After taking 7 points from a possible 9 in their first 3 matches, QPR came back to earth Saturday in their first visit to Coventry’s partially finished Ricoh Arena. Rangers also managed to lose defender Danny Shittu for 3 games following his dismissal in the 2nd half. From the Guardian’s Martin Rose :

The physicality of the confrontation suited Coventry’s front men. The presence of Dele Adebola (above), in particular, caused the Rangers defence enormous problems and the game was effectively over early in the second half when, with the visitors already three down, their defender Danny Shittu was sent off for hauling back Adebola when he was through on goal. Arguments ensued.

“He’s tugged me back and he’s clipped my heels so the referee made the decision,” said Adebola. Shittu begged to differ: “To give a straight red for that was despicable. We thought there was going to be a yellow card given to Adebola for diving. I’m very upset.”

In the context of recent history it was hardly surprising to see a red card. The teams had met in the final of a pre-season tournament in Ibiza, where the game was marred by fighting among supporters. That seemed to transfer itself to the pitch back in the Midlands.

There were petty flare-ups all afternoon, seven yellow cards and talk of an altercation in the tunnel after the game, although that rumour was denied by both sets of players and managers.

“Cov were leading the final in Ibiza 2-0 before we ended up winning 3-2 and our fans were singing and shouting like we were champions of Europe,” said Rangers’ manager Ian Holloway. “But Micky and his lads have had the last laugh because we came home with a tin-pot cup and they’ve got three points.”