Saturday, 13 August 2011

Match Report: QPR 0 Bolton 4

QPR began life back in the top flight with a heavy loss as Bolton taught them a painful lesson in the unforgiving nature of Premier League football. The home side fared well in the first period but trailed at half-time after Gary Cahill's superb 25-yard shot. Bolton excelled in the second half and seized an unbreakable hold on the game through Danny Gabbidon's own goal and Ivan Klasnic's deflected strike. Fabrice Muamba slotted in a fourth before QPR's Clint Hill was sent off. It was a miserable but fitting ending to the game for the home side, who faded quickly in the second half in the face of a powerful and thoroughly professional away performance from Wanderers. The Trotters had been asked by their manager Owen Coyle to improve on a positive 2010-11 campaign and made impressive first strides towards delivering on that request. QPR have also made great steps forward in recent years, but their ascent to the top flight for the first time since 1996 has been somewhat tainted by issues off the pitch regarding the potential sale of the club, a lack of big-money signings and a significant increase in ticket prices, which has left many fans aggrieved. There were noticeable gaps in the stands at Loftus Road but a sense of optimism prevailed, which was initially prolonged by what was a positive, if somewhat naive, first-half display from their team. They almost made the perfect start to life back in the Premier League when new signing DJ Campbell flicked the ball into the Bolton net from six yards, but the striker was rightly adjudged to have been offside. Campbell was to have a reasonably positive debut, suggesting he could repeat last season's feats with Blackpool for his new club, but the same could not be said of fellow summer recruit Kieron Dyer, who was taken off on a stretcher in just the seventh minute after falling awkwardly in a tackle. It was feared he had broken a bone in his foot but manager Neil Warnock confirmed there had been no break. The Hoops did not let it affect them, though, and fashioned a number of chances but playmaker Adel Taraabt, who was largely shackled throughout, chipped one wide and Jay Bothroyd saw the best of these headed over by Gretar Steinsson. In first half stoppage time, Bolton demonstrated the need to take your chances in the Premier League when Cahill collected the ball 25 yards out and curled an excellent shot into the far corner to give his side the lead. The second half belonged to Bolton, who extended their lead when Chris Eagles' free-kick was deflected into his own net by Danny Gabbidon in the 67th minute before sealing their win three minutes later when Klasnic's shot from inside the box was deflected in by Bradley Orr. With 11 minutes to go Muamba collected from Klasnic and strode through to side-foot in a fourth before Hill completed QPR's horror-show by getting himself sent off for headbutting Bolton's Martin Petrov in the chest in the last minute.

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