Ram­sey re­lief at Jay’s late turn

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By An­drew Brook

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.”

PIC­TURES: PHC Im­ages

PURE RE­LIEF: Jay Em­manuel-Thomas turns away af­ter scor­ing the win­ner in a seven-goal thriler. Inset: He strokes the ball home

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