The gulf between a lowly Championship club and a promotion-chasing League One side was a chilling eye opener
Peterborough United entered the Carabao Cup, but they didn't really take part in it.
Indeed Posh were out in the time it takes to boil a couple of eggs. A start that wasn’t strong enough to be described as sluggish saw to that as QPR scored twice to effectively end the contest by 7.51pm.
There is a suspicion the gulf between the Championship and League One is growing by the season. QPR are expected to be involved in a relegation battle this season whereas Posh are eyeing up a promotion bid so the difference in quality, certainly for the first 45 minutes, was a rather chilling eye opener.
QPR were winning for the first time under former England manager Steve McClaren and he was as delighted by his side’s first-half performance as Steve Evans was disappointed with his team’s efforts.
“We didn’t turn up for 45 minutes,” Evans moaned. “You won’t beat any team in the country like that, never mind one from the Championship.
“It was very frustrating to move into a salvage operation so quickly. We played very well in the second-half, but it was still too little too late.”
Evans spoke of ‘taking the pain and moving on’ and to be honest exiting a competition that attracted just over 4,000 fans (a total boosted by a decent 704 travelling supporters) to this part of West London last night shouldn’t cause too many sleepless nights.
Indeed the performance made selection for Saturday’s far more important League One clash with Luton Town at the ABAX Stadium fairly easy. Unless Evans suffers a brain freeze in the next few days all three players left out last night will be back.
Front two Matt Godden and Jason Cummings will certainly return to the starting line-up. They were together for just 15 minutes or so last night and Godden created the best Posh chance of the match for Cummings in that time - a superb cross was spoiled by a sliced sidefoot from eight yards.
The mobility of the regular starting forwards was badly missed. Big and strong Ivan Toney offers something different, but it was wasted at Loftus Road thanks to a succession of poor crosses, particularly from the right.
Evans reckoned Siriki Dembele’s chance 10 minutes from time was key. Cummings set him up well, but the young winger’s shot was halted by an outstretched leg of QPR ‘keeper Joe Lumley.
“Siriki gave him the eyes and the goalkeeper was on his way out of the stadium,” Evans reckoned. “He stuck out a leg and got a bit lucky. If that had gone in we would have forced penalties as we were so far in the ascendancy.”
Evans’s optimism was not shared by too many others. Posh did improve as QPR eased off, but the final scoreline was a fair one with a home side showing six changes from their last Championship contest doing enough to deserve a handsome victory in the first 45 minutes.
Evans has built a powerful back four - left-back Colin Daniel was left out last night to give on-loan Leeds United youngster Tyler Denton an opportunity - which will deliver clean sheets on a regular basis in League One, but one suspects midfielders with pace supported by mobile strikers could cause many problems.
Posh tucked their wingers inside and yet stll QPR passed their way through midfield with ease, while also causing issues out wide. Thankfully there won’t be many playmakers in the third tier with the ability of Luke Freeman and Josh Scowen.
Former Posh striker Conor Washington was excellent in the first-half and created both goals, with the help of visiting ‘keeper Aaron Chapman for Freeman’s early opener and by slotting Pawel Wszolek in for the second, game-killing strike with a high tariff pass.
Posh fans are confident they got the best of the £2.5 million deal that took Washington to QPR a few years, but the former St Ives postman delivered a first class 45 minutes against his old club.
Posh: Aaron Chapman, Jason Naismith, Tyler Denton, Rhys Bennett, Ryan Tafazolli, Alex Woodyard, Mark O’Hara, Callum Cooke (sub Jason Cummings, 46 mins), Siriki Dembele, Joe Ward (sub George Cooper, 73 mins), Ivan Toney (sub Matt Godden, 77 mins).
Unused substitutes: Conor O’Malley, Josh Yorwerth, Isaac Buckley-Ricketts, Louis Reed.
QPR: Joe Lumley, Osman Kakay, Toni Leistner, Alex Baptiste, Jake Bidwell, Jordan Cummins, Josh Scowen, Luke Freeman (sub Ryan Manning, 77 mins), Pawel Wszolek, Conor Washington (sub Matt Smith, 83 mins), Bright Osayi-Samuel (sub Ebere Eze, 68 mins).
Unused substitutes: Matt Ingram, Grant Hall, Paul Smyth, Idrissa Sylla.
Goals: QPR - Freeman (3 mins), Wszolek (6 mins).
Referee: Gavin Ward.
Attendance: 4,021 (706 Posh).