Ramsey relief at Jay’s late turn
THIS game was just 11 minutes old when the boos of frustration reverberated around Loftus Road and left Chris Ramsey under no illusion of the fans’ displeasure.
And, after they rallied from two early goals, the vitriol returned in the 85th minute as QPR, having fought back to lead, looked to have squandered victory through Wellington Silva’s equaliser.
Yet Ramsey eventually found relief before full-time as Jay Emmanuel-Thomas curled a 20yard shot into the bottom corner four minutes into injury time.
“I’m very pleased to get the points, but I’m not pleased with the way we defended to give three goals away,” said Ramsey.
“At 2-0, I was thinking we still had time, but it was then we really needed to show our mettle.
“I wasn’t too displeased with the way we were playing, but individ- ual errors had cost us. The boys showed excellent character that is going to be much needed in this league.”
Emmanuel-Thomas has often been a Theo Walcott-lite at Championship level, stubbornly refusing to extend his high-quality flashes over several games, but – deprived of Charlie Austin by injury – Ramsey handed him his first QPR league start.
Previously, Emmanuel-Thomas had an underwhelming Championship scoring record, but, after 33 goals in two League One seasons with Bristol City, he ruthlessly seized his only two chances.
Ramsey added: “He’s a different player to Charlie, but goalscorers are about scoring goals no matter how they come. I’m very pleased with what he is, but what he has to do now, as a young man with talent, is keep his feet on the floor and play like that for the rest of the season.”
Bolton’s early lead came as first Gary Madine glanced in Liam Feeney’s cross, then Feeney slammed the ball home after Rob Green parried Darren Pratley’s shot.
QPR’s two first-half goals bore similar traits to Bolton’s double.
Just as Madine had, EmmanuelThomas exploited poor marking to head Tjaronn Chery’s cross inside the far post.
Then, at the half’s end, Ben Amos spilled Leroy Fer’s effort. Amos reacted well to block EmmanuelThomas’ follow-up, but again Bolton’s defenders were slow to react and Fer bundled home.
All four goals owed more to defensive inability than attacking class, but the contrast with the second half could not have been greater, especially Chery’s curling shot from 25 yards out and only five yards from the touchline that put Rangers ahead.
Bolton had been largely toothless following their opening blitz, but Silva was unleashed from the bench to produce their only high-quality moment, dancing in from wide and shooting through Rob Green’s weak palm. However, Emmanuel-Thomas ensured it was insufficient for a point.
Trotters manager Neil Lennon said: “It’s not good enough. We go 2-0 up and then we let in too many free headers and crosses.
“We played some good stuff and scored a very good third goal, but we couldn’t see the game out and that is my total frustration.
“Forget the first 93 minutes, it’s all about the last minute.
“Why we can’t see the game out, I do not know. It has happened too many times.They are mentally fragile, I think. The game management has to be better and I’m fed up at talking to them about it.”
PURE RELIEF: Jay Emmanuel-Thomas turns away after scoring the winner in a seven-goal thriler. Inset: He strokes the ball home