Match report: QPR 2 Ipswich Town 1 – Two poor goals costly as Town’s frustrating inconsistent campaign continues

Tom Lawrence celebrates his equaliser at Loftus Road for Ipswich

Tom Lawrence celebrates his equaliser at Loftus Road for Ipswich

Tom Lawrence’s breathtaking strike and plenty of other positives ended up counting for nothing as Ipswich Town’s inconsistent season continued with a 2-1 defeat at struggling Championship side QPR this afternoon courtesy of two soft goals conceded.

David McGoldrick with a shot on target at QPR during the second half

David McGoldrick with a shot on target at QPR during the second half

With teenage duo Josh Emmanuel and Myles Kenlock playing as wing-backs, Town played some decent football in the first half but trailed at the break courtesy of a badly defended long throw-in that Idrissa Sylla converted (30).

Mick McCarthy switched to his favoured 4-4-2 system at the break and, less than three minutes after the restart, Lawrence found the top-corner with a swerving, powerful long-range effort.

An open game was there to be won, but McCarthy – who had sacrificed Emmanuel at the break – took off Kevin Bru and Kenlock, replacing them with Jonathan Douglas and Jonas Knudsen, much to the ire of the 2,000+ travelling fans.

Town continued to look the team more likely to score as Lawrence and David McGoldrick fired over, but it was QPR who claimed all three points in the 83rd minute when Adam Webster mis-judged a long ball over the top, allowing Polish attacker Pawel Wszolek to round keeper Bartosz Bialkowski and roll the ball into an empty net.

Brett Pitman is stopped early in the second half at QPR

Brett Pitman is stopped early in the second half at QPR

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Once again, the Blues have failed to build upon a good performance following the encouraging 2-1 home win over Bristol City last Friday and slip to 15th in the Championship table ahead of Saturday’s FA Cup third round visit of non-league side Lincoln City.

QPR recently lost six games in succession but have now won two on the spin – something Town haven’t achieved all season – to climb to 17th and within two points of the Blues.

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McCarthy made just one change to his team as Emmanuel replaced Grant Ward. That meant a change to a rarely used 5-3-2 system.

The home side had some joy down both flanks early on, but Ipswich reversed that trend as the game wore on and both Emmanuel and Kenlock saw plenty of the ball high up the field.

Town began to increasingly dominate possession and some intricate passing on the edge of the QPR box involving Emmanuel, Cole Skuse and Brett Pitman led to a corner in the 15th minute.

McCarthy’s men kept the pressure on after the corner was cleared to the halfway line and, after the ball was worked back into the area, McGoldrick’s fierce angled attempt was turned around the near post by keeper Alex Smithies.

Ipswich were the team who had to defend for a spell as the hosts forced a couple of corners of their own. Nevertheless, QPR’s breakthrough came out of nowhere in the 30th minute. Once again it was a goal that must go down on the ever-lengthening list of ‘soft ones conceded’ by the Blues.

Berra simply mis-judged the flight of James Perch’s long throw and succeeded in flicking the ball further into danger. The alert Sylla read the situation quicker than Webster, spinning his marker before smashing a fine left-footed volley high into the net.

Ipswich responded well to the set-back, but patient possession of the ball often ended with a hopeful Luke Chambers punt up the line and the skipper was guilty of wasting a golden opportunity in stoppage-time. After Webster had climbed highest to flick on Lawrence’s deep ball into the box, Chambers slashed an ambitious angled effort over the bar at the far post when a side-footed cross into the six-yard box was by far the better option.

It was Emmanuel who got the hook at half-time as McCarthy, not for the first time in his time at Town, decided to abandon a wing-back experiment early. Ward came on and the Blues switched to 4-4-2.

Lawrence’s breathtaking equaliser arrived less than three minutes after the restart. After Skuse’s short lay-off in midfield, the Leicester loanee set himself around 25 yards out and then cut across the ball with a fierce right-footed shot. The ball swerved across the keeper and pinged in off the far post to find the top corner.

It was yet another goal-of-the-season contender for the man who netted a brilliant solo strike at Sheffield Wednesday.

It required a superb last-ditch tackle by Grant Hall to deny Brett Pitman, following Ward’s lobbed through ball. Town continued to look the more likely to score and McGoldrick had a low attempt from outside the box pushed around the near post. Then a fearless Kenlock run down the left saw him nut-meg Perch on the by-line and see an angled shot turned around the near post.

McCarthy replaced the tiring Bru with Douglas. The away fans voiced their displeasure at teenager Andre Dozzell being over-looked following his impressive sub display against Bristol City. The reaction was even more poisonous when Knudsen replaced the impressive Kenlock in the 77th minute. Supporters sarcastically chanted ‘we’re going to win 1-1’.

Lawrence’s driving run on the counter ended with a rising shot going over the bar, while a Lawrence run and pull-back ended with McGoldrick side-footing over.

It was Town who conceded though when, in the 83rd minute, a long ball over the top took out Webster too easily. Wszolek produced a fine first touch, rounded on-rushing keeper Bialkowski and slotted the ball into an empty net.

QPR (4-2-3-1): Smithies; Perch, Lynch, Hall (cpt), Bidwell; Cousins, Manning (El Khayati 69); Wszolek, Mackie, Borysiuk (Onuoha 58); Sylla (Washington 38).

Unused subs: Ingram, Shodipo, Ngbakoto, Sandro.

IPSWICH TOWN (5-3-2): Bialkowski; Emmanuel (Ward 46), Chambers (cpt), Webster, Berra, Kenlock (Knudsen 77); Skuse, Bru (Douglas 69), Lawrence; McGoldrick, Pitman.

Unused subs: Gerken, Dozzell, Sears, Varney.

Attendance: 15,136 (2,324 away)

Referee: T Harrington

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