than usual (although, given the standard of his recent displays, that was not much of an achievement). On the most part, the defence looked relatively well organised and, apart from the Owls' equaliser, they dealt with the opposing strikers very competently. Peter Ramage also impressed me. Clearly Warnock has worked with him on the training pitch: his positioning was far better, and he even put in a couple of decent crosses towards the end of the match. However, I am still not sure that he possesses the necessary attributes to succeed at this level.
Neil Warnock made just one change to the side that picked up a point at Preston last Saturday, replacing Antonio German with Jay Simpson. Taraabt operated in a free role behind the Arsenal loanee, with Priskin and Ephraim occupying the flanks. Leigertwood and Faurlin took up central midfield, whilst the back four consisted of Hill, Stewart, Gorkss and Ramage. Ikeme, in what would be his final game before returning to Wolves, retained the goalkeeping position.
After a scrappy opening to the match, the first opportunity came in a rather bizarre fashion. In the 8th minute, Priskin picked up the ball on the right flank and completely sliced his cross, sending the ball looping on to the roof of Lee Grant's net. This would certainly have been a spectacular goal!
Rangers continued to attack, attempting to break the deadlock. In the 12th minute, a period of sustained pressure on Wednesday's defence culminated in Faurlin shooting on goal, but his effort was saved comfortably by the goalkeeper. The Argentinean was looking very sharp and I sensed that this would be the day that he would finally score for the first time in a QPR shirt.
Then, nine minutes later, the Rs finally got the goal that their efforts deserved. Surprisingly, Priskin was involved once again, latching on to Ramage's lob and smashing an effort at goal, which forced Grant into pushing it out of play. The resulting corner caused panic in Wednesday's defence, which enabled Faurlin to bring the ball down inside the penalty area and slot it into the back of the net, with a little help from a deflection.
Priskin could and possibly should have doubled the home side's advantage in the 28th minute. Some good work from Taraabt and Leigertwood enabled the Hungarian to run into the penalty area, but, under pressure from Purse, he could only smash his effort well over the crossbar.
Half-time scoreline: Queens Park Rangers 1-0 Sheffield Wednesday
Just three minutes into the second half, Queens Park Rangers had a fantastic opportunity to extend their lead. A long ball from Matthew Hill found Priskin unmarked in the penalty area. To my despair, after chesting it down, the Hungarian's half volley was tipped over by Grant. He really should have done better.
Priskin was involved again in the 54th minute, his clever dummy allowing Ramage to receive it on the right-hand side. The full back produced an excellent low cross, but, frustratingly, no one managed to make contact with the ball.
At the other end, Sheffield Wednesday threatened for the first time in the 64th minute, when Spurr's cross found the unmarked Tudgay in the penalty area. Fortunately, he directed his header straight at Ikeme, who made a comfortable save.
Priskin and Ramage linked up again in the 64th minute, with the latter sending in another dangerous ball across the face of the goal. Once again, however, there were no Rangers players in the penalty area to meet it.
Sheffield Wednesday substitution: Johnson on for Varney (68 minutes).
Sheffield Wednesday substitution: Potter off for Clarke (70 minutes).
At this point, Warnock made his first substitution of the afternoon, bringing on Antonio German at the expense of Jay Simpson. German, who had scored two goals in two appearances prior to this match, struggled to make an impact during his twenty-minute spell on the pitch.
Adel Taraabt, who has enjoyed a fine run of form under Neil Warnock, almost created Rangers' second goal in the 71st minute. His curling corner found Gorkss at the far post, but the Latvian could only send his header flying well wide of the target.
Then, to my horror, Sheffield Wednesday netted their equaliser against the run of play. In the 78th minute, Spurr received the ball on the left flank and sent a pinpoint cross into the penalty area, allowing Soares to head into the bottom corner of the net.
Warnock responded by making two more substitutions during the final ten minutes of the match, neither of which had an impact upon proceedings. Lee Cook replaced Hogan Ephraim, who, in truth, had produced another poor display. Then, Priskin made way for the off-form Rowan Vine.
Sheffield Wednesday had the final opportunity of the match when a free kick caused chaos in QPR's penalty area, with Tudgay getting a touch. Fortunately, Ikeme was able to gather the ball.
Full-time scoreline: Queens Park Rangers 1-1 Sheffield Wednesday.
This was a very disappointing result in a match during which the Rs dominated proceedings. Warnock's men only have themselves to blame, squandering several opportunities to double their advantage in the second half. Clearly new strikers are needed in the summer.
Now, Rangers must pick up a decent result at play-off chasing Leicester City in order to avoid a nerve-racking end to the season. Let's hope that the Rs prove to be more clinical in front of goal on Easter Monday.
Man of the match: Alejandro Faurlin - In my view, he is definitely a candidate for the Player of the Year award. I was delighted to see him notch his first goal in a QPR shirt - he thoroughly deserved it.