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

Monday, August 03, 2009

Lee's Latest - Southampton Friendly Report...

QPR 3-0 Southampton

Saturday saw the last friendly before the big kick off and seeing as Lee has attended and reported back from every friendly, on home soil, I thought it would be fitting t let him finish off in what is another excellent account of Saturday's game! Thanks Lee!! Unfortunately, it's back to my drivel next week...


In the final pre season friendly before the big kick off in the Championship next weekend QPR played hosts to Southampton.

Joining me and the 3,164 in attendance for today was Lofty, PK, California Hoop, Iceman and little Aaron. Unfortunately we were missing Corp but hopefully next week the whole mob will be reunited as one once again.

The whole of the Loft and Ellerslie road were closed for today’s friendly so we settled for sitting in the South Africa Road stand for a change. Luckily the view wasn't too bad but it will be nice to return to the comforts of the Upper Loft next weekend and we can say we have returned home for the start of the new season.

With the pitch looking better than ever, Jim Magilton chose a line up which most of us could've predicted. Gary Borrowdale came in for Matt Connolly, who took a knock in the Wycombe friendly on Tuesday night, and Andy Marshall stepped in for Radek Cerny due to illness.

Team (from right to left): - Marshall; Ramage, Hall, Gorkss, Borrowdale; Routledge, Rowlands, Mahon, Balanta; Vine, Agyemang. Subs: - Putnins, Brown, Stewart, Ainsworth, Alberti, Ephraim, Taarabt, Pellicori, Helguson.

From the start PK and California Hoop were on Borrowdale watch to see if my reports on him so far were accurate. In the opening 10minutes Rangers did pass the ball around with ease and it certainly seems as if the players are now settling into the system well and playing what can be some very attractive football. We were looking to pass around before getting out wide to Routledge and Balanta, who can cause problems for any defence and as the game wore on this was well proven.

It was just before the 10 minute mark that Rangers first real probing attack took place. After good work down the left hand side Agyemang collected the ball and managed to win a corner. Routledge took the corner from the left hand side and sent in a teasing ball in which Mahon just missed at the front post but following him in was Gorkss and he rose the highest to nod a powerful header past Kelvin Davis. 1-0!

Rangers continued to play some good passing football and the main threat was coming down the left hand side with Borrowdale and Balanta working well as a unit down that left flank in both attacking as well as a defensive partnership. In fact it was those two individuals that combined and fed in Rowan Vine and if it wasn’t for an excellent last minute challenge then he would've been clean through. Rowlands and Mahon were once again working well in the centre of the field, both were biting at the heels of the Southampton midfielders and pressured them into rushing passes which ultimately helped us gain possession. It was from this pressure that the second goal came around.

Rowlands, just inside the Rangers half on the right hand side, played a delightful cross field ball to the feet of Balanta. He ran at the defence and Borrowdale followed him up the left flank. Balanta passed to Mahon who fed Borrowdale in on the left wing, his cross wasn't the greatest but it caused a mix up between the Southampton defenders and this allowed the ball to drop just inside the 18yard box and Balanta was the first to react and beat the defender to the ball and in doing so placed a lovely right footed effort into the bottom corner. 34 minutes gone and Rangers were 2-0 up and looking very good value for the lead.

Half time soon came around and it was time to try out the delights on offer downstairs at the kiosks. Me, Lofty and California Hoop all opted for the beer option, which personally I thought tasted horrible. PK went for the bitter option and again I don’t think that received a thumbs up either.

Lofty decided to be daring and try the brand new 'Yorkshire wrap' option. This come in either beef or chicken, Lofty went for the beef. It’s a Yorkshire pudding wrapped up with meat running through the middle of it. It smelt good, Lofty gave a good review on it taste wise, it’s just a tad expensive though at £3.50. Little Aaron had chips and a rollover hotdog which he seemed to polish off without any complaints so we have another winner there. Iceman went for the Pukka Cornish pasty (and yes Pukka Pies are back in the building) and he throughly enjoyed that. So it looks as if the catering department is on the up. As the weeks go on I’m sure we will sample as much of the grub as we can.

Before we knew it the second half had begun, and we missed the first 5 minutes of it, oooopppss. When we got back to our seats we noticed that the only change at half time was Helguson on in place of the unimpressive Agyemang. Rangers enjoyed a lot of possession and were still creating chances. Balanta had an effort fly over the bar and a Vine effort was never in danger of troubling Kelvin Davis. It was soon after that effort that Vine came off and on came Taarabt and was shortly followed by Fitz Hall going off, it looked like he was struggling with a bit of a knock, Damion Stewart replaced him and Routledge coming off and Ephraim on.

A minute after Stewart came on we had a quick burst of action. Taarabt after some good work wriggled his way through and was 25yards out, he had a simple ball that could've played in Balanta on the left hand side and put him through on goal, instead he opted for the greedy option and his effort was never endangering the keeper. However he had a chance of redemption. Again after some very good work he took on and beat 3 defenders and placed a delightful shot into the bottom right hand corner. Davis had no chance. 3-0.

Four further substitutions were made, Ramage, Borrowdale, Mahon and Balanta came off with Ainsworth, Brown, Alberti and Pellicori coming on. We now reverted to playing what looked like a 4-3-3 formation with Alberti, Rowlands and Ephraim as the midfield 3 and Taarabt was playing just behind Helguson and Pellicori.

Within minutes we had our first action. It was Taarabt again who was causing havoc, he found Helguson on the left edge of the box, he could've easily played a ball into the 18yard box where Pellicori would've been there to meet it, but instead Helguson unleashed a shot whilst off balance which went high into the empty upper loft. We witnessed Pellicori's first real effort on goal, well if u don’t include his first effort which went very high into the upper loft, a ball came in from the right hand side and Pellicori put a decent header on target but it wasn't good enough to beat Davis.

The full time whistle soon blew after that and the pre season friendlies come to a close with Rangers not losing a domestic friendly and only losing one of the 8 arranged fixtures. Balanta was the top scorer with 3 and looking like he has forced his way into a starting position for next weeks Blackpool fixture.

A quick individual round up.....

Commanded his box very well. Must be signed after all we have seen as he will be excellent cover for Cerny.

Ramage- Kept it simple. Gave the ball away very sloppily at times but we know he will do a lot better as the confidence is gained.

Borrowdale- His best pre season performance. Can’t really pick at anything and like Ramage kept things simple and done ok. His positioning still concerns me though.

Hall- Had a very good game, always looked to keep the ball on the floor and was composed. Game cut short due to a niggle by the looks of it.

Gorkss- Scored a great header, his first in R's colours. Was very composed. Covered Borrowdale at left back when he was out of position.

Looked good going forward and it was also nice to see him track back a lot more often to help Ramage out.

Rowlands- Tenacious in the middle. Was snapping at the heels of everyone and looked like a leader out there. Man of the Match.

Mahon- Battled well in the middle with Rowlands. This looks to be the opening centre midfield partnership for this season.

Balanta- Was exceptional once again. His trickery causes defenders all sorts of problems and it looks to me as if this will be the season that he should really assert himself in the first team. Narrowly pipped to man of the match

Vine- Wasn't his best performance. Looked the more lively of the front two. Ended up on the floor on a few too many occasions. Will need to do better next week.

Agyemang- Didn't really float my boat at all today and will need to buck his ideas up if he is to be a regular starter this season.

Helguson- Looks short of fitness to me. Had an awful effort on goal when he should've crossed to Pellicori. Work ethic was ok.

Taarabt- Scored a beauty. Was a bit greedy at times but the impact we made on the game was brilliant. Great things to come from him this season.

Stewart- Done well, had one little lapse but he did recover it well. My preferred partner to Gorkss if Connolly doesn’t play there.

Ephraim- Done well when he came on. Will have a part to play when injuries and suspensions kick in. Got massive potential but it’s hard to fit him in with the other quality player we have at the club.

Pellicori- Won the majority of his headers and showed good movement. Had one woeful effort and another which wasn't far off finding the back of the net. Once settled he will be a big threat for us.

Ainsworth- Came on at right back and done well although he wasn't really tested. Will be a good impact player for us.

Alberti- Didn’t really have much to do in this appearance. But no news is always good news.

Brown- Looked very comfortable when he came on. Slotted into the back 4 well and wasn't caught out at anytime. Will be interesting to see if he gets given a chance at some point this season.

So that’s the pre season over and done with. It’s been a pleasure keeping everyone up to date. Lofty will be returning next week as normal service resumes.
All that remains to be said is enjoy the new season, I’m sure there are going to be a lot of twists and turns but let’s enjoy the ride in what looks to be a very exciting journey ahead of us......


  • At 2:25 pm, Blogger Bobo said…

    In a word: awesome. I'm all fired up to see what the team does when Ollie returns to LR once again.

    Great writeup, great team and a lot to look forward to this season.




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