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  • By Julian Taylor

Frustrated QPR stung by spirited Seasiders



QPR 0-1 Blackpool

QPR suffered a surprise defeat to Blackpool on a night of major frustration for the hosts in west London.


Despite having reasonable periods of possession, the R’s lacked a cutting edge and paid the price, with their former youth player Josh Bowler netting the only goal of the game in the first half with a lovely strike.


While Mick Beale’s men applied some late pressure to the spirited, organised visitors from Lancashire, there was never a genuine conviction or the impression that any particular player could extract something from the kind of game that should have, theoretically, yielded three points.

On this rather staccato evidence, QPR fans can probably anticipate a campaign of inconsistency and unpredictability. On the upside, there is still time for new recruits to settle and debutant Ethan Laird acquitted himself well at right back.

QPR boss Beale sent his side out in optimistic mood, in the wake of the spirited comeback to earn a weekend 2-2 draw at Sunderland, with the leveller coming from, incredibly, goalkeeper Seny Dieng. There was also a start for Laird, on-loan from Manchester United for the season.


And against an opponent whose primary ambition is probably survival in the Championship this term under new boss Michael Appleton, the R’s – perhaps mindful of their first home Championship victory of 2022-23 against Middlesbrough - started with real vigour.

With just three minutes gone, Tyler Roberts fizzed a low, dangerous shot which Blackpool keeper Daniel Grimshaw did well to react to and palm away.


The visitors settled eventually and responded to give QPR an 11th minute scare. Jerry Yates directed an angled six yard effort which clipped the base of the post with the hosts somewhat idle in attending the striker.


The passages of play were about even as the first half progressed. However the west Londoners almost made the breakthrough in 23 minutes, only for Lyndon Dykes’ right foot shot from a great position inside the penalty area to lack power, after good work on the right from Roberts.


Profligacy


From a QPR point of view though, they lacked an intensity and domination that the home fans would have expected; the scoring opportunities were not an especially good reflection of the action. Dykes was guilty of profligacy again, this time a 36th minute shot straight at Grimshaw from an inviting position directly in front of goal.


Blackpool were eager, and looking lively on the counter attack as the end of the half approached. Shayne Lavery probably should have done better, only for the volley by the Northern Ireland international to go straight into the arms of Dieng.

The Seasiders’ warnings went unheeded by QPR though – and it was Bowler who broke the deadlock on the stroke of half time.


With the R’s failing to clear a loose ball, and taking aim from just inside the box, Bowler struck perfectly with his left foot at the second attempt, the ball curling past Dieng. QPR were clearly punished for their lack of confidence at the other end throughout the opening 45 minutes.


There was no sign of the Seasiders opting to protect their lead in the early stages of the second half. Appleton’s outfit were both composed and robust in possession, with QPR in dire need of an injection of creativity in an attempt to level the contest.


Roberts did test Grimshaw with a low drive, after making room for himself on the edge of the Blackpool penalty area. Yet the lack of confidence across such opportunities must have been a source of frustration for Beale.

Still, encouraged by the vast majority of the 12,575 crowd inside Loftus Road, QPR remained patient and persisted, even they lacked in various departments. Unfortunately for the R’s, this was one of the quieter evenings for playmaker Ilias Chair, with Roberts lashing out again in the 58th minute - this time, though, his effort went well wide.

Armstrong alert


Dieng, meanwhile, reacted well to deny a fierce volley from Bowler in 66 minutes. Beale opted to replace the jaded Stefan Johansen with Sinclair Armstrong, who is regarded as the heir-apparent to Les Ferdinand in W12. Of course that is quite the tag to live up to, but could the alert winger’s pace trouble the Tangerines?


Too often, however, the final ball from QPR was poor; a trend that must be addressed as the season progresses. Chair could only fire straight at a grateful Grimshaw with Blackpool resolute.

Beale rang a few changes as expected in the chase for an equaliser which was never forthcoming as Blackpool kept their shape and numbers at the rear. An Armstrong header over the bar from point blank range late on summed up the maddening frustration for the hosts.


How the R’s will rue a string of chances missed with the Tangerines clearly delighted with their work in the capital.


R’s: Dieng, Dunne, Dickie, Johansen (Armstrong 67), Dykes, Chair, Roberts (Shodipo 79), Field, Dozzell, Paal (Adomah 86), Laird

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