The Terriers would play host to a wounded QPR following their 6-0 home defeat to Newcastle just days earlier. Town were also coming of the back of a defeat, although theirs much less embarrassing.
Town would make 2 changes from the side that faced Brighton at the Amex, with David Wagner adding to home advantage with a little more attacking prowess bringing in both Kasey Palmer and Nahki Wells to his starting XI.
KP was arguably the brightest player in the opening stages. He would split the QPR defence with a stunning crossed field pass to on rushing Smith, a warning shot that QPR would not head.
This combination would link up again moments later, with QPR’s Konchesky look-a-like LB helpless for a second time. Smith, it must be said has significantly improved his delivery in the attacking third, evident in the ball which fired across the QPR box and would find it’s way to Van La Parra who was allowed too much time to pick out his man, finding the on rushing Palmer to nod home the games first goal.
As the game continued QPR, bereft of ideas, would time and time again seek out the frustrated Washington. Schindler and Hudson were more than a match.
Town instead were full of invention through the front 4 of Wells, VLP, Kachunga and Palmer, who seemingly were not assigned a position, constantly changing from left to right, right to centre, centre to left. Wagner had clearly noted that man marking was something QPR would look to do.
Town’s front line would be supported by the endless industry of Hogg and another sublime performance from Mooy, who finds space, when there isn’t any. Time, when there shouldn’t be any. It is as if he’s playing one game, whilst the rest are playing another. Whenever one of his teammates had the ball, there he was, in space, with his next move already planned.
Mooy is the master of deception. On those rare occasion when a QPR man got close enough to apply a little pressure, a simple drop of the shoulder or turn and there he was, back in space.
As the first half drew to a close, Palmer would be the architect again, finding the lurking Wells, whose header was saved in his ever-so theatrical style by Ex-Town man Smithies, neither player would know but the Town striker would be adjudged to have strayed offside by the official.
Town would control the first half without QPR really troubling the Town goal. The tricky Chery would see his curling effort straight into the arms of Danny Ward. Even when presented with free kicks in danger areas, the QPR delivery was lacking any sort of quality.
Town have enjoyed a lot of the football this season, this pattern would continue, but they wouldn’t be resigned to their short passing, often seeking out a much more direct ball out to either full-back who were playing more like wingers.
This pattern of play would lead to Town’s second of the afternoon, when the loose ball was picked up by VLP, Town moved the ball quickly to the right. Town’s fluidity across the four forwards had the QPR scrambling for position, allowing a grateful Tommy Smith a free run down the right.
For the second time this year, Smith would curl a high looping cross to the back post to find Kachunga, whose powerful header would throw more misery on the returning Town man.
Hasselbaink’s managerial inexperience would be showcased through a tactically naive game plan and two ineffective half time substitutes. When Town’s second went in, Hasselbaink was left arms folded and surrounded by his back room staff, cutting the figure of a man under pressure and out of ideas.
Rumour’s of Steve McClaren sat in the stands won’t have helped, though he could just have come to watch the Town.
With Tommy Smith regaining consciousness the Town fans were struck with a sucker punch, as QPR would score a late consolation goal to threaten Town’s home record.
With the impressive Palmer tiring David Wagner would chose to shore things up and bring on Hefele to support Hogg and Whitehead in the midfield. However, it would be a marauding run forward and neat one-two with Löwe which took the big man into the box, sadly the fans’ favourite was unable to beat his man.
When 6 minutes additional time was announced, Town looked unfazed and stuck to their defensive duties. QPR who haven’t scored a goal from open play so far this year would have a number of corners late on, all of which would be marshaled by skipper Mark Hudson.
20,595 attendance. Four straight home wins and STILL TOP OF THE LEAGUE!
Ooh to be a…