Goals from Will Buckley and Callum Conolly were enough to earn Wanderers their fourth away victory of the season at Loftus Road, a result that has ultimately cost former England Manager Steve McClaren his job at QPR.
If the 5-2 loss away to Wigan was Bolton’s Hyde-side, the 700 or so fans who made the trip to West London were treated their Jekyll equivalent as Phil Parkinson’s men showed fight, desire and, what has been so lacking this season, quality in their approach play. It was a joy to watch despite Nahki Wells’ late goal jangling the nerves.
Here are my player ratings:
Remi Matthews 7.5
He has to be commended for not letting the awful error at Wigan deter him with the ball in hand and responded well to cries of “look behind you!” from the Wanderers travelling support. He made some important saves from Wells and the lively Bright Osayi-Samuel and would be unfortunate to lose his place to Ben Alnwick against Ipswich in my opinion.
Pawel Olkowski 6.5
He was very poor in the first-half, allowing Osayi-Samuel in behind too many times due to poor positioning. Whether the youngster tired or Olkowski learned is up for debate but he grew in confidence in the second period both defensively and offensively, offering good support to Sammy Ameobi and winning a lot of important headers.
David Wheater 8
Wheater should start every week and whilst I acknowledge his lack of pace and association with our “losing mentality” that his detractors often bring up, he’s by far and away our best defender. He wins everything in the air, makes crucial interceptions and dealt with the threat of Tomer Hemed and Matt Smith admirably. The skipper’s battling attitude will be crucial in the run-in.
Mark Beevers 7
I hardly noticed Beevers with the exception of a few decent challenges which probably means he played alright. I’m still convinced this is our best centre-half pairing, anything to keep Hobbs and Wilson out of the team.
Andrew Taylor 6.5
He was at fault for allowing Wells to score but was otherwise solid against both Luke Freeman and Angel Rangel. If we still exist, regardless of what league we are in, we have to sign a new left-back because while Taylor may think fist-pumping at the fans before and after the games makes up for being a bang-average full-back he is mistaken. He plays OK but nothing more.
Joe Williams 8
It was a fabulous performance from Williams summed up by two injury-time tackles after losing the ball in a dangerous area. Both were hard but fair and superbly timed, exactly the kind of desire we love to see. What was equally as impressive was his passing, much improved from what we usually see from him. We have always thought we had a good player in Williams, and this was on show in this game. I only hope he decides to turn up against Ipswich.
Callum Connolly 8
He took his goal very well and won everything he challenged for in midfield. His passing remains good but what impressed me most was the intelligence he showed in terms of positioning. Not only is he very often in the right place to intercept in midfield but he also has the knack for finding space in the attacking third. He’s the kind of midfielder who scores important goals. Thus far those goals have won us 6 points.
Gary O’Neil 7.5
He may have been outshone by the two youngsters in midfield, but my word will it be a scandal if he doesn’t win Player of the Year. Boundless energy, quality in possession and so often looks like he could nick a goal. If we have a three-game week I think he will need resting but given the break before the Ipswich game you’d hope he could perform to the same level again.
Sammy Ameobi 7.5
A return to form for the enigma that is Ameobi. Involved in both goals and created two further chances that really should have been scored, it was great to see him show his talent for once. He still showed a lack of urgency when having to defend the marauding runs of Jake Bidwell but going forward he was a real threat.
Will Buckley 6
He scored, yes, but anyone could have bundled in that chance. Aside from a very poor miss from an Ameobi cross he was virtually anonymous, again. In all likelihood Buckley will end this season with 5 goals (he has four to date), but he has had a very poor season. The only reason he is keeping Noone out of the team is the goal-knack he has, which is appreciated, but you can’t help but feel he has to do more.
Josh Magennis 7
He worked his socks off (told you James), getting the better of Grant Hall and Toni Leistner when the former went off injured. He did, however, miss a great chance from a similar position to Buckley but we can let him off given his looping header created our first goal. Surely something has to give in front of goal for the big man soon, because his all-round game is good.
Clayton Donaldson 3
He didn’t look interested when he came on with the iFollow commentator stating, “he looks shattered and he’s only just come on!”. That sums it up really. Get out of my club.
Craig Noone 5
I didn’t really notice him do anything good or bad, but, as usual, he ran around a lot.