Watford 3 QPR 1
By Ben Kosky IT wasn t quite the response Rangers fans were expecting – another disjointed display, another defeat and another three goals conceded. At the moment their team look more style than substance, arguably an exact summary of the malaise that has
By Ben Kosky
IT wasn't quite the response Rangers fans were expecting - another disjointed display, another defeat and another three goals conceded.
At the moment their team look more style than substance, arguably an exact summary of the malaise that has been afflicting QPR for the last two years.
On Monday they succumbed to a club that represents everything they do not - youth policy, prudent use of the loan market, community spirit... oh, and the looming threat of poverty.
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Just as they had against Middlesbrough, Rangers shaded the early stages, with Rowan Vine's effort thudding into the gloves of Scott Loach and Alejandro Faurlin's ball across the six-yard box just begging to be tapped over the line.
For the Hornets, Tom Cleverley put in a couple of useful crosses, but generally it was an uninspiring start that bore all the hallmarks of an end-of-season game.
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It was the on-loan Manchester United midfielder who finally managed something resembling an attempt at goal when Nathan Ellington teed him up in the 20th minute.
Yet it was QPR who broke the deadlock 12 minutes before half-time as Vine and Faurlin combined and the Argentine slipped the ball inside for Patrick Agyemang to steer a low finish past Loach.
The Rs' defending was little better than it had been two days earlier, though, and it meant they were unable to hang on to the lead until half-time.
Jon Harley delivered a cross to the far post and Don Cowie was afforded space to volley it back for defender Lloyd Doyley to head the first goal of his career into the net.
Thirty seconds after the restart, the home side almost edged in front as Doyley's cross found Ellington, but Radek Cerny tipped the striker's header onto the post.
There was no escape for the Rs 10 minutes later, though, as the dangerous Cleverly evaded Faurlin and set up Cowie, who rifled a low finish through Gary Borrowdale's legs and past the unsighted Cerny.
It was only thanks to the keeper that Watford failed to extend their lead as he leapt across to parry Harley's volley and smother the rebound as Danny Graham charged in eagerly.
Cleverly then blazed a good chance over and John Eustace headed down a corner for Adrian Mariappa, but the defender hooked the ball straight into Cerny's hands.
Rangers brought on both Adel Taarabt and Akos Buzsaky in an attempt to rescue the situation but, apart from a drive from the Moroccan that stung Loach's palms, a recovery rarely looked likely.
And, with the visitors camped in Watford's penalty area, the inevitable breakaway third goal arrived in the final minute of added time as Cleverly raced through to beat Cerny and gain the reward he richly deserved.