Lofty Heights... 'Ohhh Bobby Zamooooora!!!'

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

Saturday, January 17, 2015

United We Fall......

Today saw a traditional fans London Derby as the R's played host to the red half of Surrey as Man United made the trip to Loftus Road. Both teams were looking to get back on track after defeats for both sides last weekend dented their momentum and desperately needed a win to ease the pressure that has been surrounding both clubs for different reasons at different ends of the table.

This weeks focus has largely revolved around Harry Redknapp and the increasing pressure he is under at the helm as the cracks behind the scenes have begun to filter out as the unrest around the club grows from players out of favour and impatient fans expecting more. Shaun Wright-Phillips came out this week to reveal that Redknapp swore at him after he asked what he needed to do in training to give himself a chance. Firstly what I say is SWP needs to man up, if Redknapp swore at him then he such stand and fight for his right as an employee of the club and secondly the interview that he spoke in he came across very well, I'm not defending him as he's not been a great player for us over the past three to four years but at least he seems to have some fight about him and that's more than some others have shown in recent weeks!
I'll have a rant after I've given a lowdown on the match.....

A customary late entrance from Jess and I meant that we could not have the usual pre-match talk outside and instead we met up inside with Lofty, Sam, Luke, PK and Jenson for a brief but good catch up and share our views on what we felt would happen today, especially after seeing the team!
It was also good to see some old faces as Dan showed up for the big game knowing that the pre and post match entertainment in the pub could far outshine the events of the ninety odd minutes we were about to witness, nonetheless it was good to see the old bugger! I also managed to have a good chat with Kempy, Kris and Bob, with my and Bob putting the Rangers' world to rights and a lot of good points being made by Bob and I will share some of those after the game as well!

Onto the team news.
Two changes were made from the Burnley defeat as Caulker was dropped following his terrible showing up north and following him on the bench was Taarabt, who in Harry's words "Had a good game and worked hard for the team" great to see his work ethic paying dividends by dropping to the bench! Onuoha and Zamora came in as the replacements.

Embedded image permalink

The R's started the game tentatively and it was clear to see that the United midfield were outnumbering the pairing of Barton and Henry as they continuously got stretched by the movement in the middle being orchestrated by Rooney and Mata whilst relying on the pace of Di Maria to catch out our centre backs and provide space for Falcao to penetrate into. It was clear to see that we needed the help of an additional body in the midfield and this saw Austin drop deeper to help out but this also left us short on the counter attack and more often than not the out ball was a long ball to Zamora and the ball would come straight back at us.
United's passing, as much as it pulled players out of position, did not mean that they troubled Rob Green's goal all too often but when he was called into action he was on hand to make a phenomenal double stop from Falcao from point blank range!
R's did have chances to go ahead themselves once they started to keep the ball on the floor and use the footballing ability that some of our attacking players have.
Firstly Vargas' deft lob following Zamora's flick on skimmed just over the bar and then that man Zamora flicked the ball into the path of Austin and the volley was well saved by De Gea as he palmed it away.
Austin forced De Gea into a great save on the half hour when his volley swerved in front of De Gea before the United 'keeper superbly tipped over the bar! It's a shame it was so close to him, but a good stop regardless!

Embedded image permalink

We went into the half time break pretty happy with what we'd seen, the effort was definitely there for the players and they looked to be fighting for their under pressure manager and were deservedly level. We met Michael who was happy to confirm what Lofty, PK and Jenson were saying, the current performance was much improved from last Saturday but we needed to remain switched on and not make any silly errors if we were to get anything out of today.

Both teams made a change at half time with Richard Dunne making way for Caulker, we can only assume this was due to an injury? Felliani came on for United in the place of Mata.
Soon after the interval United had a golden opportunity to take the lead as Falcao beat the offside trap and looked to head Di Maria's cross past Green, only to see the R's 'keeper in fine form once again and palm the ball away to safety! A truly magnificent save that we can all enjoy watching on Match of the Day tonight.
However this did not deter United and they took the lead on the hour mark.
Valencia's run down the United right saw him gain space to pull back to Felliani and somehow the ball found it's way to the Belgian's feet and he smashed the ball into the roof of the net past the despairing Green, who got a hand to it but simply could not prevent the powerful drive hitting the back of the net. Felliani rushed off to celebrate in the United dugout, for a brief second we thought he was celebrating with Rio, but he remained seated in the R's dugout.
The R's pressed and looked to get the counter attack working once again and they had a glorious opportunity to level the game when Vargas cut out a loose pass on the halfway line and sprinted towards the United goal in a three on two attack. Vargas soon looked like he had no idea what to do as his team mates were in acres of space but instead he shaped to shoot before then deciding to pass and giving the ball straight back to Jones, who then cleared to safety. It really looked like a simple opportunity to pass to Austin or even shoot across goal and hope that if it was saved that it would be parried out in the path of Austin or Zamora, instead neither of the outcomes happened!
Rangers' continued to push and the late arrivals of Taarabt and Kranjcar, two similar players in our ranks, were not enough to break the United defence despite a late chance
that fell to Isla but once again De Gea was on form to save at the near post.
In the final minute of injury time, or Fergie time as we used to call it, the victory was sealed as United broke away on a quick counter attack saw only three R's player bother to chase back as Wilson left them in his wake only to see Green pull of a great save once again only for the rebound to be left for Wilson to pick up once again as the defenders stood stationary to allow Wilson to pick up the rebound and slot home.

Having completed my short journey home I have seen a lot of R's fans moaning about today but let's honestly look at this, we played well today, lacked the cutting edge up front and narrowly lost to a United side that are in transition and we fought until the very end. We as fans ask for the players to put everything into the ninety minutes and we can say that the majority of the players done that today and we just were not good enough to get the win on this occasion.
You can single out a few players for excellent performances today with Green, Isla and Henry picking up many of plaudits from the gang and I'll happily throw in Onuoha's name into the hat as he barely put a foot wrong himself.

Onto our Man of the Match. A close vote today, with only Luke going in a different direction to the rest of us as he picked out Barton today. With three votes from Jess, Lofty and Jenson was Karl Henry's excellent performance in the heart of the midfield. Also with three votes coming from Sam, PK and myself was Rob Green for keeping us in the game for the entire game and making several outstanding saves.
This means we go to Editors Choice for today and I am sticking to my original vote and giving the award to Rob Green!

So here we go, my rant as promised!!
Let's just remind ourselves of who we are, we are QPR, a great family orientated football club with fans who are used to experiencing more lows than highs and why do we put ourselves through the pain of being a QPR fan? Because we love the club, we love being an underdog and not because we are expected to be one of these poncy clubs that is going to win or going to being in contention for winning many trophies, we enjoy winning and we also take losing better than any other fan, we're used to it and expectations have never been too high as we are realistic about our club, the personnel and what we can achieve.
Unfortunately over the past ten years some people have got used to some of the success we have enjoyed with the promotions but with that have come relegations that others have chose not to accept when really we were expected to be in the dog fight from the start. We have been lucky enough to have some fantastic people in charge of the club with Tony Fernandes ploughing plenty of money into the club and the transfer activity and there have been times that he may of been mis-advised by his managers and people around him and he's been the main one to carry the can when in fact it's not his fault, he's just ensuring that he gives the managers the resources they want in  order to make us as successful as they feel they can make us.
Fernandes along with Amit Bhatia, Lakashmi Mittal and the other high powers at the club want to make the club as successful as they can be and with that will be the highs and lows before they can then establish ourselves as a stable Premier League club.

With all this being said I see lots of people moaning directly at Fernandes and giving him some much un-needed abuse via Twitter when he's in the midst of trying to sort out the details of the tragic Air Asia plane crash that happened some weeks ago and his views are clearly on this as it was something that has affected many families and this is far more important than football right now. He has fellow board members taking control of the important matters at Loftus Road so he can concentrate on this. Despite all of this, are the events that happen on the football field all down to Mr Fernandes?? Of course they are not, they are down to Harry Redknapp with the squad he himself has assembled and the 47 strong coaching staff that Redknapp himself has appointed yet the basics of coaching simply are not happening when they cross that white line every Saturday. Simple defensive errors are being made week in, week out and what do we get at the end of every game, excuse after excuse which have been beginning to become tiresome with the majority of us and what we want to see is a team going out there, giving it everything they have and making us proud of them representing our team. If that is achieved every week then we have very little to moan about.

With all that being said, do we need a change of manager? If we are going to change things it needs to happen now whilst we have a two week break so a new manager can come in and assess the current squad and bring in a few players that they feel we need to freshen things up and get us performing to a higher level than we have been recently. Will it happen? Who knows!

With all this being said, regardless of whether Redknapp remains in charge or not I will be supporting this team with the same passion that I have for the last 25 years that I have been visiting Loftus Road because it's in my blood, just like I know all of you that are reading will.
QPR is in our blood, we are all here because our Mum's, Dad's and family members are all QPR fans and we were made to follow in there footsteps to support a proper club with great traditions and some amazing fans that know what being a Superhoop is all about.
Rather than bitching and moaning about some of the sh!t that we may witness, let's actually support the team, regardless of who is in charge and get behind the team that pull on those Blue and White Hooped(with a big white bit at the back) shirts and support, encourage and help them in the battles that we are going to be going into week after week! (Thanks to Bob for helping inspire this!)

We'll all be here supporting this club for many years to come so let's get behind everyone that comes into Loftus Road and more importantly.....

Keep The Faith!!!!

Lofty will return following our visit to Stoke. Enjoy the two week break!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Same Outcome with the Same Old Excuses..

Burnley 2-1 QPR

It seems I sit here and write these notes after an away game when all I really need to do is copy and paste the opening paragraph.. but as you are no doubt all aware by now, Rangers away day woes continued away at Burnley, making that 10 out of 10 defeats on the road this season, setting a new record along the way...

Now, despite horrendous conditions, the trip there and back for myself, Jenson and PK was surprisingly trouble free and the ease was most welcome. Since returning home not so long ago now, I logged online to start compiling this report and perhaps stupidly, clicked the play button on a video of Harry Redknapp's post match press interview and as said in the opening paragraph about writing away day notes, the same could be said of a Redknapp interview following a defeat - and this was no different at all as the regular excuses began to flow..

But what really got under my skin on this occasion, is when he stated that 8 of the team playing today were playing in the Championship last year?? He also stated that in said season, that we finished miles behind Burnley and Leicester and we are where we are? What an absolute crock of bullshit.  My I remind you, Mr Redknapp is that a matter of weeks ago, we beat both Leicester and Burnley at home!! Did we hear you bemoaning the 'Championship' squad then?? No, of course not..

So, what exactly are you saying here, Harry? That our squad isn't good enough? Are you moaning or have the hump because Tony Fernandes is not giving you another large bundle of cash to spend on players in this current Transfer Window to bail you out of the shit yet again? The last few interviews he has made it very clear that we are after a couple of loans and that's it. He then went onto say that Austin and Zamora are the only strikers he has at the club!?! I'm sorry Mr Redknapp but you have been here long enough now and our very generous Chairman has given you more than enough resources to build your squad! This is YOUR team and you must start taking some responsibility because quite frankly, the excuses we are hearing every time we get beat, are wearing extremely thin now..

And then there is Adel Taarabt..

Adel was in the squad today despite being publically slated by Redknapp a while ago for being 3 stone overweight, not training, not wanting to play football etc. Now the Taarabt debate has certainly divided the R's support and myself personally, I feel that if the above is true and that he doesn't want to train or indeed be here, then he should go. But in saying that, he was certainly our best player today..

Onto the game and as I have one eye on MOTD as I am writing this, the goals look no better. We were actually looking very dangerous going forward in the first half with Austin hitting the post and Vargas bringing a fine save from Heaton. But the defending at the other end was shocking to say the least.

Don't get me wrong, they were excellent finishes from Arfield and Ings, but Arfield skipped a half hearted challenge from Isla far too easily before turning Dunne and Barton before slotting home.. and Caulker should have done far better with the lofted ball over to Ings who gave him a little nudge, held him off before side footing home. Between that, Charlie Austin fired home from the penalty spot after being brought down by Dean Marney.

Despite having plenty of the ball in the second half, Rangers threatened little and if anyone was going to add to the scoring, it would be the home side - and they did have a third goal from Barnes chalked off for a foul on Green, which to say the least, seemed a bit harsh.

In the final seconds of the game, Rangers forced two late corners, one of which saw Caulkers header tipped over by Heaton. But Redknapp telling Rob Green in apathetic fashion to stay in his goal and not come forward, was baffling to say the least..

Queens Park Rangers
  • 01 Green
  • 14 Isla
  • 22 Dunne
  • 04 Caulker
  • 06 Hill (Traore - 75' Booked )
  • 24 Vargas (Zárate - 76' )
  • 20 Henry (Zamora - 69' )
  • 08 Barton Booked
  • 10 Fer
  • 27 Taarabt
  • 09 Austin


  • 03 Traore
  • 07 Phillips
  • 12 McCarthy
  • 15 Onuoha
  • 17 Mutch
  • 25 Zamora
  • 29 Zárate
Man of the Match

Lee texted through his choice of Isla but after myself and PK changed our minds from our original choices of Fer and Green, we agreed with Jenson's choice and went with Adel Taarabt.

By now I'm sure you have seen or heard the reports of certain players getting into arguments with supporters after the game, a subject of which I am not going to dwell on at this time. But what I will say was, that despite the woeful away record, the fans turned out in horrendous conditions once again, in good numbers and during the match, were first class in support of the team. We deserve so much better than to continually hear the crap that Harry Redknapp keeps coming out with..

Lee will return next week as the Man United bandwagon rolls into Shepherds Bush, but until then..

Keep the Faith and Come on you R'ssssss!!

Sunday, January 04, 2015

No Cup Shock as R's are Cut to Shreds by Blades..

QPR 0-3 Sheff Utd

QPR's Annual Early FA Cup Exit was true to form as Sheffield United eased into Round 4 with a deserving 3-0 victory at Loftus Road this afternoon - in a fixture that is more or less as good as a bye into the next round for the opposition when drawn against us..

More in hope than expectation if honest, it was only myself, Jenson and PK that decided we would attend this one. Should we have known better on a bitterly cold afternoon.. most probably. But we were pleasantly surprised when we saw the same line up and despite 7 changes, we all felt, with respect, that it was more than strong enough to deal with Sheffield United..

Well, you will probably be pleased to hear that I am not going to prattle on about this game as to be frank, that showing is really not worthy of any more of my time. But what I will do, is give the credit where it's deserved to Sheffield United. Despite their league status, this was never going to be an easy game, Southampton will add testament to that and they have a great recent cup tradition. But what was the massive difference here is that they wanted it - plain and simple. They worked their socks off for each other, played some excellent football at times and were more than deserving winners on the day. Their 2800 supporters in the away end had a great day and were superb throughout, not only in numbers but in volume.

Best of luck in the next round and indeed for the rest of the season..

Man of the Match

I was very nearly going to abandon this one and not accept any nominations at all, but in discussion with PK and Jenson, we all decided that today's award goes to Sheffield United winger, Jamal Campbell-Ryce, who caused us problems all afternoon and weighed in with two goals, albeit pretty much gifted to him. A mention however, goes to substitutes Isla and Vargas who at least looked like they gave a shit when they came on.

In summary, well, there isn't really much more I can add as it really was as bad as the scoreline suggests. We did discuss midway through the game that, seeing as we had tasted it back in May, how great it would have been if Rangers had taken this competition seriously for a change and have a real go at giving us another great day out at Wembley.. Jenson did add though, that he would get us tickets for Ed Sheeran or One Direction so we would be able to do just that..

Myself, Jenson and PK will be making the long trip to Turf Moor on Saturday as the R's go looking for their first away point of the season. But until then..

Keep the Faith and Come on you R'ssssssssss!!!

Thursday, January 01, 2015

A Fer Result in the end......

The start of 2015 saw Swansea visit W12 as we looked to put Sunday's dross game behind us and begin the year with a positive start!

The gang fully united themselves inside the ground after some trouble free journeys and not one hangover was in sight, a miracle some may say! We were all in good spirits and looking forward to what was going to be an interesting return following from our 2-0 defeat at the Liberty a few weeks ago.

One change was made to the R's side with Junior Toilett dropping to the bench and Vargas replacing him.

Embedded image permalink

Swansea started the opening ten minutes as the team with the upper hand but found it hard to unlock the R's back line.
The R's in fact were lucky not to be reduced down to ten men with just five minutes on the clock when Rob Green came rushing out and clearly handled as he slid outside his penalty area and denied Gomis the chance to go through on goal. What shocked me even more is that no Swansea player even appealed the offense and let it go by. This poor refereeing decision set the tone for what we were to expect from Anthony Taylor for the remaining eighty five minutes of the game.
The let off allowed the R's the chance to settle down and took full advantage half way through the half when Leroy Fer picked up a poor defensive header before taking aim and unleashing an unstoppable drive from twenty yards out!
Rangers' could and should've extended their lead but found Zamora in poor form in front of goal as he wasted two glorious efforts, one a free header and the second being a close ranger from a tight angle.
Swansea themselves were creating chances but found Gomis having an absolute shocker and failed to trouble Green with each shot attempted.

Embedded image permalink

You can say we were happy at half time but also disappointed to of not taken advantage of the opportunities created. It was always going to be a long second half as Swansea were due a period of possession and we has to make the most of the chances made in the second half as they still had Bony to come on and we all know how dangerous he can be!

Five minutes into the second half the R's came close to doubling their lead as Austin hit the post with a header from Isla's cross and a minute later Fer took aim once more but saw his effort deflected just over the bar.
As the half wore on the R's began to sit deeper and deeper, allowing Swansea to pressurize them and saw Austin drop deeper and become more ineffective and Zamora became the target of many more long balls, it was Sunday happening all over again!
The inevitable introduction of that man Bony came with twenty minutes to go and was soon brought into action. His free kick was superbly flighted over the R's wall, only to see Rob Green in fine form and claw the ball out to safety! Amazing save!
This gave Swansea confidence to drive on but with five minutes to go they were reduced down to ten men. Karl Henry went in heavily on Routledge and the foul was rightly awarded but Routledge reacted by pushing Henry whilst he was on the floor and then looked to kick out at Henry as well! Henry was rightly booked for his challenge and just when it seemed Routledge had got away with the crime the linesman stepped in, had a word with Anthony Taylor and the red card was produced, Swans down to ten men, surely the points were a little safer now?
Rangers' looked to close the game out and had a golden opportunity when Toilett was found at the far post and the useless winger scuffed wide, he would've been better off running into the corner!!
As it was Swansea took the goal kick to pile on even more pressure and just over sixty seconds later leveled the game.
Ki found Bony in space as the Ivorian turned and took aim in one movement to find the net and break Rangers' hearts! An absolute kick in the teeth!!

Embedded image permalink

On reflection I'd say a point was a fair result on the amount of chances created but Rangers' should've been home and dry before the late Bony equalizer and only have themselves to blame. Swansea had their fair share of opportunities and had Bony of started then the scoreline may of been very different.
With the transfer window opening on the 3rd January it will be interesting to see who comes into Loftus Road and more importantly who leaves. I think the first person who will be on the list after recent showings will be Toilett and we could also see Traore and Phillips also looking at uncertain futures with the club. There have been a few names mentioned with us so the next few weeks will be interesting!

Our Man of the Match saw several players gain votes with Lofty picking Fer, I chose Henry, Luke chose Isla but with votes from Jess, Sam, PK and Jenson our winner today was Steven Caulker.

Lofty returns on Sunday as he takes over reporting duties for our home FA Cup tie against Sheffield United. With just Lofty, PK and Jenson attending it will be interesting to see who gets picked in the starting eleven and whether we can go past the third round or will there be another replay?

Sunday, December 28, 2014

A Waste of an Afternoon......

We returned to Loftus Road after the Christmas festivities to enjoy what looked like a tasty London Derby against Crystal Palace in a game that neither side wanted to lose. Could we recover from our Boxing Day disappointment at Arsenal?

Just twenty four hours before the game Neil Warnock was given the axe so we could not welcome our former manager back to where he guided us back to the Premier League a few seasons ago.
This came as a shock to ourselves and probably a few of the Palace fans as there were games, like this one, where he could of redeemed himself and gained confidence from the board and fans alike. It was Keith Millen who took caretaker charge yet again for the Eagles.
The gang arrived quite early on at Loftus Road in what was a game that Jess wanted three points from more than any other team as she hates Palace as much as we hate Chelsea and Reading! Early jokes around Lofty, PK and Jenson buying Jess a half and half scarf as a late Christmas present went around when Jess, Sam and myself arrived in our usual meeting point. Zach was already in attendance and Luke arrived slightly later after he was at a kids party early this morning, it's nice to know he has friends close to his mental age.

Several changes were made from the Boxing Day defeat as some of our "better players" returned to the starting line up in a more familiar 4-4-2 formation. The biggest shock was the inclusion of Junior Hoilett to the starting eleven after his shocking exhibition of crossing at the Emirates.

Embedded image permalink

This definitely was not a game for the football purist and in all honesty it's probably the worst game I have attended in a long long time!
The first half had very few chances to note with Austin having a pot shot well held by Speroni and at the other end Puncheon hit the post with a curler and Zaha failed to make the most of the follow up.
The highlight of the half was the minutes applause for former R's defender Clarke Carlisle on five minutes, we all wish him a speedy recovery!

The second half was much the same.
Leroy Fer volleyed just wide and shortly after saw Speroni make a decent save.
Caulker had one cleared off the line by McArthur from a Barton corner as Palace had a late claim for a penalty but Jess informs me that it was a shocking dive!

In-between all that was long ball after long ball after long ball after long ball after long ball...... you get my drift!
As mentioned before this has to be one of the worst games we have been involved in for a while. Palace were playing a long ball game to three pacey wingers who could've forced a mistake out of our defenders, however whenever we played long ball it was always aimed at Zamora and he probably won the ball three or four times during the entirety of the game. It was clear that we needed to change things and get another ball player on the field so we could actually pass the ball around rather that hoofing and hoping! Austin received no service at all today and that's the reason he didn't threaten the Palace goal we we threatened very little overall!! There was no plan b, just hoof it and hope....
As for Hoilett.... I've given up on him! He continues to run down dead ends, doing stepovers and going inside and out rather than doing what he used to be good at, running at people and beating them with pace! The same goes for Phillips, how have we ruined two decent wingers and reduced them to being utter crap?? Barton's delivery was terrible pretty much all game and for me very few players come out of today with any credit at all.

So for our Man of the Match. PK gave his vote to Richard Dunne whilst Lofty voted for Karl Henry who was superb today in my eyes. However with four votes from Jess, Sam, Luke and myself was Maurico Isla. Today we saw how good he could defend and kept a very tricky Bolasie very quiet all game! Let's hope he continues to put in performances like this!

Embedded image permalink

I will return on New Year's Day following our home game against Swansea. One thing can be sure, we won't be getting a sore neck looking up in the air after this game!!

Enjoy the New Year celebrations and here's to a fantastic 2015!!!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

And Arsenal Make it Nine...

Arsenal 2-1 QPR

QPR's search for their first away point of the season, sadly continued as Arsenal were the latest side to cash in a what has become a banker home win..

Firstly, I hope you all enjoyed a fantastic Christmas, as we approach a very busy festive football period and we were all hoping that Rangers could continue with the Christmas cheer..

With it being such a busy period, the Rangers line up had very much the look of having the next two home games firmly in mind..

So again, we find ourselves setting up different for an away fixture and it was very evident from the off that this was a straight back five and yet another lets hope to frustrate the opposition and nick a draw line up...

And Rangers were extremely sloppy in the first half as Arsenal dominated proceedings and in the 9th minute, were given a great chance to start the ball rolling when Traore brought down Sanchez with a complete mess of a tackle - Sanchez himself stepped up but Rob Green's fine form continued as he guessed right and comfortably save the spot kick.. maybe this was to be our day after all.

Rangers offered little and the resistance finally gave in on 37 minutes when Welbeck and Carzorla linked well to find Gibbs on the left, who crossed for the completely unmarked Sanchez to head home and make amends for his earlier miss from the spot.

Onto the second half and Rangers got a surprise way back into the game, as Giroud chased a long ball, shadowed by Onuoha, who as the ball went safe, nudged Giroud slightly and the Frenchman's reaction was to get up and put his head straight into the face of the R's defender - who's reaction to fall to the floor was completely over the top, but there was no doubt it was a pathetic thing to do from the Arsenal striker and a deserved red card followed..

But before Rangers could take any sort of advantage, Arsenal all but made the game safe - some superb work from Sanchez drew out 3 defenders before finding Rosicky on the right who coolly finished with a neat side foot.

As typical as it has been all season, with the game all but lost, Rangers started to play and were given a lifeline on 79 minutes when Hoilett was felled in the box by Debuchy. There was contact but there was no doubt it was a softish penalty of which Charlie Austin smashed home his 12th goal of the season..

Frustratingly, Rangers were now going for it and Hoilett was causing problems on the left side but his final ball was somewhat lacking. Kranjcar's corner was later met by Vargas but was scrambled away by the Arsenal defence. But if the first R's penalty was soft, there was no doubt we should have had a second when Fer crossed for Zamora who was taken out by Gibbs as the R's substitute was about to pull the trigger. A definite penalty waved away by referee Atkinson and the hopes of taking a point were taken firmly away as Arsenal held on..

Man of the Match

Just four votes received this evening with myself singling out Rob Green who's fine form continued in the R's goal. Niko Kranjcar was Jenson's choice but the Boxing Day winner, picked out by Lee and Luke was Steven Caulker.

So, as already mentioned, the away woes continue for QPR. Yes there are positives and we could well have got something out of the game, but it was frustrating yet again that we suddenly come to life with 15 minutes to go when the game is all but lost. Maybe a change of mental attitude away from home is required rather than a change of system and personnel.

We now have two, dare I say, winnable home games ahead of us and Lee will return in a couple of days time as the R's take on Palace at Loftus Road..

Keep the Faith and Come on you R'sssssss!!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Hats Off to Charlie....

This afternoon the R's hosted a West Brom side that were fresh from their derby day victory against Aston Villa and looking to extend the gap between themselves and the bottom three. Could the R's take the boing out of the Baggies and get themselves a much needed win after Monday night's defeat at the hands of Everton.

True to recent form myself and Jess arrived late once again and missed much of the build up to the game with the gang but we did bump into Jack on our way to the ground before happily joining up with Lofty, PK, Jenson and Luke for an unusually confident pre-match chinwag and exchange of Christmas cards before heading up to the Upper Loft.

Four changes were made from the team that lost on Monday night. Isla(personal reasons), Mutch, Hoilett and Phillips were all benched as they were replaced by Caulker, Henry, Zamora and Austin.

Embedded image permalink

The visitors got out of the traps extremely well, being very quick to close down the midfield and defence at every opportunity which in turn lead to the R's mis-placing many passes and were not able to get into any rhythm at all.
The Baggies looked threatening down both wings as Varela and Sessegnon's pace led to Vargas and Fer having to drop deeper, meaning that as the R's trying to break on the counter there was only Austin and Zamora up there to try and hold the ball up and the support was not quick enough to ensure we could take advantage of a West Brom defence that has conceded the least amount of goals on the road out of all the teams in the league.
After spurning two early chances through Gardener and Ideye, Albion took the lead with ten minutes on the clock.
Pocognoli's corner found Lescott unmarked and the former England man made no mistake to head home his first goal since joining the club in the summer.
Ten minutes later the visitors extended their lead. Varela and Sessegnon exchanged passes to release Varela through on goal before slotting underneath Green to double the difference. Green could and maybe should've done better, however it was an excellent one-two that created the space for Varela to break free before scoring.
The silence that was around the ground echoed how stunned we all were that we found ourselves two down after twenty minutes and looking totally out of sorts and really wondering how we were going to come back from this. The next goal was always going to be a key moment and potentially an indicator as to how the game was going to pan out.
Five minutes later a lifeline was given to us. Barton's inswinging corner led to Fer and Morrison coming together, it was not clear what happened but it was enough for referee Pawson to point to the spot. In all honesty I did not see what it was for and West Brom fans were clearly incensed by it so it'll be one to view on Match of the Day!
Austin stepped up and rifled past Foster, who dived the wrong way, relief!!!
This gave the R's a lot more confidence, however the Baggies midfield three were outnumbering Barton and Henry and often left gaping holes either side of them, leaving us susceptible to further attacking threats and the pace of the front three.

Embedded image permalink

Going into the break we were all quite happy, relieved yet still confident that we could get a result from this, which says something about our recent form at home. We just needed to settle ourselves down, get the passing game together and stop playing long to Zamora so often.

I joined Jenson bang on the restart as Lofty and PK remained downstairs a few minutes more, leaving the pair of us to celebrate the early equalizer by ourselves.
Barton's corner was met by the leaping salmon that was Richard Dunne who saw his header clawed out of the top corner, only for that man Austin to stroke home from a few yards out. Game on!!!
Minutes later the West Brom defence was opened up once more as Austin played in Barton, who was through on goal before then being tripped when he was going to be one on one with Foster. How the penalty was not given I do not know!! Livid is the most polite word I can give!!! It will easily be one of the most stonewall penalties you will see this season!
This opened the game up, with both teams looking threatening at either end as the two teams both looking like they could grab another, this one was going to go either way!
Austin was denied a hat-trick on several occasions by Foster, however the top scoring Englishman would not be denied the match ball.
It was yet another Barton corner that was fired in and Austin was on hand to thump home his header and deliver another three home points for the R's!

Embedded image permalink

For once it was three set pieces that led to all the R's goals, which in recent years has been a rarity in W12 but Joey Barton and of course Charlie Austin played a huge part in snatching three points today. Barton did not enjoy his greatest game, in fact I thought he was terrible in the first half but his second half performance more than more up for it as he showed the battling qualities that helped to spur the rest of the team forward whilst also leading from the front as captain and being very vocal throughout the game.
Special praise also has to go to Dunne and Caulker, who despite conceding two goals, were strong and resilient throughout in what was a testing battle against Brown Ideye and Berahino when he came on.
But Charlie Austin, what more can you say about him?? A fantastic centre forward, he may not have a great deal of pace, however he always manages to find himself in those key goal scoring positions and has been the catalyst of our side now for a season and a half. The fact that he has been involved in over 60% of our goals this season shows how essential he is to the success of our side.

Our Man of the Match has been a simple choice, our match winner Charlie Austin!

Embedded image permalink

Lofty will return after our Boxing Day game against Arsenal where anything more than zero points will be a huge bonus!

From myself, Lofty and the gang, we'd like to wish you all and your families a very Merry Christmas!!