QPR 2 Barnsley 1
PUBLISHED: 16:45 11 August 2008 | UPDATED: 13:20 24 August 2010
By Ben Kosky IT S certainly a new era for QPR when a centre-back scores twice in two minutes and just about every refereeing decision goes in their favour. While Rangers looked the classier side in Saturday s curtain-raiser, their victory was less than co
By Ben Kosky
IT'S certainly a new era for QPR when a centre-back scores twice in two minutes and just about every refereeing decision goes in their favour.
While Rangers looked the classier side in Saturday's curtain-raiser, their victory was less than convincing after a slapdash start and a second half when they rarely looked like extending their advantage.
"We were just too gung ho, chasing things that weren't there to be chased, and we were probably a bit affected by the hype," admitted manager Iain Dowie.
"But we got a win out of a difficult situation and that says something about the character - we had the courage to come back from a goal down and kept going, our fitness was very good at the end. We got the job done without being great."
A completely fair assessment from the new QPR boss - and the club really made a rod for their own backs by drafting in dancing girls and fireworks for the kick-off.
Frankly, Rangers were just asking to be taken down a peg - and, after Jon Macken had stabbed a good opportunity straight at Radek Cerny, summer signing Iain Hume went one better, slotting in Brian Howard's pass to give Barnsley a fifth-minute lead.
With the Rs defence and their goalkeeper looking uncomfortable, particularly defending set-pieces, it was no surprise that Barnsley's confidence swelled and Cerny did well to keep out Martin Devaney's effort at the near post.
Only debutant Emmanuel Ledesma displayed much invention for Rangers and it was his 29th-minute free-kick that brought about the equaliser.
Referee Neil Swarbrick penalised Stephen Foster for what looked an innocuous challenge on Dexter Blackstock and Ledesma's free-kick was parried by Luke Steele, but Fitz Hall stabbed the rebound against the bar and bundled the third effort home.
Incredibly, QPR were ahead less than two minutes later as the Tykes half-cleared a cross from the left and Hall swung a sweet volley past the diving Steele.
Patrick Agyemang went close either side of half-time, but Hall was handed the opportunity to complete an unlikely hat-trick in the 58th minute when Swarbrick awarded a generous penalty for Darren Moore's challenge on Blackstock.
But Steele leapt to his right to save - and kept his side in the game again soon afterwards as he pushed another stinging free-kick from Ledesma around the post.
"He [Hall] hit five brilliant penalties the day before against Lee Camp, so that's not bad," observed Dowie. "I think it was a good save, actually - I don't see it as a bad miss."
Blackstock then sent Mikele Leigertwood through, but he scuffed the chance wide and it was Barnsley who were beginning to apply the pressure as Rangers reverted to 4-5-1 and tried to close out the game.
They made heavy weather of it, though - even when Barnsley left-back Marciano van Homoet was given his marching orders for clattering substitute Daniel Parejo seven minutes from time.
It was one of the few key decisions Swarbrick got right, but why should Rangers fans care? If Loftus Road is a place where the home side get the benefit of the doubt... that is real evidence of change.
QPR: Cerny; Ramage, Hall, Gorkss, Delaney; LEDESMA* (Alberti 84), Mahon, Leigertwood, Cook; Agyemang (Parejo 72), Blackstock. Subs not used: Camp, Connolly, Balanta.