Lofty Heights... 'Faurlin in Love Again..'

A look at Queens Park Rangers F.C. through the eyes of the fans - follow us on twitter @loftyheights70, @LoftyQPR and @qprleeroy








Saturday, April 12, 2014

Five-brant R's Win To Turn The Corner.....


The SKY Cameras visited Loftus Road today in what was supposed to be a crucial game in the race for promotion to the Premier League. Unfortunately our visitors Nottingham Forest have seen their challenge fizzle out in recent weeks and seemingly have their heads on the beaches ahead of the summer already. Could the R's capitalise and gain a must needed win?

With the game being on SKY is was an early alarm call for us all this morning as we made our way to the ground and made an early entrance. Jess and I arrived to see that none of the gang were sitting on their usual position on the wall and it wasn't until we made our way into the ground that we met up with PK, Sam, Luke, Michael and Zach. Lofty had taken his position in his seat early as he had a potential new lucky charm as company in little Coral.

Redknapp played tinkerman once again as four changes were made to the side that flopped at Blackburn on Tuesday night.
Onuoha, Jenas and Austin came in to replace Young, Henry and Keane.

Kick off was seven minutes later than scheduled as a mark of respect to the 96 Liverpool fans that went to Hillborough for the FA Cup Semi Final match against Forest, never to return home. They will never be forgotten!

The R's got off to a flying start as Morrison and Hoilett combined well as the latter pulled the ball back for Carroll to take aim, only to see Darlow save with his outstretched left arm, however he could only parry the ball and Yossi Benayoun was on hand to head into the empty net from six yards out.
This settled the R's as they played with a high pressing style that meant that Forest were not allowed to settle and could not get their most dangerous player in Henri Lansbury on the ball and creating havoc in the R's defence, instead Forest were left to resort to long balls that were not effective and left the R's to comfortably deal with many attacks that Forest posed.
Rangers' were dealt with a blow with just fifteen minutes on the clock as Jenas limped off with the injury not entirely clear for us all to see. He was replaced by Karl Henry.
Rangers' did continue to pose a threat, with the most likely sources coming through Morrison and Hoilett. Austin was leading the line excellently for the R's and his hard work ethic was certainly rubbing off on those around him. Austin was unfortunate to not get on the scoresheet when he came within inches of touching home Assou-Ekotto's superb cross from the left wing.
There was however one weakness in the R's defence that Forest could expose and that's set pieces, no surprise that the scores were soon level via this method.
Lansbury's corner was met by Lascelles who rose unmarked to expertly head home with Forest's second chance of the game! How many set pieces have we conceded in 2014?? Clearly we are not learning our lesson with corners and seriously need to start learning how to defend!
Luckily for the R's just five minutes later they regained the lead.
Hoilett went on a teasing run and bustled his way through the Forest defence like a knife through butter before he poked the ball past Darlow as half time loomed.

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At half time we all gathered outside the Blue and White it was clear that Coral was having a great day out as throughout the first 45 minutes she showed plenty of enthusiasm towards the game and was giving plenty of encouragement towards those on the pitch. All of us where thoroughly enjoying how animated she was getting, hopefully the final result would leave Coral with a very happy memory of her day out.

The opening exchanges of the second half were pretty much a stalemate and it wasn't until Danny Simpson headed off the line from Halford's header on 70 minutes, ironically from yet another corner!
On 75 minutes Forest won yet another corner.  Before the corner was taken Charlie Austin off and replaced by Bobby Zamora. During the substitution I turned to PK and said 'goal'... was I going to be right? Rangers' frailties were exposed once again as yet another corner from Forest was whipped in the box and the smallest player on the pitch, Matt Derbyshire, was on hand to score Forest's second goal from a corner and leave the home fans groaning once again!!
With Austin now off the pitch we were now left worrying where the goal threat was going to come from.
Rangers' were also forced into their final change of the game as Hoilett limped off as he was replaced by Kranjcar.
With five minutes left on the clock the R's won a corner of their own. Despite the first cross being cleared, Simpson then put in a deep cross that Onuoha just managed to keep in play, he then exchanged passes with Morrison before swinging a right foot at the ball and curled home a beautiful effort to lift the roof off the Loft!
Proceedings were far from over as Forest won themselves yet another corner with two minutes left on the clock. Rangers' again let Forest get a free header in on goal, however this time we were lucky to have Rob Green fully alert and save on the goal line.
With three minutes of injury time being awarded it could've been a nervous ending for the R's, however as Forest pushed for the equaliser and we soon caught them on the counter attack to score the fourth. Tom Carroll's long ball was brilliantly controlled by Zamora as he advanced on goal before putting the ball on a plate to Morrison, who did not slot home with a first time shot, he instead decided to turn the Forest defender and 'keeper inside then out before then rolling the ball home a secure a much needed three points.
We hadn't long stopped celebrating Morrison's goal and the R's broke away again as this time Morrison turned provider as he lobbed the ball over the final Forest defender into the path of Zamora, who then smashed his shot into the floor before seeing the ball bounce over the despairing Darlow to make it 5-2!!

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It was not a vintage performance by far, however you have to create the chances in order to score the five goals that we did and the final three goals were taken extremely well.
We do have to highlight the fact that we cannot defend a set piece for toffee, it is a huge weakness of ours and Forest could've easily scored 4 from corners today. It begs the question, what do we practice in training?? It was part of our downfall at Bournemouth last Saturday and continues to be our achilles heel. Surely Wally Downes needs to focus on this as part of his defensive coaching sessions during midweek and sort the mess out in front of Rob Green, you have to feel sorry for the R's 'keeper at the moment as he is not getting the protection from the R's defence at set pieces at present.
The re-introduction of Onuoha was vital to the centre of defence as he is so composed as well as having the extra two yards of pace that Dunne does not possess these days.
It was also great to see Austin back in the starting line up getting vital minutes in and his hard working style in so infectious that his team mates around him also run themselves into the ground.
Forest brought down a good travelling support and although we could not hear them in the Loft(to be fair they probably couldn't us in the Loft) but Jess has rightfully informed me that they were in good voice and it's unfortunate that they did not get the same amount of effort from their players as they did not look to interested for large parts of today.

On to our Man of the Match. Luke voted for Danny Simpson as Jess placed her vote for Tom Carroll. The remaining votes from Sam, Lofty, PK and myself go to the hard working Yossi Benayoun. He covered every blade of grass today and worked tirelessly for the team. He certainly looks like a different player to the one we saw before Christmas!

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Overall a great day out for the R's fans and no-one in their wildest dreams would've bet on us scoring five goals in this one!
It was good to see Coral enjoy her first match day experience and really engage in the whole experience. She is definitely a good luck charm for us and hopefully Lofty will be able to bring her along to another game soon to continue the good luck coming our way!!

Next weekend sees an Easter double header as we travel to Leicester for the early kick off on Saturday before then returning to Loftus Road on Monday to host Watford. Lofty and I will report respectively and hopefully will see the R's build on today's victory as we look to keep the pressure on Derby to secure that vital third spot before the end of the season.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

A Depressing Evening of Football...


Blackburn 2-0 QPR

Blackburn did their play off chances no harm at all this evening, by putting yet another big dent in QPR's own promotion hopes, running out 2-0 winners at Ewood Park.



Unfortunately, being such a long haul midweek and with Jenson currently partying in Las Vegas, there was no LH representation in Blackburn tonight, for what was, I am sad to say, a very predictable outcome.

Much has been said throughout the season about Redknapp's inability to field a settled side for consecutive games, but even the most ardent of R's fans, couldn't help but be shocked and indeed, worried when tonight's line up was announced;

QPR Green; Simpson, Dunne, Young, Assou-Ekotto (Yun 77); Hoilett, Henry, Benayoun, Carroll (Maiga 68); Morrison; Keane (Austin 68).
Subs not used: Murphy, Donaldson, O’Neil, Zamora.


The surprises being starts for the 'I just cannot be arsed' Assou-Ekotto, Will Keane of which we are all still waiting to see just what exactly this lad offers and how on earth did he ever get signed by Man United and a shock return for the almost forgotten man, Luke Young. If there was ever a midfield to not warrant playing against a team from the North, it would not have Carroll and Benayoun in it..

But there again, most R's fans questioned the line up for the Middlesbrough away game which saw a 3-1 winning return.. so would this happen again??

No of course not..

I searched unsuccessfully for a stream on kick off time, but by the time I had given up and looked for audio sources elsewhere, we were already behind after a 9th minute goal from Gestede.

The reports coming through on the social media from people at the game, were by no means favourable and shortly after the half time break, we were 2 down - Spurr's effort apparently squirming under Rob Green before finding the net.

If I am honest, my interest was now below zero and my next glance at the football was at full time and to make it worse, those from down the road had scored a late winner to progress to the Champions League Semi Final. A very depressing football evening indeed..

and now for a moan...

Well, we know about the injuries and we know about all the loanees but it is puzzling to see and explain just how this season has turned out like it has. At the end of the game tonight, we currently sit in fourth spot, a mile away from the auto spots but with a nine point cushion for the play off positions. Now if there is any team in a false position, I am afraid it's us. Things have not been quite the same since McClaren left us for Derby and an absolutely dreadful transfer window has seen this season simply just fizzle out.

The amazing thing is, at the end of May, we could well be celebrating our return to the Premier League!! But personally, I would rather just write off this season and build again in the Championship next season. I know I am not alone in thinking that promotion could be an absolute disaster as all HR would do, is convince TF that he will need several more players in order for us to compete and the same mistakes would happen all over again..

We seriously would, be better off staying down for another season, dare I say with a new Manager? and a partner for Charlie Austin. That is all we will need and we can start bringing through promising and hungry youngsters such as Hitchcock, Harriman, Ehmer and Petrasso etc and off loading some of the expensive mistakes we continue to make. Use the loan system, but use it wisely, not bring in so many that we don't have enough room to play them all and continually rotate the team to accommodate them. It would help also, if they were at least interested in playing for our beloved club..

I will sign off now and await Harry Redknapp's latest bout of excuses and what a great club, Blackburn are with a fantastic history etc (no disrespect intended Rovers fans)

Lee will return at the weekend following the live TV clash with Forest, with hopefully some more refreshing things to report on..

Come on you R'sssssssssss!!!





Sunday, April 06, 2014

Lewis Grabbs the Points for Bournemouth..


Bournemouth 2-1 QPR

QPR missed yet another golden opportunity to close the gap on Burnley, with a disappointing defeat, albeit to a very much in form Bournemouth side at the Goldsands Stadium this afternoon..




With Jenson attending a friends wedding, I took the wheel for my first away drive this season and despite being held up on the M25 for a good hour, I picked up PK from Burnham at 11.30 before making the short trip to the seaside. We met up with Lee, Jess, Sam and 2 friends, Ryan and Shaun at the services to discuss our Grand National selections, before convoying into Bournemouth. Unfortunately, Luke was missing today, taking part in a Charity Football Tournament.

We arrived at the Stadium after a trouble free journey and we all got a very pleasant surprise - as myself and PK were rifling through our pockets for a car park fee, the attendant informed us that to park just a stones throw from the Stadium, would be a pound!! Yes, just one pound!! Great value indeed and really good of Bournemouth not to fleece fans like so many do up and down the country!!

With time creeping on, we made the short walk to the ground and straight in as the rain started to gain momentum. Food and drink were consumed as we all had a catch up before taking our place in the sold out away end.

Onto the game and Rangers did start very well and former R's keeper, Lee Camp was at his best saving well from Jenas's effort from outside the box. Camp was in action again moments later when Hoilett teed up Morrison, who's half volley looped off the ground and was dipping in before Camp tipped it over the bar.

It was then Rob Green's turn to perform heroics at the other end, with a great save from a Kermorgant effort from about 12 yards out. Lewis Grabban then should have done much better, finding himself free on the left before dragging his shot wide.

But in first half stoppage time, the R's went behind in all too familiar fashion, when Harte's corner saw Elphick easily get the better of Dunne before heading home. All to easy for Bournemouth..

It was safe to say that we were all extremely disappointed to be a goal down, especially after a good opening 20 minutes or so and of course, being caught out by the simplest of set pieces.

The despair soon turned to joy as Rangers drew level, just 60 seconds into the second half - Tom Carroll lofted a lovely ball into the path of Traore, who drove to the bye line before firing smartly past Camp before celebrating with the away end.



Bournemouth then went on the attack and Green was forced into action again, tipping over a fierce drive from Pugh. But on the hour, the home side regained their lead, Dunne was again found wanting as Kermorgant drifted past him, his effort was deflected across the face of the goal before the impressive, Lewis Grabban fired in from close range.

Rob Green again, prevented Bournemouth from extending their lead, turning Arter's effort over the bar. With 25 minutes to go, R's fans certainly had a sight for their sore eyes when Charlie Austin made his return from injury, replacing the hapless Maiga. It began to look even more positive for Rangers when 5 minutes later, Arter's two footed tackle on Hoilett saw the referee produce a straight red card.



But the numerical disadvantage only spurred the home side on and Grabban broke free on the left, only too see Green pull off yet another fine save, with his team mates threatening little at the other end.

But in stoppage time, the R's forced a corner. Rob Green joined the attack and this time, the R's didn't play a frustrating short corner and the ball found Dunne who saw his header cleared off the line. The referee brought the proceedings to a halt shortly after.

Thanks to Sam for some excellent photos!!

Queens Park Rangers

  • 01 Green
  • 02 Simpson
  • 39 Assou-Ekotto
  • 10 Carroll
  • 05 Dunne Booked
  • 06 Hill
  • 23 Hoilett
  • 16 Jenas (Benayoun - 72' )
  • 40 Maiga (Austin - 65' )
  • 04 Morrison Booked
  • 03 Traore (Zamora - 80' )

Substitutes

  • 09 Austin
  • 13 Yun
  • 20 Henry
  • 21 Young
  • 25 Zamora
  • 26 Murphy
  • 35 Benayoun


Man of the Match

A near clean sweep, with only Jess differing from the rest of us, but only after a controversial change of mind late on (hehe), picking out Armand Traore for an excellent performance on his return from injury. But for the rest of us, there was no hesitation in our votes for Rob Green.

Away Day Pie Rating

Myself, Lee and PK all went for the Steak and Ale, well, we had little choice with that being the only flavour on offer. We all agreed that the pastry was good, plenty of filling but a big let down with the lack of gravy, making it a very nice but very dry Pie. A unanimous 7/10 from all of us.

As already mentioned, this was another huge opportunity missed with Burnley being held at Watford. If we had taken maximum points in the last two weeks where Burnley have taken just one, it would be a mere 5 point gap instead of the 10 that it is now, which means it will more than likely be the play offs for us, and it looks as though the players have already long since settled for that.

Post match comments from Harry Redknapp have been baffling, in saying that Hoilett and Morrison didn't hurt the opposition enough. Now, for the first 25 minutes, Rangers channelled almost all of their attacking play through Hoilett. Once Bournemouth had sussed this out, they doubled up on him and that also led to a huge improvement in their play as their confidence grew. Morrison did actually seem the most negative he has during his time here, where he would lay the ball off when perhaps, having a real run and go at a firm Cherries backline may have had more success. Redknapp also stated we were too predictable?? Excuse me Mr Redknapp, you are the Manager, this is your job to change things if things aren't working. But I guess when things normally don't work for Harry, he buys or loans in another player, something you can't do during a game.

As much as I like both players, Hill and Dunne does not work in the middle of defence with Dunne being found wanting again several times today. A lively attack are going to have a field day and when fit again, Onouha must be the choice to partner Clint Hill.

In saying all this, I must credit Bournemouth, who are on a superb run and you can see why, they work their socks off!! Such heart, passion, hunger and desire is a pleasure to watch, even more so if it were to be shown by the players in Blue and White Hoops. Bournemouth thoroughly deserved their three points today.

As for the Play Offs, well, they are all about momentum, something Bournemouth are showing at the moment and it wouldn't surprise me at all if they sneaked into 6th place. But momentum is clearly something that is lacking at QPR and if indeed, we do make the dreaded play offs and stumbling across the line like we seem to be now, there will be no need for Mr Fernandes to order their Wembley suits just yet...

Our defeat, as well as Derby's, has ensured promotion with 6 games to go, for Leicester City and much deserved it is too. Our Congratulations go out to them and all involved!!

I will return in the week following another tricky away encounter at Blackburn on Tuesday night..

Come on you R'ssssssssss!!


Thursday, April 03, 2014

LH Talks to Cherry Chimes..


Earlier this season, we were asked to do a Q and A for excellent AFC Bournemouth blog, Cherry Chimes. Well, site Author, Peter Bell must have liked us as he has come back for another round of questions ahead of Saturday's match against the Cherries.

The link for the latest Q and A and indeed, Peter's excellent blog can be found here..

Cherry Chimes

Enjoy!!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Goodwillie Ensures R's Cock Up Golden Opportunity......


Rangers' returned to Loftus Road following on from Tuesday nights excellent victory against Wigan as Blackpool were the visitors. Blackpool have not won away since November, surely this was a certain three points for the R's?

The gang arrived at the ground with Sam and Jenson the only members not in attendance due to family commitments and a stag do respectively.
We all enjoyed seeing Burnley suffer defeat to Champions elect Leicester which also meant that we could close the gap on Burnley to seven points if we could gain the all important three points.
The gain were all in high spirits following Tuesday's battling performance and were expecting to see a victory as long as we showed the same grit and determination, otherwise who knows what would happen.

Surprisingly there were three changes from Tuesday's winning eleven. Joey Barton and Kranjcar missed out through injury as Benayoun missed out through suspension and were replaced by Karl Henry, BAE(WHY?!?) and Will Keane(WHY?!?).

Rangers' started the game in what looked like the same 5-3-2 formation, with Hughes and BAE as the wing backs, the same formation that failed miserably at Charlton in the 1-0 defeat.
The same lacklustre tempo was showing in the opening exchanges and the team did not look as if they knew how they were supposed to play with each other and the lack of understanding was clear for all to see.
Blackpool were made to look like a good side as for the duration of the 90 minutes we were playing with ten men as Will Keane run around like a headless chicken and whenever a ball was played to him he run away from it before complaining like a little b!tch every time. How he's a Man United player I really do not know! It's a shame they didn't lose today as they may of wanted to recall him, fat chance that will happen if they see this performance!!
Anyway as I was saying, Blackpool were looking like a good side as they moved the ball around their defence and midfield with some fluidity and were able to capitalise on the space yielded by the R's as they opted to play with two 'strikers'. Off the back of this Blackpool took the lead with their second effort at goal.
Blackpool's corner from the R's left was flicked on by Basham towards the far post and Goodwillie evaded the attention of Dunne to nod home from close range! Shocking defending by our defence as Zamora was too late to challenge Basham and then Dunne was too casual in losing Goodwillie and letting the Scottish International get one of his easiest goals of the season.
You would've thought that this would spark live into the home side, however this proved not the be the case as we looked totally imbalanced and clueless in terms of going forward. If it wasn't for Ravel Morrison then I think we could've been looking at a potential Blackpool second as Goodwillie run through on Green's goal, however his effort was sliced well wide when he had two team mates awaiting a pass to the back post.
Rangers' had a clear penalty shout waved away when McMahon (I think) seemed to outstretch an arm to control a high cross field ball that was intended for Zamora and when it hit his arm we all expected to see a point to the spot, however it was waved away!
Aaron Hughes limped off on 32 minutes and he was replaced by the returning Danny Simpson. It didn't take long for Simpson to get himself involved as he was on hand to throw himself at BAE's cross and force the first real save that Gilks had to make in the first half.

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As the players exited the pitch Green was still clearly fuming at the decision to not award a penalty for the handball and vented his frustration at the linesman who had a clear view of it and could've helped his fellow assistant out with the decision, however he, like many other linesmen decided to keep quiet and not do the right thing in awarding the spot kick.
At half time we were all deeply frustrated as we could clearly see that Keane is well out of his depth here and making no impact at all, he needed to be replaced as he was offering absolutely nothing except being a handicap for our aspirations of getting back into the game.
It was also clear that BAE really does not want to be here and his distinct lack of effort was hugely frustrating, especially when we have Yun Suk-Young on the bench who was Man of the Match at Middlesbrough seeing that frizzy haired cnut walk straight back in the team when he clearly wants to be back at Spurs! I'm sure there are plenty of R's fans that would happily volunteer to drive both Keane and BAE back to their clubs were they belong and let the youngsters we have in our armoury like Petrasso a chance to shine.

The second change was made at the interval as Onuoha made way for Junior Hoilett. We can only assume a bump to the head that Onuoha took in the first half was the reason he was the casualty for Hoilett's introduction rather than BAE.
Hoilett made an immediate impact as he became only the second R's player to show any attacking threat by running at the Blackpool defence, the other of course being Morrison, as Hoilett dragged his first shot wide of Gilks goal.
Morrison then saw he had a fellow team mate who also wanted to take the game by the scruff of the neck and soon got himself in on the act as he fired two powerful efforts on goal, however they were right down the throat of Gilks who saved easily.
Morrison then continued his ambush on the Blackpool defence, this time he turned them inside out beating three defenders before he was hacked down however yet again we were left frustrated by the lack of decision being made in our favour.
Zamora was then pulled off and replaced by Maiga, what more can I say?
Just as it was not looking to be our day at all due to poor play and poor tactical decisions we actually equalised!
Morrison and Hoilett linked up before the latter skipped past two challenges and fired across goal into the bottom corner! A well taken goal and gave us some much needed confidence going into the final ten minutes of the game.
Shortly after the equaliser Blackpool were given a great opportunity to seal the winner as Dunne was caught being far too casual once again but the resulting effort on goal went out for a throw in! That pretty much sums up the 90 minutes we had to endure!

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A truly diabolical result and all but ends our threat to Burnley's automatic promotion charge as we have an outside chance of gaining second, however it's certain that we have a play off place and now need to concentrate on finishing third, avoiding playing Derby and Wigan in the process.
I've had my moans about Keane and BAE, as far as I'm concerned we need to keep them away from the squad as we have other players within it who are more worthy of a place within it and will fight more for the shirt.
Hoilett made a real impact when he come off the bench and in all honesty I cannot understand why he's not been starting, yes he is a frustrating player, however he is one of those who will always give it 100% and produce a rare moment of magic. He and Morrison looked like the only people on the pitch today that would threaten in front of goal and if it wasn't for them our goal threat would've been minimal.

Onto our Man of the Match. A near clean sweep today as Luke voted for Karl Henry but the winner with votes from Jess, Lofty, PK, Lorna and myself is Junior Hoilett as he totally changed the game for the R's and made us a more attacking threat along with Morrison.

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Lofty will return next Saturday as we face an uphill battle against Eddie Howe's Bournemouth side.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Rangers' Enjoy a Bit More Rob of the Green.........


Tuesday evening the R's looked to continue their winning ways having been fortuitous at Middlesbrough courtesy of the bobble late in injury time as we played hosts to a team very much in form, Wigan Athletic.

With this being an evening kick off the gang were slightly depleted as Sam looked after her twins and PK attended his work duties. Jess missed the opening 20 minutes of the game due to train issues. Lofty, Jenson and I all met up at the usual parking area before heading to the new Jerk Chicken van which is now at the end of Sawley Road and sampled the new flavour on offer from there. I have to say we all highly recommend it for food, it was certainly appreciated by us three and they will certainly get more custom off of us in the future!
We then took the short walk down to the box office to meet Luke and Trev for a catch up before we entered the ground to take up our usual positions as we then met Michael and Zach who kindly let us know what happened at Boro on Saturday and rubbed in how we missed out on seeing Zamora's wonder goal.

Two changes were made to the starting eleven from Saturday as Richard Dunne returned in the place of Saturday's Man of the Match Yun Suk-Young. Also there was a starting place for the rejuvenated Bobby Zamora in place of the ineffective Will Keane.

Rangers' started the opening exchanges well and always looked threatening down our left hand side with Clint Hill almost playing the role of a wing back, however Wigan were also looking extremely dangerous on the counter attack, with McClean's pace and trickery always threatening to turn Dunne and Hill inside out as he beared down on the R's defence on the counter attack.
It was Wigan who come the closest first of all as Chelsea loanee(or reject as we like to call him) Josh McEachran's free kick fizzed just wide of Rob Green's left post from 20 yards out.
The deadlock was broken on the quarter hour mark in what was a great team move by the R's.
Carroll's corner was cleared out to Barton, who was 30yards from goal. Barton then thumped a cross field ball to Kranjcar, who controlled the ball on a sixpence before threading the ball to Carroll. He then pulled the ball back into the path of Clint Hill, who then superb back heeled the ball past the Wigan defender and into the path of Yossi Benayoun who slid well before poking home past Ali Al-Habsi to get the all important first goal of the game.
This did very little to break the spirits of the visitors who looked to get back on level terms and continue their 10 game unbeaten streak.
James Perch was next to take aim at the R's goal but only found Green in good form as he beat the ball away to safety.
Wigan came even closer just past the half hour mark as Collison wriggled free down the R's right side of defence and saw his shot hit the legs of Green before the R's goalkeepers trailing arm prevented the ball rolling into the back of the net and out for a corner instead.
The final let off of the half came when McClean broke clean through to be one on one with Green and took one too many touches before firing the ball across goal and wide of the far post, massive let off!!

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At half time there was a pleased gang as the R's performance showed the grit and determination that had previously been lacking in our performances. We were saved on many occasions by Nedum Onuoha and Clint Hill as they swept up any potential Wigan attacks that were threatening. The R's were also very grateful to Rob Green and the five saves he was forced to make in the first half. We also saw flashes of effortless brilliance from Ravel Morrison that gave us the attacking impetus as we looked to break on the counter. The one that sparked debate in the half time discussions was the performance of Tom Carroll. Lofty and I were full of praise as he was enjoying his best half of football for us in a long time, however Luke and Trev were not as convinced as us.

Onto the second half and Wigan picked up exactly where the first half ended, with the visitors in clear control of the game and if it wasn't for some desperate yet effective defending from the R's then we could've found ourselves back on level terms.
Five minutes into the second half and it was very nearly all level as Ramis header looped towards goal before hitting the top of the crossbar!
Rangers' finally started to find some rhythm past the hour mark and had a glorious chance to double their lead as Zamora broke clear of the Wigan defence and had all the time in the world to pick a place for his shot to end up, however he took too much time despite being one on one with Al-Hasbi. He ended up teeing up Benayoun, however his shot was blocked by the Lactics defence.
It wasn't until this point that we realised that Gary O'Neil had actually come on at half time for Niko Kranjcar.
Rangers' again presented them with a great chance to extend their lead as Aaron Hughes' cross was met by Benayoun, however his effort sailed over.
The game was becoming increasingly stretched out and just when it looked like McClean had squirmed his way through on goal once again it was that man Hill that made a perfectly timed challenge to deny them of what would've been a certain goal.
Then came the turn of Ravel Morrison as his free kick, after Barton had been fouled, was struck beautifully before beating Al-Habsi, only to smash the underside of the crossbar and bounce as far as Zamora, who could not convert into a partially open goal.
As the game entered injury time Jordi Gomez attempted to run at the R's defence from deep in midfield, however as he ran across Benayoun he decided to take an easy tumble under minimal contact which earned Benayoun his second yellow card and sent for a slightly early bath.
There was still time for one more Wigan attack after this when substitute Nicky Maynard looked to of placed his header wide enough of Green, however the R's 'keeper flung himself to his left to pull off a stunning save and protect the three points for the R's.

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Usually I would make a sarcastic comment amount small travelling away support, however I will applaud the 200-300 travelling fans that made the long trip to Loftus Road on a cold Tuesday night. They certainly done their best to get behind their team.
I can quite easily say that had the game ended in a draw then it would've been what Wigan warranted as they are a very good side that plays good attacking football which was coupled in with hard work for once another, you can see how they went 10games unbeaten. They will definitely be in the play offs come May if they continue playing in the fashion in with. They have a great manager who will to good things to the club as well.


Man of the Match time now. Mentions go to Bobby Zamora for his hard work and really putting a shift in over the course of the 90 minutes. Nedum Onuoha are also worth of mentions from us, however a vote from Jess for Clint Hill's immense defensive performance. The remainder of the votes are a clean sweep from the gang tonight means our Man of the Match is Rob Green who made countless saves in order to keep us in the lead and bringing the three points home.



I shall return on Saturday as we look to continue the good run of form when Blackpool visit Loftus Road.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

'Bobble' Zamora...


Middlesbrough 1-3 QPR

Rangers finally got that little bit of luck that has been deserting them all season, which saw them snatch a very late victory in injury time at the Riverside yesterday...


As mentioned the other night, it was a collective decision from us all not to make the long ol poke up to the North East for this one, with very much a case of a been there, done that scenario for us. The gutless lay down and die showing in Sheffield did nothing but enhance the decision, but little did anyone know what was going to unfold before us..

Well, what usually happens when work find out I am not attending a game, is that I am often dragged in, which was the case yesterday, but I was home just before 3 to hopefully find a stream and sit and watch the game.

Rangers actually started well and Barton tested keeper, Konstantopoulos ( who from now will be referred to as the home keeper), who parried his powerful effort into the path of Carroll who saw his effort saved by the feet of the home keeper. Shortly after, Butterfield brought a decent save out of the returning Rob Green, but could have done a bit better minutes later as Boro took the lead - Friend forced his way into the box, got a fortunate ricochet of Barton before firing low, the ball squirming from Green's hands, he tried to scoop the ball out but it was already over the line and helped on it's way by Adomah.

Rangers looked completely out of sorts at this point and Boro were dominating and Whitehead's effort was deflected over before Friend again tried his luck at Rob Green. But shortly before the break, Rangers stepped it up a bit and Morrison saw his 20 yard effort tipped over by the home keeper. The resulting corner saw the ball fall to Benayoun who completely skied his effort some way over from close range.

But just before the break, he redeemed himself and brought Rangers level - great work from Morrison on the left, set up Kranjcar who's effort deflected into the path of Benayoun who fired high into the net for his first QPR goal.



Onto the second half and after Adomah's effort was comfortably saved by Green, it looked then if anyone was going to win the game it would be Rangers. Morrison and Kamara got involved in a bit of pushing and shoving following a late tackle from the on loan Rangers man. Both received a yellow card - as did Joey Barton for being there and for being Joey Barton, much to the delight of the home crowd.

Hoilett tested the home keeper and Morrison's superb individual effort flew just wide as the game was petering out towards a point apiece. In stoppage time, George Friend sent a powerful effort inches wide from the edge of the box and Boro could smell a late winner.

Rangers then managed to clear their lines but as Omeruo sent his pass back towards the home keeper, the ball bobbled and the home keeper took an air shot - Bobby Zamora had continued to chase the ball down and got his reward , taking control of the loose ball, taking a couple of touches before tapping into the empty net. He stood there, arms aloft and looking amazed before heading to the away end to celebrate. I can only imagine the bedlam amongst the R's faithful!!

But the late drama wasn't over - a long ball was flicked on by that man Zamora, into the path of Morrison who advanced forward, cut to the edge of the box to finish brilliantly with his left foot to make the points safe for the R's and grab his 5th goal in 7 games.



Queens Park Rangers

  • 01 Green
  • 18 Hughes
  • 13 Yun
  • 17 Barton Booked
  • 15 Onuoha
  • 06 Hill
  • 35 Benayoun (O'Neil - 76' Booked )
  • 10 Carroll Booked
  • 12 Keane (Zamora - 64' )
  • 04 Morrison Booked
  • 19 Kranjcar Booked (Hoilett - 61' )

Substitutes

  • 02 Simpson
  • 23 Hoilett
  • 25 Zamora
  • 26 Murphy
  • 36 O'Neil
  • 38 Donaldson
  • 42 Petrasso
Man of the Match

Happily the texts started to come in shortly after the final whistle. Lee and Jenson picked out the impressive Yun Suk-Young at left back, Jess and Luke went for Zamora, Luke didn't see the game but gave his award for late goal, which was much the same for Jess's award. Sam didn't see the game and myself, voted for another commanding display and a superb goal for Ravel Morrison. Which leaves a tie and an Editor's choice to make for myself... and I will go against my original vote and give it to our newly found Super Sub -  Bobby Zamora!

In summary, Rangers deserved their victory for a decent second half performance although be it in bizarre circumstances. But as mentioned, it was nice to see the R's finally get that bit of luck that turned a good performance into the win they deserved. Maybe, just maybe this will be the kick start to a commanding run in of which now we have a home game double header.

Lee will return in the week as the R's take on Wigan on Tuesday evening...

Come on you R'ssssssssss!!