It was the proverbial game of two halves at Craven Cottage as QPR secured a well-deserved point against their London rivais.
Fulham dominated for the first 45 minutes, with goals from Tom Cairney and Lucas Piazon give them a 2-0 advantage.
However Massimo Luongo’s volley on the stroke of half-time brought QPR back into the game, before a spirited second half performance led to Pawel Wszolek getting an equaliser for the Hoops.
It was an exciting contest with lots of key talking points to discuss.
Missing a key man
Ian Holloway made one change for this clash, and that was the enforced absence of Josh Scowen.
The midfielder is suffered with suspected appendicitis, meaning QPR were without a crucial component for the trip to Fulham.
He certainly looked like he was missed in the first half as the Whites dominated possession against the Hoops approach of parking the bus, and it looked like it would be a long afternoon.
But an alteration which saw Ryan Manning brought into the middle of midfield solidified the midfield unit and ensured that QPR could force their way back into the contest.
Scowen is a crucial player for QPR, and they’ll certainly be hoping that he won't be out for too long.
Furlong vs Sessegnon
It was a duel which was always going to be decisive in this match and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
The 17-year-old caused all-sorts of problems in the first half as he turned Darnell Furlong and Ryan Manning inside out as a result of Fulham’s quick-tempo passing game.
Sessegnon, as well as being talented, is an incredibly intelligent footballer who was constantly assessing the spaces around him, and had a lot of joy in the first half as he both overlapped and undertook Furlong to cause a lot of issues.
The second half, however, was much different.
Furlong seemed to dominate the battle in the second period, ensuring that Sessegnon got no time on the ball and ultimately winning the duel which saw the Fulham starlet substituted in a tactical switch.
Playing against top class opponents is always going to be a key learning curve for Furlong, and as long as he learns from his performances like he did at the Cottage, then there’s no doubts that he’ll continue to improve.
‘Too much respect’
The first half at the Cottage was played completely on Fulham’s terms, an accusation which was backed up post-match.
After the game we spoke to Ian Holloway, Massimo Luongo and Matt Smith; all of whom said that QPR gave the Whites ‘too much respect’.
It’s hard to argue, but after a telling off from Ollie, the Hoops seemed to rally in the second half, and in stark contrast to the first, ensured that the remaining 45 minutes were played entirely on their terms; an approach which very nearly won QPR all three points.
A tactical battle
It was always going to be tactical affair, and the contest at the Cottage certainly didn’t disappoint.
Fulham dominated the first half with some one-sided possession statistics; and you’d have struggled to argue if they had taken a more significant lead into the break.
But an alteration in strategy and mindset saw QPR take the game to the Whites, -pressing high and putting both the team and the fans under immense pressure.
Fulham then opted to replace key men Tom Cairney and Ryan Sessegnon, while QPR opted to stretch the game by bringing on Paul Smyth and Conor Washington; a tactical gamble which certainly paid off for Ian Holloway.
QPR could have easily won the game in the second half, and Ian Holloway rued the amount of chances being fluffed by his side in the second 45; with that lack of killer-instinct being a common occurrence for the team this term
There were a number of decent displays in the QPR squad, but none more-so than Pawel Wszolek.
The winger was excellent from start to finish, giving Jake Bidwell excellent protection against the threat of Ryan Fredericks and Lucas Piazon.
As well as his defensive abilities, Wszolek looked the most likely to make something happen, capitalising on the space being left by Fredericks, leading to a number of chances to open QPR’s account.
He may have missed a couple, but Wszolek got his reward in the second half when he dispossessed Denis Odoi and placed his effort in the bottom corner, a worthy reward for an excellent all-round display.
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