Reading 0 QPR 0 match report: Grim ending as Dead Men shuffle off without a fight at the Madejski Stadium

Draw relegates both sides from the Premier League

the Madejski Stadium

Reading and Queens Park Rangers slithered out of the Premier League yesterday, neither apparently able to muster the energy to survive. A victory would have kept one of them hanging on for a while longer, like a condemned criminal on Death Row, but a defeat or a draw spelt doom. They perished in mutual apathy.

The so-called Dead Men’s Derby at the Madejski Stadium lived up to its billing and made for grim viewing. Yet it encapsulated the weaknesses of the teams, the squads and the clubs. All were out of their depth among the elite. At least QPR lasted two seasons, Reading have made a swift return to Championship after just one campaign.

It was a listless affair, perhaps inexplicable considering the enlarged TV riches on offer in the Premier next season. But both were long gone, anyway. “It was mundane sort of game,” Harry Redknapp, the QPR manager, said. “It was as though both teams knew they’d gone down. That was more or less how it looked. We lacked that bit of spark in certain areas.

“It’s been difficult here. We’ve been a bit short of quality to win games, the balance has never been quite right. If you had the job at the start of the season, it’s different. That’s when you put a team together. You shouldn’t be running around in the transfer window trying to patch things up. You build a team in the summer.”

Nigel Adkins, the Reading manager, also accepted the inevitable and the need to look forward. “The fact of the matter is that we’re down,” he said. “We needed to win and didn’t. We now know where we’ll be next season and we’ll use the last few games to prepare for the Championship.

“It’s a very sombre dressing-room but we’ve got to bottle those regrets and make sure that we don’t experience them again.”

It has been a season of mostly relentless misery for both teams, interspersed with the occasional false dawn of a rare victory or two. Going into the match at the Madejski, the respective form guides summed up the disharmony in Berkshire and West London camps – Reading had not won in nine matches, QPR in five.

At least Adkins could hardly be blamed. It was only his fifth match in charge since succeeding Brian McDermott last month and, however harsh the manner of McDermott’s exit, the former Southampton manager was always going to get a second bite in the Championship next season.

However, Redknapp has had enough time – he took over from Mark Hughes in November – to heal the obvious rifts in the ranks and secure for QPR a third successive campaign in the top flight. Not for nothing is he nicknamed “Harry Houdini”. This time, though, his magical powers appear to have had little effect on the warring factions within his expensively-assembled squad.

For much of the first half, Reading and QPR demonstrated exactly why they have plummeted over the past months. Where McDermott and Hughes failed, Adkins and Redknapp seem to have followed. It was a mish-mash of an offering, perhaps acceptable for mid-table in the Championship – where they could meet next season – but unpalatable in the Premier League.

QPR did start promisingly. Esteban Granero clipped a free kick on to the top of the home crossbar with Alex McCarthy, the Reading goalkeeper, groping thin air. Jay Bothroyd galloped through alone but, when the crunch came, he lobbed not only over McCarthy but also past a post. Reading’s fans cheered ironically when passes found a team-mate. That has not happened with too much regularity this season, they found it amusingly novel. The QPR supporters had something more tangible to appreciate when Adel Taarabt burst through – only to shoot so high and wide that it was almost laughable.

Six minutes before the break, Reading actually went close to scything through the dross. Pavel Pogrebnyak, the Reading striker, saw a close-range shot blocked and Adrian Mariappa, latching on to the rebound, prodded goalwards. Jose Bosingwa, the defender who barely wanted to play earlier in the season because he had been dropped to the substitutes’ bench, hacked the ball off the line. Shame he hadn’t shown such good timing during his petulant protest in QPR’s hour of need.

Little changed in the second half. It was if both sides were settling for the draw that many people misguidedly believed before kick off would keep them at the highest level for a while longer. It would not.

If points were awarded for endeavour, neither side was found wanting. Yet points for skill and content were virtually non-existent.

Pogrebnyak cut inside Bosingwa but curled an effort narrowly past Robert Green’s far post. The Russian had another chance, when homing in on Chris Gunter’s cross, but he nodded carelessly and forcefully into the ground and the bounce took it over the bar. QPR had all but given up the ghost, a grotesquely sliced attempt by Jermaine Jenas one of their few meagre contributions to the closing chapter of a not particularly complimentary obituary.

Sean Morrison could have spared Reading the hangman’s noose, albeit temporarily, but his towering header from a Jobi McAnuff corner was acrobatically tipped over by Green. It was a spectacular ending to a drab contest and, at the final whistle, neither sets of fans could be bothered to boo or jeer. The Grim Reaper had spoken already. That said it all.

Joey Barton wasted no time having his say after parent club QPR’s relegation was confirmed. The midfielder – on a season’s long loan at Marseilles – launched an expletive-filled rant on Twitter straight after the match.

'Too many maggots' - Barton lays into QPR

“I can’t believe QPR have just been relegated and Boswinga [sic] was walking down the tunnel laughing! Embarrassing. Show some guts man,” Barton tweeted.

“Gutted for the club. To many w*****s amongst the playing staff. All brought in by (Mark) Hughes. Some good lads but not enough. Too many maggots. Hope they can get a load out, if not they’ll end up in a Wolves situation because trust me that Championship is a f*****g hard league!”

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat