QPR v Fulham

Team: Kenny, Diakite, Hill, Ferdinand, Onuoha, Taiwo (Traore), Barton, Wright-Phillips (Buzsaky), Taarabt, Mackie, Zamora

Subs Not Used: Cerny, Gabbidon, Derry, Smith, Bothroyd

Attendance: 18,015 (including 3,155 away fans)

This was a demoralising defeat that leaves me feeling that we will now be relegated. I had been reasonably confident that we’d stay up, but I can actually see us finishing bottom. The team lacked passion and spirit. How people like Clint Hill and Jamie Mackie must feel surrounded by team mates probably earning four to five times per week what they earn I really don’t know. Especially as the majority don’t appear to give a damn.

Yet again we saw a first-half sending off in home game, thus giving the home side a mountain to climb to get anything from the game. Following the lead of Bartweet v Norwich and Cisse v Wolves, this time it was another debutante leaving the pitch early on after an incident that left the ref with little choice other than to give a red card. Thank you Samba Diakite!

I thought Zamora was poor. There was none of the desire to make an impression that you usually see from a player playing his former club and colleagues. Bartweet’s free kick after 70 minutes that was ballooned aimlessly over the bar and into the Fulham fans was woeful and hardly surprisingly, was greeted with the chant, ’80 grand – you’re having a laugh’. If I was Mark Hughes I’d strip him of the captaincy, give it to Ferdinand and tell Barton that unless he pulls his finger out he should start looking for another club.

One player that I did feel sorry for was Shaun Wright-Phillips. Many players in his situation would attempt to hide on the pitch, but he kept going forward and getting involved. He needs a goal so much. I do wonder what might have followed if that perfectly good goal he scoredversus West Brom had been given.

Although Rangers did play better in the second-half and had plenty of possession, in reality, Schwarzer had very little to do. All in all, it’s just not good enough. Our wage bill must be astronomic now and one does wonder if we will become the next Portsmouth ! Not a good day at all and it’s hard to see a bright side at the moment.

Martin Percival

Queens Park Rangers manager Mark Hughes admitted he brushed aside Fulham counterpart Martin Jol moments after his struggling side had slid to defeat against his former club. Television cameras caught the incident and Hughes, who left Fulham last summer amid some rancour, said: “I offered my hand and he shook it, I congratulated him on a good performance by his team. But I took exception because I thought he was going to pat me on the head which I deemed to be slightly patronising so I pushed his arm away, that’s all it was.”

Jol played down the incident. “I tried to grab his shoulder, but maybe he is a tough guy. Maybe he didn’t like it, or maybe he doesn’t like me. He’s a winner, he wants to win,” he said. The fractious end came after Fulham had heaped more misery on their neighbours by following up a 6-0 autumn drubbing by inflicting a narrower but still highly costly defeat.

It was a particularly bleak afternoon for Hughes and striker Bobby Zamora, facing their former club for the first time, and debutant Samba Diakite, who was sent off in the first-half following a second bookable offence. Fulham were left to celebrate only their second away league win of the season, and continuing ascent to mid-table safety, thanks to an early strike from striker Pavel Pogrebnyak.

Hughes was taunted continuously by the raucous away support, relishing the discomfort of the man who left their club last summer, while Zamora, who made the 2.5-mile move in a £6 million deadline-day switch, had a subdued afternoon.

The visitors found huge gaps in the QPR rearguard right from the start. Andrew Johnson glanced home a header in the third minute that was denied, rightly, by the offside flag, but there was no denying Pogrebnyak’s seventh-minute strike. The powerful Russian, drafted in from Stuttgart last month to replace Zamora, gathered Moussa Dembele’s perfect through pass, rounded goalkeeper Paddy Kenny and stroked the ball coolly home.

QPR ‘s problems multiplied after 34 minutes when holding midfielder Diakite’s debut came to an unhappy end after being shown a second yellow card – the third dismissal of a QPR player in the last four home league games. Not that the hosts disappeared without a fight. In fact, they enjoyed substantial possession and exerted some pressure after the interval as Fulham appeared happy to sit deep and protect their advantage. Jamie Mackie dragged a shot across the face of the Fulham goal in the 69th minute and Shaun Wright-Phillips should have scored from close in seven minutes from time.

Ben Findon – The Telegraph

Adel Taarabt tried his luck a few times, unsuccessfully, in the 1st half from long range. Someone had previously posted up on the message board speculating which player would be red carded and it wasn’t too long before we found out ! We had a couple of chances as Fulham generally sat back, but much of the talk was about Joey Barton’s antics. I didn’t see it, but did he really make a gesture with his wrist at Jamie Mackie ? Was he seriously on Taarabt’s case during the game ? The atmosphere went flat as generally R’s fans prepared themselves for the inevitable. Well played Clint Hill.

Obviously very disappointing again and at the moment my mind is going back to the 1968/69 season as it’s very hard at the moment to believe that we can turn this around. Will anything change on Saturday ? I wonder ?

Steve Russell

(The above pics were taken by Martin Percival and used with his permission)