By Simon Cheshire
Following the late show of Jake Livermore for West Bromwich Albion, which condemned Rangers to another defeat, last Tuesday’s clash with Leeds United left Rangers fearing a record nine straight league defeats.
But thanks to Luke Freeman’s back heel the Rs walked away with an unexpected first win of the calendar year, and more importantly a valuable three points, allowing Steve McClaren’s men to travel to Griffin Park for the derby against Brentford in a more confident mood.
Going into the game, Rangers hadn’t won in TW8 since the afternoon in 2003 when the blue hooped Marc Bircham volleyed in a spectacular 90th minute winner.
Despite a poor first half from both sides, with neither able to create any clear-cut opportunities, it was the home side who took the lead. Ollie Watkins got goal side of Grant Hall, before Hall was adjudged to have brought him down in the box. In form Neil Maupay converted his spot kick for his 23rd goal of the season, giving the Bees the lead.
Minutes later striker Mapuay got the better of a sluggish Rangers defence before teeing up Saïd Benrahama to tap home from close range. Brentford looked more threatening throughout, with many opportunities going a miss for the home side. Substitute Bright Osayi-Samuel had the Rs first opportunity on goal in the 90th minute, explaining what a poor afternoon the attackers had in front of goal.
Sergi Canos’ late deflected effort summed up what was a miserable performance from the boys from W12, and the search for a win at Griffin Park continues for another year.
McClaren, after the game, explained how disappointed he was in his side's ability to get the ball down and play the football he knows they can. Which sums up a miserable afternoon in Brentford: in a fixture which is becoming a huge sticking point in any QPR manager's season.
The Rs are back in action at Loftus Road on Saturday 9 March, against a resurgent Stoke City, in what may be another tough afternoon for McClaren’s men.
The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and unless specifically stated are not necessarily those of Hammersmith & Fulham Council.
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