Rangers Shine at St Mary's
Southampton 1-2 QPR
Southampton has always been one of my favourite awaydays. It's an absolute breeze to get to and there is never a lack of pre-match entertainment on offer. Most of the pubs are 'away fan' friendly and today's is to be highly recommended to anyone visiting St Mary's stadium. 'Coopers' is about a 5 minute walk from the away end - it welcomes visiting fans with open arms - the food is varied and good - the staff are both friendly and chatty - and they also have matchday promotions, which today, was bottles of Becks at just £1 a go. Needless to say, at these prices, we felt no need to move elsewhere too quickly!
It is also a favourite away day as Rangers have always seemed to get favourable results here. But even with the new Management structure, shortly followed by the good result and performance against Hull last week - even the most optimistic of Rangers fans could not have predicted today's outcome...
... and must have feared the worst when the Saints went ahead through Jermaine Wright on just 3 minutes. But as mentioned last week, John Gregory has got Rangers fighting and working hard, and after weathering the early storm, were level through ex-Saint, Dexter Blackstock - superbly heading home Cook's cross on 34 minutes.
Six minutes later, and the huge Rangers following were celebrating taking the lead - Ray Jones chased what seemed a lost cause, intercepted the ball from the keeper and slotted home from the tightest of angles.
A different Rangers took the field in the second half. When I say different, I mean they went looking for the 3rd goal, rather than sit back and protect what they have - which has been so costly so many times already this season. But despite some late pressure from the home side, and an incredible 5 minutes of stoppage time, Rangers held on for a precious and thoroughly deserved victory!
QPR: P Jones, Bignot, Rehman, Stewart, Rose (Kanyuka 21), Rowlands, Bircham (Lomas 62), Bailey (Smith 62), Cook, R Jones, Blackstock. Subs: Royce, Gallen.
Lofty's Man of the Match - so many to choose from this week. The back line all had a superb game, especially Marcus Bignot who had to act as an emergency left back for the second match running. Martin Rowlands and Lee Cook were both outstanding in midfield and Jimmy Smith looked very promising when he came on. Ray Jones had another fine match, but today's winner almost run himself into the ground against his old club and took his goal superbly - Dexter Blackstock
Awayday Moments - The superb Coopers Pub, the massive and noisy Rangers following, the 'Harry Redknapp' chant at the Southampton fans, a possible new career suggestion for Lofty and finally, a FANTASTIC performance from the R's!!