|Ipswich Town 0 v 2 Queens Park Rangers|
Saturday, 20th October 2018 Kick-off 15:00
Ipswich Town 0-2 Queens Park Rangers - Match Report
Saturday, 20th Oct 2018 17:08
First-half goals from Luke Freeman, direct from a corner, and Hemed, from the penalty spot, gave QPR a comfortable 2-0 victory over dismal Town at Portman Road, where the Blues remain without a win in more than six months. Freeman curled his flag-kick over keeper Dean Gerken on 13 and Hemed netted from the spot in first-half injury time.
Town boss Paul Hurst named the same XI which started the 3-2 win, the Blues' first of the season, at Swansea a fortnight ago.
That saw Matthew Pennington again at right-back and Janoi Donacien on the left with Jonas Knudsen on the bench, which was also unchanged from the trip to the Liberty Stadium.
Skipper Luke Chambers was over the illness which a number of players had suffered from during the last week and took his usual role at the centre of the defence, while Grant Ward, who we understand was the mystery pre-match injury doubt, was also in the XI.
QPR, wearing a lurid pink away kit, made two changes from the team which drew 1-1 at home with Derby prior to the international break with Hemed and Pawel Wszolek replacing one-time Town trialist Nahki Wells and Jordan Cousins, who dropped to the bench.
The visitors, kicking towards the Sir Alf Ramsey Stand, had the best of the opening few minutes but without creating a chance, although former Blues loanee Massimo Luongo blazed well wide following a corner on eight.
Three minutes later, Rangers went closer when Hemed headed over from another flag-kick.
The West Londoners threatened again on 13 when Wszolek got on to Chambers’s header back towards Gerken as they chased a ball down the right but the keeper saved the Polish international’s shot from a tight angle.
However, directly from the corner the visitors took the lead. Freeman curled the ball in under the bar and Gerken was unable to get enough on it to turn it over.
Town found themselves behind before they had got going via another very preventable goal.
The visitors continued to have most of the ball and make all the running with the Blues unable to string anything together until the half-hour mark when a long spell of passing, largely orchestrated by Andre Dozzell, ended with Gwion Edwards whipping over a cross which was beyond any of his team-mates.
Moments later at the other end, a loose Nsiala pass gave the ball to Wszolek, who broke into the area before his shot was blocked.
Town were showing signs of finally making some headway, however, and they might have levelled on 35. Chalobah broke forward into the right of the box and cut back to an unmarked Ward, who mistimed his shot and the ball looped well wide.
But moments before the break the Blues found themselves 2-0 behind. After they had failed to clear another of Freeman’s corners from the right, the ball fell to Eberechi Eze, who tried to work himself space in the box before Nsiala slid in and upended him.
There was little doubt that it was a penalty and Hemed found the net from the spot with a low shot to Gerken’s left.
The whistle went within seconds to loud boos from the Portman Road crowd after a disastrous half from the Blues.
QPR started the stronger before being gifted their goal by they type of error which has been all to common from Town’s keepers and defence all season.
The Blues had started to get into the game and might have equalised through Ward - their only chance of the half - before QPR were handed their penalty and increased lead via Nsiala’s rash challenge.
QPR almost increased their lead within seconds of the restart. Eke’s boot appeared to be high as he took the ball off Chambers’s head just outside the box but referee Geoff Eltringham failed to whistle. Fortunately for Town Gerken had come off his line quickly and saved from the England U20 international.
QPR skipper Toni Leistner was shown the game’s first yellow card in the 53rd minute for a foul on Sears midway inside the visitors’ half. The freekick was in a potentially dangerous position but Ward’s ball into the box was easy for the QPR defence to deal with.
Four minutes later Wszolek shot from distance straight at Gerken, then on 59 Pennington made a strong run forward from deep and played a ball for Sears but the striker had strayed offside.
QPR keeper Joe Lumley was forced into his first save of the afternoon in the 61st minute to sarcastic cheers from some sections of the Sir Bobby Robson Stand.
Sears broke away on the left and sent a cross behind Edwards at the far post. Chalobah picked the ball up and sent it back in to Ward, whose header was too close to the QPR keeper to seriously trouble him.
Blues boss Hurst made a double change in the 66th minute with Ward and Edwards making way for Kayden Jackson and 18-year-old debutant Jack Lankester, the first player born in the 2000s to appear for the Town first team.
Match Gallery: 6 photos
The subs got involved immediately, Jackson breaking away on the left of the box and sending the ball across towards Lankester on the edge of the six-yard box, however a defender cleared ahead of the youngster.
Three minutes later, Gerken saved from Hemed, then on 71 the visitors had another chance to wrap it up when the Blues made a dreadful mess of a freekick in a promising position and Eze was sent away on goal by QPR with Skuse just sliding in to dispossess the youngster as he prepared to shoot.
Former Wycombe Wanderers loanee Eze went closer to his side’s third goal of the game two minutes later, deftly chipping over Gerken from the edge of the box but seeing the ball bounce off the top of the bar and over.
Yet another loose Town pass, this time from Nsiala, gifted the ball to Eze inside the Blues half on 79 but the impressive youngster’s cross was cut out after he had broken into the area.
A third QPR goal was looking far more likely than a Town first but on 84 Sears sent in a low cross from the right which a visiting defender stabbed away from Jackson.
On 89 Lumley was forced to rush of his line to intercept Dozzell’s pass for Jackson to chase, then ran out of his area to complete the clearance before Josh Scowen replaced man of the match Eze.
The final whistle triggered more boos from the Portman Road faithful after probably the Blues’ worst performance of the season.
QPR were the better side from start to finish with Town on the back foot throughout aside from a couple of brief spells in the first half, all too often surrendering possession needlessly and often in dangerous areas.
They continued their season-long habit of gifting goals and in the end the two-goal margin flattered the home side with the visitors spurning a number of chances and Gerken making a couple of important saves.
At the other end, Ward’s first-half opportunity was the only real chance, set pieces in potentially threatening areas were wasted time and again and the result never looked in any doubt once Hemed had stroked home his penalty.
The defeat, the second at home this season, sees the Blues drop to bottom of the table level on points, goal difference and goals scored with Hull City, who climb above them having won the fixture between the sides last month.
Town next have back-to-back away games at Leeds, who are fourth, on Wednesday and at 22nd-placed Millwall next Saturday.
Town: Gerken, Pennington, Nsiala, Chambers (c), Donacien, Skuse, Chalobah, Edwards (Lankester 66), Dozzell, Ward (Jackson 66), Sears. Unused: Bialkowski, Knudsen, Nolan, Graham, Downes.
QPR: Lumley, Rangel, Leistner (c), Lynch, Bidwell, Cameron, Luongo, Freeman, Eze (Scowen 90), Wszolek, Hemed (Wells 72). Unused: Ingram, Hall, Cousins, Smith, Osayi-Samuel. Referee: Geoff Eltringham (County Durham). Att 18,345 (QPR: 1,338).
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