It was a mixed night in south Yorkshire as QPR scrapped to a late equaliser against Barnsley.
As a contest, it was far from a classic but here are the main talking points to arise from the Championship clash at Oakwell.
Lack of attacking threat
The Hoops really struggled in the final third against a frankly mediocre Barnsley team.
I cannot knock the effort put in by the 11 out on the field, but ultimately it takes more than just hard work to get wins in this league; a point which seems to be a concern at the moment.
In the first half Jamie Mackie played as a lone striker with Bright Osayi-Samuel and Pawel Wszolek on each flank, but the 31-year-old was painfully isolated.
He did a great job of leading from the front and implementing a high pressing game, but when in possession he was left to feed off scraps as the ball was played in behind the defence.
With the greatest of respect, Mackie will know he is not a lone striker and my opinion is that his busy style of play would be a lot more effective if he was playing around a target man such as Matt Smith.
This would give the Hoops a focal point in attack, and allow Mackie to buzz around him, picking up knock-downs, loose balls and free him up to make a nuisance of himself.
Last night was a lot better when Conor Washington came on, but It’s something that needs to be looked at when clear-cut chances are at a premium against a team tipped to go straight back down.
As mentioned above, Conor Washington changed the game when he came on last night.
He hasn’t enjoyed the best run of form and has faced criticism from some quarters of the QPR fans, but last night highlighted what he brings to the party.
Washington impacted things straight away, making intelligent runs and very much ensuring that Mackie wasn’t so isolated.
Tasked with making diagonal runs from the left flank into the box, the Northern Ireland international looked comfortable on the ball created space for his team-mates to get on the ball in the final third.
Yes, we would like to see Washington add more goals to his game, but you cannot dispute what he brings to the team.
What Luke Freeman did last night is exactly what this QPR team need.
It looked like the Hoops had run out of time to grab an equaliser, with several half chances going astray; much to the frustration of the away bench.
But when you have a player like Freeman you know you always stand a chance.
The former Bristol City man was at the centre of every QPR attack in the second half, and is arguably the only Hoop who can make something of nothing; and that’s exactly what he did.
A contender for goal of the season, Freeman’s 25-yard strike was a thing of beauty as it moved endlessly in the air before thundering past the Barnsley stopper who simply had no chance; a finish to get the Hoops out of jail on an overall disappointing night in south Yorkshire.
In a team appearing to lack in real creativity, Freeman is pivotal as a player to pluck something out of nothing.
It was great to see Caulker back in the QPR team.
He started off slightly rusty, misplacing a couple of routine passes but did grow into the game, looking solid and comfortable.
The key thing for Caulker is to stay around the first team for a consistent number of games, as this is the only way he’ll build up his match fitness and regain his confidence to perform at this level.
Back to earth with a stutter
A run of mixed results has seen the early season optimism diminish somewhat, with The Hoops without a win in four league games.
QPR got off to an excellent start with good results against the likes of Reading, Hull City, Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich, but the lack of wins against Millwall, Burton and Barnsley has got to be seen as a cause for concern.
It does appear that the underdog tag suits the Hoops, and they’ll be hoping that they can get back to winning ways against play-off contenders Fulham on Friday.