“Bolton lynched as Rangers rally”. – QPR 2 Bolton 0

Bolton were well and truly lynched at Loftus Road. Firstly by referee Scott Duncan, who very harshly dismissed their full back Mark Little after 54 minutes for a untimely lunge on Luongo, which merited no more than a yellow card, and then by Rangers’ marauding centre cum full back Joel Lynch, who applied the finishing touch to score Rangers’ opening goal after 72 minutes.

It took some time coming as a  disjointed Rangers side toiled against a workmanlike Bolton team for much of the match, yet once Bolton were reduced to ten men, all their attacking ambition, which did not amount to much anyway, completely disappeared.

Rangers last experience of playing against ten men, against Bristol City only last month, resulted in a 0-2 reverse, but they seemed to have learned their lesson this time, albeit arguably more by luck than judgement.  The principle of moving the ball around the field to stretch their opponents did not really work as they were so pedestrian in their build up play that Bolton were not remotely stretched or pulled out of position until Rangers’ live wire replacement, the dimunitive Paul Smyth entered the fray.

Up until that point, they seemed bereft of any pace, flair or imagination and the local faithful were groaning with frustration at their side’s lack of spark and ambition, encapsulated by Pawel Wszolek, their Polish right winger cum wing back who seemed scared to venture forward at all. His first movement always seemed to be backwards, not dissimilar to the returning pantomime villain, Bolton’s Karl Henry, once the ire of many Rangers’ supporters for his overly defensive approach when wearing the hoops. Little seems to have changed since he has moved north.

It always seemed likely that Rangers best chance of scoring would be from a set piece and so it proved. Matt Smith, their towering centre forward, who had been a threat all match with his aerial prowess, leapt backwards at the far post from a hanging Luke Freeman corner and skilfully headed across goal and there was Joel Lynch to joyfully head home.

Holloway then brought on the youth in the form of Smyth (20) and Eberechi Eze (19) who added a little more dynamism to the Rangers attack and it was Smyth, in the 91st minute who created the second goal. He raced down the right wing, something Wszolek had failed to do all match, and his pinpoint cross was expertly headed home by Smith, who was also advancing into the penalty box at some pace.  Defenders often say that they hate defending against pace and this was no greater proof.

Three points ultimately well earned by Rangers as they move further clear of the relegation battle. For Bolton, their mini revival is fading and they face a real battle in the coming weeks to retain their Championship status.


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