Queens Park Rangers 0 - West Bromwich Albion 1
Cracking result that. A long way to go yet but proof that, even playing without a striker, in a decent system with good preparation and a plan there is enough in this squad to win matches. Too bad it’s happened too late.
The 4-2-3-1 remained but in came Pieters, Mulumby and Grady with Phillips up top. Harsh on BTA I thought but defensively presumably to stop Dykes at the back post. Mulumby for TGH in away games just about making sense although we do and did miss his decision-making and forward playing instincts.
The system and defend-first approach has made us more solid but in the last 2 games the main contributor to not conceding early goals has been to get on the ball and play in their half, and Grady should’ve scored after about 4 minutes when a good Mulumby drive was palmed into his path at an awkward height 3 yards. I suspect if it’d happened 10 mins later after a few touches he’d have put it away.
I thought we we good for 20 mins but didn’t create much and then QPR got back into it and with Pieters getting booked and us not looking after the ball well enough we struggled. I have to say I thought Sam Field was excellent from this point; reading the game, sweeping up, nicking the ball and generally pushing momentum their way. We stood firm and kept them mostly in front of us, and after 15 mins of pressure we cancelled each other out over the half.
There was a good shout for fresh legs at half time but they didn’t come and the opening 15 of the second half were a struggle as QPR really came for us, but there were glimmers of them being vulnerable to the counter and Wallace might’ve done better on a good break but hit the side netting.
With 30 to go BTA came on for Diagana and went up top with Phillips going left. Phillips looked after the ball better from there on and BTA got us up the pitch and out through his desire and running, linking well at times with Wallace.
With us able to get out more and having ridden the storm we won a free kick from which Swift put in a great cross and Bartley powered a header home.
From then on it was sensible game management with no chances taken, good shape and some real resilience shown as we headed and hacked everything clear -,wasting time and using subs as we went. I can’t recall a big QPR chance.
Overall it was a win we just shaded. Credit to the coaches and players. A good sign that Corberan ditched the 3-4-3 quickly after 1 game, went back to largely the players and system that saw us dominating but drawing too many and has already worked on the marginal gains that Bruce clearly wasn’t doing enough on - 2 winners from set plays in 2 games, Palmer in goal. Whatever happens with Dike, another target man is a must in the window when it comes. We didn’t miss Grant at all.
The rest of the subs all did their job to get us over the line.
New York Baggie:
Brendan, I look forward to your reviews with the same excitement I used to have, waiting for the Argos.
Much appreciated and enjoyed
I repeat the thanks to Brendan for his reports.
Just one point re QPR - was Sam Field playing, or a dream?? It was hoped he was Bobby Moore in the making, I recall...
[ No, Jim, you weren't dreaming, it was Sam. Much to many people's disappointment, he left us on loan for QPR in February 2021 and joined permanently in that summer.
All text, pictures and graphics are copyright of BOING unless otherwise stated