Queens Park Rangers continued their 100% league record to climb top of the Championship after beating relegation candidates Scunthorpe 2-0, as goals from Bradley Orr and Heider Helguson secured the win.
Rangers demonstrated two key facets of their game today in what was a convincing victory. The first half was all about the attack – stand in skipper Adel Taarabt put on a real captain`s performance as he was at the centre of everything and if it wasn`t for Scunthorpe keeper Joe Murphy, the R`s could`ve won the match 3 or 4 nil.
It is becoming a common trend now where the game seems to gravitate around the Rangers Number 7 as he continues to dominate the opposition with his direct approach and devastating skill.
The playmaker was on fine form creating both goals and was unlucky not to be awarded a penalty after being brought down after a trademark run into the box; instead he was booked for simulation.
The second half highlighted just how resilient QPR have become under Neil Warnock. Summer signing Shaun Derry was sensational. His inclusion to the side along with fellow new arrivals Clint Hill and Bradley Orr has brought some much needed steel and experience and today it was evident how much these boys have improved this current QPR team.
QPR lined up with a 4-2-3-1 formation with Paddy Kenny in goal. Bradley Orr, Kaspars Gorkss, Matthew Connolly and Clint Hill in defence. Shaun Derry and Alejandro Faurlin occupied the central midfield positions with Adel Taarabt in the free role behind the central striker. Hogan Ephraim, Heider Helguson and Jamie Mackie kept their places up front in a 3 pronged attack.
The first five minutes was of a usual Championship standard with both sides trying to impose themselves on and off the ball. Taarabt seemed to be everywhere and his first real involvement was when he played in Bradley Orr on the right and side with a beautifully curved pass. Orr managed to hook it back into the box but the Iron keeper gathered without any real difficulty.
The R`s first shot on target came courtesy of Adel Taarabt. Our man Adel placed the ball down 25 yards out and struck with aplomb unfortunately Murphy made a smart stop and the ball went out for a corner.
The midfield was working well as a unit, Shaun Derry was imperious breaking up the play and laying it off to Alejandro Faurlin who kept the R`s ticking over all game.
Goal 17 min:
Rangers continued to press without much reply from Scunthorpe. QPR eventually took the lead on the 17th minute courtesy of Bradley Orr – his first goal in blue and white colours. The goal came after some great work from Heider Helguson who chased down a lost cause and forced a corner by playing it off the covering Scunthorpe defender. Adel Taarabt whipped in a vicious in-swinging cross which found the head of Bradley Orr who guided the ball into the bottom right hand corner of the net.
Subsequently Loftus Road erupted and the team responded with some fine passing moves and excellent ball retention. QPR should`ve doubled their lead when Orr crossed for Helguson who did well to find space in front of the defender but headed straight at the goalkeeper.
Around the half hour mark stand-in skipper Taarabt continued to run the show teasing the Scunthorpe defence with some incredible skill which resulted in a corner. The lad looked really up for it today and seemed to relish the extra responsibility.
Scunthorpe created their only real chance of the half when Rangers lost possession in midfield and Jonathan Forte ran in on goal and was one on one with Paddy Kenny, luckily for the R`s Forte lacked composure and hit his shot over the bar.
Goal 41 min:
Rangers doubled their lead when you guessed it Taarabt collected the ball around the half way line and picked out the run of Helguson with a magnificent 30 yard cross field pass. Helguson showed terrific composure to cushion the ball with his chest and then to lob it over the onrushing Scunthorpe keeper. It was a moment of real Premiership quality.
The second half started much like the first with both teams trying to impose themselves however Scunthorpe nearly pulled one back after a 25 yard free kick from Martyn Woolford was saved by the steady Paddy Kenny.
QPR had several opportunities to extend their advantage had Helguson converted the chances created by Hogan Ephraim. It must be said that although Helguson will miss several chances his overall work rate was superb – he won most headers and held the ball up well.
Scunthorpe nearly pulled one back when Kaspars Gorkss missed interception paved the way for Jonathan Forte to race in on goal. Once again Forte didn`t look confident and Kenny made a good stop low down to his right and then collected the loose ball. Had that been Gary Hooper or Paul Hayes Scunthorpe may well have scored today.
The second half was epitomised by the defensive maturity conveyed by the R`s. Scunthorpe only had one key opportunity each half and overall they were largely impotent going forward. Credit must be awarded to Shaun Derry who won the ball so often I lost count how many times I said “good tackle” or “well done Derry” the man was the defensive heartbeat of the team.
Alejandro Faurlin almost scored what would`ve been one of the greatest strikes ever to be seen at Loftus Road. The Argentinean midfielder won the ball, flicked it over the Scunthorpe midfielder and then carried on moving whilst doing keep ups, only to unleash a beautiful left-footed volley which narrowly went over.
After such a maverick performance in the first half Taarabt tired in the second and was replaced by the fit again Akos Buzsaky. Taarabt left the field to rapturous reception and standing ovation from all corners of the ground.
Buzsaky looked sharp and introduced himself to Josh Wright with a crunching tackle which was greeted by a warm round of applause. The Hungarian nearly opened his account for the season with a curling effort from just inside the left hand side of the penalty box. Once again Joe Murphy was on hand to save – a recurring theme of the afternoon.
7/10 – Looked much more confident and made two good saves.
7/10 – Showed some nice touches and has some excellent crossing ability in his locker.
6/10 – Tidy in possession and strong in a challenge, didn`t have an awful lot to do though.
8/10 – One of his best performances, he read the game very well and won so much in the air and on the deck.
6/10 – Very good aerially but made a few errors that could`ve proved costly had the finishing been sharper
9/10 – His best performance yet, was superb *star player*
7/10 – Efficient performance and kept the game ticking over with some good passing.
9/10 – First half he was unplayable, two assists and unlucky not to have been awarded a penalty. Second half he faded after he ran himself into the ground but he is showing a real maturity in his recent performances.
6/10 – Quiet game in comparison to the last two but works really hard all day long and provides great protection for Bradley Orr
7/10 – Has improved ten-fold under Warnock. He takes players on and created two good chances for Helguson
7/10 – Scored a great goal which was a top finish, yet missed two relatively easy chances. He suits the formation as he wins a lot on the air and brings others into play.
6/10 – Looked sharp although he wasn`t on for long, nearly scored a goal towards the end.
6/10 – Again didn`t have long to impose himself but went on one mazy run which almost resulted in a goal
5/10 – The promising youngster may benefit from a loan spell as it is unlikely he will get much game time this season especially if we sign some extra strikers.