Team: Green, Simpson, Dunne, Hill, Assou-Ekotto (Traore), Phillips (O’Neil), Carroll, Barton, Hoilett (Kranjcar), Johnson, Austin
Subs Not Used: Murphy, Onuoha, Henry, Jenas
Attendance: 15,987 (including 809 Rovers fans)
How frustrating was that on Saturday afternoon! As predicted, Blackburn played three at the back and packed a narrow midfield while we went 4-4-2, but we didn’t exploit the space down the flanks because we play our wingers on the wrong sides.
So all they did was cut inside when what was needed was for them to go on the outside and putting in some crosses!!! At least swap them over every now and again to mix it up.
When we matched up with them midway through the second-half, our full-backs came more into the game and we were more dominant in midfield, getting the ball wide and putting some decent balls into the box.
I thought that Harry made a ricket by taking both wingers off. He should have kept Matty Phillips on for his pace. I have to give credit to Joey Barton and Tom Carroll, two versus three is hard work. I also thought that Blackburn were big, strong, well organised and looked dangerous on set-plays and with Tommy Spurr’s long throws.
But unlike years gone by, we defended well with the exception of a couple of good chances they had in the first-half.
So expect one upfront at Blackpool on Saturday with Andy Johnson in support from a wide position. Will Harry play Matty Phillips against his old club? I hope so as they will be very wary of his pace.
A frustrating performance from QPR saw them fail to take control of the Championship, as Blackburn Rovers headed home from Loftus Road with a well-earned point.
The promotion hopefuls spurned two excellent chances to force a win through Matty Phillips and Charlie Austin, but assistant manager Kevin Bond felt that the side didn’t create enough considering the attacking nature of the starting line-up.
“We’re not a negative side, but it (keeping a clean sheet) has got to be what your season’s based on,” Bond said. “But the other side of it is that we’re perhaps not creating as much as we’d like. In the end it was a frustrating result. As the game went on they were content to get men behind the ball and frustrate us. It was a game of very few opportunities, but there were two really, really good ones I felt.”
QPR started the game very much on the front foot, but as the half went on, they found it difficult to get anywhere near Blackburn’s goal. The away side were clearly happy to soak up pressure while their hosts put in the legwork. Somewhat against the run of play, Blackburn found themselves on the verge of a shock lead. Ben Marshall picked out Jason Lowe lurking at the far post, and the midfielder’s first-time volley looked destined to find Rob Green’s vacated net. QPR captain Clint Hill was on hand to clear off the line, though – preventing his side from conceding only a third home league goal this season.
QPR attacked in fits and starts, but Blackburn turned their midfield pressing up a notch. Hill and Richard Dunne looked horribly exposed whenever QPR were dispossessed, as Blackburn looked to exploit the colossal gap between the centre-halves and the midfield.
Junior Hoilett was desperate to impress against his former club, though the winger found himself in a match-long battle with Blackburn’s Adam Henley. On the rare occasions he did beat his man, a telling shot or final ball proved elusive for the Canadian, and he was duly hooked in the 59th minute.
For all of QPR’s possession, it was Blackburn who wasted two excellent opportunities just before the break. Chris Taylor saw a free header sail over the bar, and Tommy Spurr’s long throw found Scott Dann moments later, but the defender’s effort from a tight angle bounced just wide of the post.
While the first-half proved something of a dull affair, the second was anything but. First-half hero Clint Hill almost gifted the visitors a goal when his loose pass was intercepted by Jordan Rhodes in the penalty area. Dunne snuffed out the danger and laid the ball off to Andy Johnson, who ran the length of the pitch and found Matty Phillips unmarked, six yards out. With the home fans already celebrating, Phillips fired his point blank effort straight at Simon Eastwood, who saved terrifically with his face.
The Loftus Road faithful were on their feet again a few minutes later. Following an excellent run, Benoit Assou-Ekotto presented Austin with a glorious chance to put his side ahead. With Eastwood stranded, the striker’s header bounced off the post and Gary O’Neil’s follow-up went harmlessly wide.
After Austin was adjudged to have unfairly bundled his way through Blackburn’s last line of defence, fan frustration reached an afternoon high. With both strikers bearing down on goal, Tom Carroll lumped the ball over the top, and with it went QPR’s hopes of a win.
Blackburn boss Gary Bowyer was elated with his side’s performance, and singled out goalkeeper Eastwood for praise. “We were very good in the first-half, and we should have gone in leading,” Bowyer admitted. “In the second-half we had to show some character, and after the midweek game at Ipswich, we really did display some battling qualities.”
“To keep a clean sheet was excellent, and I thought our goalkeeper produced a world class save. I’m delighted for him on his debut.”
Bob Treasure -The Daily Mail
The match was preceded by a minute’s applause for Nelson Mandela who died on Thursday. With two upfront and two wingers I was certainly expecting us to create a lot more than we did.
The visitors looked more dangerous in the first-half. Jordan Rhodes went very close with a header, and Clint Hill was on hand to head one off the line, but we were certainly a lot better after the break.
Andy Johnson was all over the pitch as usual and I hope that Harry Redknapp at least starts him on Saturday, even in a wide position where he is equally effective and he certainly knows how to cross a ball. That said, I was surprised at the time that both wingers were replaced at the same time.
Over 60% possession again and I thought we were very industrious in central midfield. Charlie Austin hit the post and how did Matt Phillips miss that close-range sitter?
Frustrating, but we do sit in second place and on equal points with Burnley.