Team: Green, Simpson, Dunne, Hill, Assou-Ekotto, Henry (Jenas), O’Neil (Chevanton), Barton, Kranjcar (Phillips), Hoilett, Austin.
Subs Not Used: Murphy, Onyewu, Traore, Faurlin.
This was the only QPR league fixture this season where I have not seen the R’s dominate play. Right from the kick-off we were never really in it. Overall Rangers lacked pace and sharpness and in comparison Burnley were quicksilver. They hustled us into errors all over the pitch and their work rate was superior to ours. Pressed off the park you might say.
This was certainly not a game where the R’s strutted around in total command stringing 20-plus passes together and waiting for the one goal to turn up for victory like it has been in many previous encounters in this campaign. Rangers were given very little time to settle on the ball by an eager beaver, in your face, Burnley outfit who appeared to want it more.
In truth there was not that many actual goalscoring chances created by either side, but believe me, Burnley were the only team likely to score. I would have settled for a 0-0 result after witnessing just the opening 15 minutes. I knew then that we were not going to do any better than that.
The whole world and his dog knows that we have difficulty in hitting the proverbial barn door no matter what formation we play so when our excellent passing and defensive cohesion/organisation is broken up we are mere mortals.
Full credit to Burnley, they are a decent team, but a sluggish performance by the R’s made them look better than perhaps they really are. Anyway the good news is that we don’t have to visit Turf Moor every week.
Up the tempo Rangersotherwise away trips to places such as Wigan, Leicester, Forest and Watford will prove to be very uncomfortable indeed!
Rob Green atones for a first half error
Queen’s Park Rangers midfielder Joey Barton was hit by a bottle thrown by a supporter at Turf Moor in an incident that marred the Championship’s game of the day. The unsavoury episode occurred midway through the second period with Rangers chasing the game as Barton went to retrieve a ball in front of the James Hargreaves Stand. It comes a week after manager Harry Redknapp was hit as a fan returned the ball at Millwall.
The off-field controversy however should not detract from another excellent display by the league leaders who were inspired by Danny Ings’ brace. The England Under-21 forward’s double helped Burnley maintain their best ever start to a league season in 116 years and extended their lead at the top of the table, as they took Queen’s Park Rangers apart with a devilish second-half display at Turf Moor.
Ings started and finished a beautifully worked opener in the 68th minute before winning a penalty from Barton, which he then converted to put the gloss on a fine performance and end QPR’s unbeaten start to the campaign.
“The first goal was good enough to grace most pitches,” said Burnley manager Sean Dyche.
“The movement, the link play, the pace and the quality of the finish were excellent. He’s a young player and he’s naturally matured. He’s a fantastic player and I felt there was more to come from him and we spoke to him about that in the summer. I think he and Sam Vokes have been excellent. They haven’t over-thought the fact that Charlie Austin left – they’ve just looked at it as an opportunity to play more.”
Billed as the division’s top game with first taking on second, one of the division’s most prolific outfits against the meanest defence and in financial terms (with the visitors summer acquisition of Charlie Austin alone totalling more than Burnley’s entire starting X1 combined), David (maybe that should be Danny) versus Goliath – the first-half should have amounted to more.
Yet as is often the case with top of the table clashes that period of play was written off – with the visitors battling to stifle their opponents and Dyche’s side occasionally threatening to break the shackles of expectation that await them each time they turn out at Turf Moor these days.
If Harry Redknapp apportioned a toxic dressing room as being a key factor in Rangers travails last term, this season’s effort has been built on the solid foundations provided by captain Clint Hill and Richard Dunne.
It was Hill’s display in particular that caught the eye. The 35-year-old survivor of Rangers’ last successful promotion showed perfect positional sense to nullify Burnley’s forward momentum time after time, but even he could not prevent the opener when it came.
Dispossessing Karl Henry, Ings fed the ball to Vokes who neatly turned away Dunne before playing a reverse ball back in to his strike partner’s path for a superbly executed goal. Joe Jordan and Harry Redknapp led the touchline inquisition and Henry deemed the perpetrator of their downfall was immediately withdrawn.
Rangers should have levelled in the 71st minute. Barton sporting an Alice band better suited to the South of France than East Lancashire, swung over a delightful free kick, but when Hill’s back post header was saved by Tom Heaton, Dunne slashed it wildly over.
With time running out, Barton compounded an error on halfway by racing back to charge into Ings with skipper Hill seemingly in control of the situation. Referee Andy Haines (Simon Hooper?) had little option, but to point to the spot and Ings grabbed his 13th goal of the season much to the delight of the gleeful home support who wasted no time in reminding Austin of the score and their position as Championship leaders.
Rangers’ assistant boss Kevin Bond was left less than impressed by the manner of his team’s defeat. “We’re just disappointed that we weren’t able to play through Burnley’s pressure, but credit to them.”
“We gave the ball away in a bad area for the goal and it was at a time when we were just coming in to the game. We missed a big chance just after to make it 1-1 and I think that was crucial because we then concede a second on the counter attack.”
No arrest made in connection with the bottle that hit Joey Barton, but police did make an arrest after an object hit a female fan, drawing blood, in the North Stand.
Steven Sutcliffe – The Telegraph
Karl Henry dispossessed in the build up to Burnley’s opener
I felt we started in a quite lively fashion, particularly with Hoilett impressing in the early exchanges. But it was very noticeable that we were one-dimensional. Gary O’Neil out on the right hardly got a touch of the ball, and neither of the full-backs got forward enough to get crosses into the box.
As a result the first-half descended into a tight war of attrition, similar to many games so far this season. Burnley were energetic and well-organised. They exuded the sort of confidence you might expect from a team coming off six league wins on the bounce.
Rangers seemed to lack ideas. Austin saw little or no service and Kranjcar was well marshalled by the Burnley defence. I thought that Barton did a good job in the centre of the park alongside Henry. I suspected tempers might flare when Joey was booked for an innocuous-looking challenge outside the penalty area. I feared the worst when Burnley appealed for a second booking following a claimed deliberate handball incident.
It was an odd afternoon. It seemed that ‘Calamity Green’ might be putting in an appearance with a couple of errors which could have easily been punished with Burnley goals. I was beginning to think that we might be edging towards a 0-0 when Henry was dispossessed in midfield and the in-form striker Danny Ings played a wonderful reverse pass one-two with his strike partner Vokes and beat Green to make it one-nil.
Rangers changed formation and went 4-4-2 bringing on Chevanton although we didn’t look particularly convincing. Barton conceding the penalty for Ings second put the tin hat on a disappointing display.
It wasn’t the end of the world that some on social media portrayed it as. But it was a wake-up call, a time to recognise that in spite of our great start, we may not be quite as good as we think we are. Harry needs to look again at the one-upfront strategy. It misfired at Burnley on Saturday.
(Photos provided by Sandra Sayce and are used with permission)