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Queens Park Rangers 2 v 1 Ipswich Town
SkyBet Championship
Saturday, 9th September 2017 Kick-off 15:00
QPR 2-1 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Saturday, 9th Sep 2017 17:28

Sub Bersant Celina celebrated his 21st birthday with a brilliant late goal but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Blues from falling to a 2-1 defeat at QPR. Jamie Mackie and Luke Freeman struck either side of the break to give Rangers a two-goal advantage before Celina smashed home his stunning strike to set up a nervy end for the home team, who held on to claim the three points and inflict Town's first away defeat in this year's Championship.

New loanee Callum Connolly was handed his Blues debut at right-back with Jordan Spence the right centre-half, Dominic Iorfa to his left and Jonas Knudsen returning to left-back.

Town, in their red and black away kit, started with a four-man midfield with Martyn Waghorn on the left, Grant Ward on the right and Cole Skuse and Flynn Downes in the middle with Joe Garner partnering David McGoldrick up front.

Celina was on the bench alongside Freddie Sears and Myles Kenlock - who both dropped out of the team having started the 2-0 home defeat to Fulham a fortnight ago - while Tom Adeyemi was included in the 18 for the first time since his summer move to the Blues.

QPR made three changes with Jack Robinson, Alex Baptiste and Pawel Wszolek replacing Steven Caulker, Darnell Furlong and Matt Smith.

The home side struck the game’s first shot, one-time Town target Conor Washington hitting a low effort through to Bartosz Bialkowski from 25 yards which the keeper claimed comfortably.

QPR went closer in the seventh minute when Massimo Luongo crossed from the right and Washington flicked a header wide at the far post when stretching.

The Blues threatened for the first time soon afterwards, McGoldrick crossing from the right after showing his skills but the ball was headed behind before it reached Garner.

Bialkowski was called into serious action for the first time on 12 when a cross from Wszolek following a corner somehow avoided everyone in the box but was returned from the byline by Luke Freeman, the Blues keeper doing well to punch it out of the danger area.

Town switched to the 4-3-3 system which had looked more likely given the personnel as the game approached the quarter of an hour mark with Waghorn moving to wide on the right.

The Blues had the ball in the net in the 25th minute after Garner had been fed in after good work from Waghorn and McGoldrick but the Blues number 14 had strayed offside.

Just before the half hour, Knudsen crossed from the left. Waghorn sent it back in from the right after Garner claimed to have been fouled - referee Andy Davies wasn’t interested - but McGoldrick was unable to trouble Alex Smithies with his header.

There was a scare for the Blues at the other end almost immediately when a Downes slip allowed Freeman a shot at goal from the edge of the box but Bialkowski batted it away.

Moments later, Iorfa slid in to make a superb challenge as Washington looked to break into the area. On 34 Downes was booked for a foul onMackie.

The home side were continuing to have most of the ball and look the more dangerous side and in the 37th minute Josh Scowen struck a powerful effort from a tight angle on the right which Bialkowski palmed over.

In the 42nd minute Downes sent McGoldrick away with a superb pass but despite several twists and turns the Irish international was unable to find himself the space to shoot. Soon after, Waghorn hit a low effort from distance which Smithies claimed.

However, a minute later, QPR took the lead. After what had looked like a clear handball early in the move by Luongo, Mackie turned Wszolek’s right-wing cross past Bialkowski.

While the Rangers players celebrated stand-in skipper Skuse and Garner remonstrated with referee Davies regarding the handball.

Neither side threatened again before the break with Rangers having deserved to go in ahead, despite the contentious nature of the goal.

The home side had had most of the ball and created most of the game’s chances with Bialkowski much the busier of the keepers.

But, while Smithies hadn’t been seriously tested, Town had got themselves in decent positions on the break on one or two occasions but without making the most of those rare opportunities.

However, they needed a significant improvement after the break if they were to maintain their 100 per cent Championship away record.

McGoldrick curled an effort well over from distance soon after the restart, but in the 48th minute the home side doubled their lead.

Freeman broke towards the edge of the box and wasn’t closed down by Town defenders and was able to toe-poke a shot past Bialkowski to his right.

McGoldrick hit a low shot which failed to trouble Smithies in the 55th minute after being played in by Waghorn, then at the other end Washington hit a low shot which Bialkowski claimed similarly comfortably.

Just after the hour, one-time Blues loanee Luongo unleashed a powerful strike from distance which Bialkowski saved well to his right.

On 64 Washington took down a long ball following a Town attack and hit a shot which Bialkowski again saved well to his right.

The Blues created their best opportunity of the half moments later when Connolly crossed from the right and Knudsen headed wide beyond the far post, the ball have been just too high for Garner.

While Smithies prepared to take the goal-kick and with rain by now falling heavily, Town switched Waghorn and Downes for Sears and debutant Adeyemi.

The Blues just about survived a goalmouth scramble following a corner in the 69th minute before Knudsen required treatment for a head injury after receiving a kick to the head as he nodded clear a subsequent flag-kick.

Match Gallery: 3 photos

On 76 Celina took over from Ward with the Blues getting into good positions on occasion but with the final ball all too often behind or short of their target.

Referee Davies was also frustrating the Town players, pulling play back when Garner was in a decent position, then failing to penalise a home defender for a foul on McGoldrick. A minute later, QPR swapped Wszolek for debutant former Exeter winger David Wheeler.

As the final scheduled 10 minutes approached the home side were looking more likely to add to their lead than the Blues were to reduce it. Sub Wheeler went close to a debut goal with a low effort which he screwed past the post following a corner.

On 82 QPR replaced Mackie, who had suffered a knock, and Washington for Kazenga LuaLua and Matt Smith, who almost scored seconds after coming on.

Iorfa beat him to a cross from the left but the ball bounced on top of the grounded on-loan Wolves man before Bialkowski could claim it and the former Fulham man hit a shot which caught a Town player and then the bar on its way into the stand.

Luongo curled a strike not too far wide in the 84th minute, then a minute later Celina gave the Blues late hope with a brilliant first league goal for the Blues.

The Kosovan international received the ball from Knudsen on the left following a throw-in then brought the ball in across several defenders before smashing a brilliant strike past Smithies.

The goal set up a frantic final few minutes. After Freeman was booked for pulling back Sears, Celina returned the cleared resultant freekick to the far post to Connolly, whose goal-bound shot was blocked.

As the game moved into five minutes of injury time, the Blues had an even better chance, Iorfa nodded a Celina freekick to Adeyemi, who took it down with his thigh but hit his shot over.

Debutant Connolly was booked for a foul on LuaLua in the final moments before referee Davies brought the game to a close.

On the balance of the game the home side deserved the three points with the Blues showing little sign of getting back into the match before Celina’s brilliant strike, which if anything was even better than Tom Lawrence’s during the Blues’ last visit to Loftus Road, which ended in the same result.

Town were poor on the ball aside from brief spells and the makeshift defence was somewhat chaotic at times, while the midfield still seemed to be too centred on shoehorning another striker into the side, despite Sears dropping to the bench.

The defeat - Town's first away from home in the Championship this season - sees the Blues drop to fourth in the table.

QPR: Smithies, Bidwell, Onuoha (c), Freeman, Washington (Smith 82), Scowen, Mackie (LuaLua 82), Robinson, Baptiste, Luongo, Wszolek (Wheeler 77). Unused: Lumley, Furlong, Manning, Osayi-Samuel, Wheeler.

Town: Bialkowski, Connolly, Iorfa, Spence, Knudsen, Skuse (c), Downes (Adeyemi 68), Ward (Celina 76), Waghorn (Sears 68), McGoldrick, Garner. Unused: Gerken, Rowe, Kenlock, Woolfenden. Referee: Andy Davies (Hampshire). Att: 14,060 (Town: 2,384).


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BlueMachines added 17:28 - Sep 9

I didn't see the game so I speak generally. But injuries aside we are still playing players out of position. Muck has signed loads of wide men yet we play one player wide who's best position is centre midfield and other who's best position is up front. Why we still do this is beyond me. Muck was singing the praises of Celina in the week but waits 70mins before giving him a chance. Why? We needed a goal. When he came on he provided one. We will undoubtedly improve when Adeyemi and Huws can start but will we then actually play wide men wide? Or will Sears and Ward be picked ahead of actual wide players?

Muck talked up the kid in the week but still makes him the last option. People say he is a straight talker but for me he is full of bull. Says one thing and does another

JackSted added 17:29 - Sep 9
If Mick played Celina from the beginning of the game we might not have lost this. This defeat is Mick's fault due to poor in-game choices.

JimmyP45 added 17:29 - Sep 9
Worst player in the squad = Cole Skuse
Most gifted / talented player in the squad = Bersant Celina

Sort it out Mick!

Spanishblueblood added 17:29 - Sep 9
I blame Mick 100% for that defeat, he still has his favourites and plays them even if he has to play them out of position!
Celina should have started!
Why play a striker out wide when you have a natural winger on the bench?
Why take off your best player?
Why leave it until the last 15 to make changes when you are 2 down?
P!ss poor management imo!

prebsa added 17:33 - Sep 9
Not the start we wanted after the international break but was always worried after not signing a CB before the end of the window.

Had the same issues as we did against Fulham not putting enough pressure on the ball and letting QPR pass the ball and maintain the pace of the game.

Still would much rather see kenlock as first choice but not sure that's ever going to happen. We need to be more ruthless in midfield and start getting stuck in and move the ball about more.

Yes we have injurys but you can't always blame it on that we didn't pick the right team or play the right tactics just like against Fulham something mick admitted so that's what we need to sort now!

Hopefully next week we can change it up get Celina in the team as well he has got so much talent yet he still can't get a start and he even still comes on after sears which I don't think should be happening. Pick the right team next week and get stuck in and try and control the game rather than sit back and maybe get we will get a better result.

StirlingArcher added 17:33 - Sep 9
Good to see the moaners out in force....

(waits for the down arrows.)

From listening to the game, we were unlucky, a mistake cost us. But we're not hoofing it and this game (unlike Fulham) we were in contention.

But it does give the moaners the chance to come out of the woodwork following the brilliant start we've had

RegencyBlue added 17:34 - Sep 9
The only way to see what Celina can do over 90 minutes is to start him. Bolton looks like the ideal opportunity to do just that. Over to you MM!

TimmyH added 17:36 - Sep 9
Disappointing but not unexpected result, sounded like QPR deserved the win and generally only came under threat in the closing minutes thanks in part to the skillful Celina who Mick chooses only to be a bit part player and chooses still to continue with the very average Skuse (holder midfielder still required).

Worrying thing is MM hasn't won a September game since 2013! and it's becoming more to light now that we were fortuitous with those 4 wins on the bounce, statistics against us once more after today's game.

jas0999 added 17:37 - Sep 9
After the deserved opening day win, we were somewhat fortunate against Millwall and Barnsley and rode our luck against Brentford. Mick admitted it.

Fulham and QPR - better teams - thoroughly deserved to beat us and made us look average/poor. That unfortunately is what we are. Luckily we have a couple of winnable games this month, but it then gets tougher.

I can't really see where we have improved on last season. Strikers are better, but we still look ineffective in the middle and shaky at the back. Mick continues to pick his favourites and less creative players.

The failure to sign CB cover remains a disappointment. As do the previous two league defeats. Fortunate start to season all but forgotten. With this squad it could be a long winter. Lucky it's Bolton at home next.

therein61 added 17:39 - Sep 9
While Mick continues to pick our premiership class number 8 who offers nothing on the field(other players hard graft cover his inept performances week in week out) he's supposed to be a footballer(on a fat contract!!) for gods sake get him out!!!!!

yungblue added 17:43 - Sep 9
MM will not change, now or ever. He has a certain style of play. He has certain players and that will never change. The football under MM is and always will be shocking. He constantly slates the fans, it's plain obvious he dislikes the fans after last season.
He is not the right man for the job to take us forward.

runningout added 17:46 - Sep 9
think I might try and enjoy our time in this league for some years to come. Doubt we'll be leaving it from the top just yet with our naivety. Will not slip up on my support for the mighty blues

BlueMachines added 17:48 - Sep 9
StirlingArcher I think it was the fixture list combined with a bit of luck that allowed all the Mick Inners to pipe up. Normal service is being resumed. It doesn't make us happy to moan, certainly not me anyway, but I simply say what I see. If it was more positive then my posts would reflect that.

hucks216 added 17:49 - Sep 9
For the first 25-35 minutes I thought QPR were there for the taking even though we didn't create vet much. But the problems from last season shone through in the end namely poor defensive lapses, no creativity from midfield and lack of movement ending in balls over the top again. There's no point playing a striker as a winger, just because we have 4 strikers doesn't mean they should all play at once. Pick 2 and play proper wingers.
Awful performance and at this rate we'll be back in the bottom third by Christmas.

Bert added 17:50 - Sep 9
I see all the Lemmings are back. Just repeat what others say and find someone to blame. With a defence that lacks experienced centre backs MM has to play safe and play Celina when the game demands it.

warktheline added 17:55 - Sep 9
Reality check indeed!

Stats highlighted our rather fortunate start to season, and results since have parred out. We live in hope McCarthy will utilises our goal scoring potential with a reinforced midfield ( sooner rather than later ) which hopefully in turn will prevent him reverting back to type!

There's a lot of hoping going on!!!!

muccletonjoe added 17:56 - Sep 9
Waghorn and garner were our weakest players today. I hope we are not going to wait untill october to drop them. Lets give didz and celina a go against bolton.

Lightningboy added 17:56 - Sep 9
Think the luck of the first few games has certainly run dry and McCarthy's stone age "tactics" are now beginning to get found out yet again.

Very big game at home to Bolton next weekend now - that's going to tell us a lot about where we actually are.

TimmyH added 17:57 - Sep 9
At SterlingArcher - there's a difference between moaning and being realistic, the 'brilliant start' we had came through opportunistic goal scoring through Garner and Waghorn (who have started well) but if you look at performances and statistics tell another story. FACT.

Chondzoresk added 18:01 - Sep 9
I am a moaner. But McCarthy made it that way not me. Normal service resumes. No different from last season. The writing was on the wall even after winning our way through August. It was luck and playing teams who are poorer than we are. Now after Fulham and Rangers reality bites hard. We are no better, yes, we have better up front. But the patched up defence Is pretty weak. I concur with Jas0999. MM had time to get the defence sorted by way of signings, but Connolly is not the answer.
My apologies for being a moaner, but I care about ITFC and at the moment would rather have Basil Fawlty as our manager.

Swn98 added 18:03 - Sep 9
Positives at least we competed which we didn't against Fulham, could of nicked a draw if the ref had played advantage when Didz was through on goal Celina must start in front of Ward.

StirlingArcher added 18:03 - Sep 9

1) putting "FACT" at the end of a post, doesn't make it true. (unless you're Donald Trump)
2) nope - you're moaning
3) the brilliant start was there.. 4 wins in 4 league games. FACT*

*wonder if you can spot the sarcasm here

BlueandTruesince82 added 18:08 - Sep 9
Celina has to start next game. Really hope we get some players back soon

geminimustang added 18:10 - Sep 9
I was surprised Celina didn't start but when i thought about it,still before kick off,i guessed that MM would bring him on as the opposition were tiring and he would make the difference.MM nearly got it right.Connolly showed some skill in both defence and attack.Can't say i enjoy seeing the negativity and slagging off of MM already with people forgetting a loan deal fell thro' on the last day of the window due to circumstances beyond the control of ITFC.

Tractastic added 18:11 - Sep 9
We lost the game in midfield and Skuse was awful and possibly the worst player on the pitch. Not only that but he was our Captain yet showed no leadership.! Same old Mick favourites. How Sears came on ahead of Celina is also bewildering. Good points were Conolly did well on his debut but overall very disappointing.

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