A game to forget for Irvine’s 99th
Preston North End boss Alan Irvine will not remember his 99th game in charge of the Depdale club with any fondness.
It ranks among one of the poorest of the Scot’s 23 months in charge, with PNE second-best to an impressive QPR.
Only Andrew Lonergan in the visitors’ ranks emerged from the Loftus Road clash with any credit – but for the goalkeeper the defeat could have been heavier.
Irvine’s men were chasing the game from the 11th minute when Adel Taarabt curled home a terrific opener, aided it must be said by benevolent defending.
They never looked like getting back into it, three goals in the last half hour putting an emphatic seal on the defeat.
It was the club’s heaviest Championship defeat since Wigan put five past them in December 2004.
North End didn’t play to their potential in any area, with the defence given a particularly uncomfortable time by QPR’s Jay Simpson and Wayne Routledge.
The midfield left the back four exposed, while going forward provided only a limited supply line for the attack.
Up front there were only glimpses of goal for Neil Mellor and Chris Brown, Mellor’s significant contribution being a foul in his own box on Taarabt which resulted in QPR netting their second from the spot.
There was little for Irvine to be positive about, and he will want a century of games in charge at Sheffield Wednesday tomorrow night marked in better style.
Michael Hart would have been hoping for a more memorable first league start of the season, the former Aberdeen man a surprise inclusion in a slightly re-jigged defence.
He came in at right-back with Billy Jones moving to the other side of the pitch to take the place of Eddie Nolan.
Hart said: “At 2-0 we pushed up the pitch to try and get back into the game and it left a lot of gaps for QPR.”