Birmingham 0 QPR 2 match report: Ravel Morrison at the double to provide a welcome relief for Harry Redknapp

On-loan West Ham midfielder nets a brace to end QPR's five match winless-streak

St Andrews

A week when an unforgiving spotlight was shone on their reckless spending ended with a sigh of relief for QPR as Harry Redknapp’s side got their promotion push back on track.

The west London club’s financial figures for 2012-13 – which showed a £65.4m loss and overall debts of £177m – have raised the threat of a transfer embargo should they fail to earn an immediate return to the Premier League. It would be nice to think that alarming spectre might have shaken Rangers’ handsomely paid squad back into life but, in truth, the catalyst was an outstanding individual performance by Ravel Morrison. On his third appearance since arriving on loan from West Ham United, the 21-year-old scored a goal in each half to lift QPR within a point of third-placed Derby County.

It was at St Andrew’s that Morrison spent the whole of last season and home manager Lee Clark had actually vouched for his talent when asked for a recommendation by Redknapp last month. “When Harry called me, I said he would love him,” explained Clark, who went on to describe Morrison as “the best footballer since Paul Gascoigne. He’s got the pace of a wide man, he’s got the balance of wide man, he can play one touch, he can play two touch, he can dribble. I would have loved to have seen him on that plane to Brazil.” The only trouble, Clark added, is “what’s between the ears”.

Whatever his baggage, Rangers have a matchwinner on their hands. “It was terrific performance from him today – he caused all sorts of problems,” said Kevin Bond, the QPR assistant manager. It meant Birmingham remain without a home win in the Championship since 1 October, although, as at Loftus Road, it was the off-the-field matters that have been dominating the St Andrew’s agenda with club owner Carson Yeung sentenced to six years in prison on Friday after he was found guilty of money laundering by a Hong Kong court.

Yeung may have resigned his posts as club president and chairman of parent company Birmingham International Holdings Limited last month, but he still casts a long shadow, retaining a 14.7% share in the club and effective control given the presence on the Blues’ board of his son, brother-in-law, and future brother-in-law. “On the face of it nothing changes,” was the pre-game lament of Steve McCarthy, chairman of the Blues Trust, a fans’ protest group. Clark himself suggested that his players were struggling to rise above it all. “We cannot hide behind the fact of what is happening elsewhere at the club [but] I felt at one stage that could have been the case today,” he said.

Birmingham’s problems offer further evidence of the ineffectiveness of the football authorities’ so-called owners and directors test. Sadly for the home fans, Morrison ensured there was nothing to lift the gloom on the pitch yesterday. Playing in a three-man midfield alongside Joey Barton and Jermaine Jenas, he provided early notice that he was in the mood with a graceful glide forward that left a couple of opponents on their backsides, and after 14 minutes he opened the scoring. After Paul Robinson had felled Kevin Doyle, Morrison lifted the ensuing free-kick over the defensive wall and beyond goalkeeper Darren Randolph.

Morrison might have had another goal but for an excellent block by Paul Robinson, while Clint Hill headed a Barton free-kick against the crossbar. Birmingham’s decision-making in the final third was poor and the best they had to offer was Emyr Huws’ inswinging free kick that Robert Green had to tip over. The hosts’ squad features just two cash signings – one of whom is Nicola Zigic, the Serbian striker signed by Yeung on a £70,000 weekly wage with no relegation clauses. It was no surprise that the loudest cheer from the home fans came when he made way for Federico Macheda. Nor was it a surprise when Morrison then sealed the victory, applying a cool, sidefoot finish to Jenas’s low cross.

Line-ups:

Birmingham City (3-4-3): Randolph; Spector, Packwood, Robinson; Caddis, Huws, Adeyemi, Ferguson (Blackett, 73); Burke, Zigic (Macheda, 58), Ibe (Novak, 67).

QPR (4-3-3): Green; Onuoha, Dunne, Hill, Assou-Ekotto; Jenas, Barton, Morrison (Carroll, 87); Traore, Doyle (Keane, 84), Hoilett (O’Neil, 70).

Referee: Graham Scott

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste