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!”

Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
world cup 2014
Popes current and former won't be watching the football together
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
Germany's Andre Greipel crosses the finish line to win the sixth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 194 kilometers (120.5 miles) with start in Arras and finish in Reims, France
tour de franceGerman champion achieves sixth Tour stage win in Reims
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Arts and Entertainment
Chocolat author Joanne Harris has spoken about the financial struggles most authors face
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child