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

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Oh so Simp-le as Rangers Rowl over Cardiff

Rangers fans took to the road today for their first ever visit to the brand new Cardiff City Stadium in hope to see the Superhoops gain their second straight victory on the road. Here is how the day panned out for the Lofty Heights crew.

Today we took a car full as Lofty, PK, Sam, Justin and I took to the road together for the first time this season as we headed west and over the border into Wales.
The day started with a slight wind up. Lofty text me an hour before we were due to meet and asked if we were running late as he and PK were already in McDonalds having a breakfast and awaiting the arrival of me, Sam and Justin. This got a few hearts racing and got us rushing around. Luckily the big man was only joking (git!) but it gave us the much needed wake up call to get ready to meet the boys. On the journey abroad we once again put money on the line in the prediction test and predicted all the results in the Premiership, Championship, League 1 and League 2. Shortly into the predictions we came to the all important fixture Cardiff vs. Rangers. Four of us predicted a home win whereas only Sam chose to be positive and go with a 2-0 away win. What looked to be a bit of a gamble proved to be pretty accurate.
After 2 hours on the road we finally arrived at our destination, a stone’s throw away from Cardiff’s former home of 99 years, Ninian Park.


Like so many of the new grounds we had a retail park to entertain us for half an hour or so whilst we grabbed a Subway and Greggs before taking a few photos of the outside and moving around to our area of the ground.


Having arrived at the away entrance we found out that we could’ve in fact parked the car in the secure area and for free, rather than parking at the athletics stadium for a rip off price, a fiver!
Once inside the ground we all indulged in a nice ice cold pint and it’s quite easy to say that the Foster’s, Strongbow and Brains on offer for a cheap £3 were probably one of the cleanest beers we have enjoyed inside a football ground for a long time. The food wasn’t too bad either. Justin tucked into a Chicken Balti and despite struggling to get into the top of the pie once he turned it over and tucked into it you heard no complaints.
Five minutes before kick off the crew along with two members of the welsh rangers took to the stands in hope that we would give a performance to be proud of.

Jim Magilton made four changes from last Saturday’s draw with Peterborough, two of which were forced as Matt Connolly was suffering from a virus and Adel Taarabt has mumps, Hogan Ephraim and Alessandro Faurlin also dropped out as Kaspers Gorkss, Martin Rowlands, Akos Buzsaky and Rowan Vine all made the starting line up as Rangers lined up in a 4-4-2 formation.

The game started pretty evenly and there was nothing to really separate the teams as we approached the ten minute mark. Rangers maybe looked the more composed of the two sides and settled down a lot quicker into their stride. Cardiff looked nervous and this reflected in the stands as there was none of the old Ninian Park atmosphere, in fact you could only hear the Rangers faithful singing their hearts out and generating the noise to spur on the boys.
Just after the 10 minute mark Rangers were in the ascendancy and when Simpson and Buzsaky exchanged passes it left the Hungarian in loads of space just outside the Cardiff 18 yard box, unfortunately his effort was ballooned over the bar but it was the warning sign that Rangers were ready to pounce and pounce they did.
Borrowdale picked the ball up mid way into the Cardiff half and played a high ball towards the Cardiff penalty area which found Vine on the edge of the box. Vine held off his defender before playing a beautiful ball into the path of Jay Simpson. The Arsenal loanee made no mistake from 10 yards out and put the R’s 1-0 in front!
I have to be honest from where we sat it did look as if Simpson was a mile offside and even when he scored a lot of Rangers fans looked at the linesman awaiting the flag to be risen but it didn’t and we finally celebrated after a 10 second delay.
The R’s defence was rarely troubled throughout the first half and the entire back four were solid. The Stewart/Gorkss, Player of the Year/Runner up Player of the Year, partnership resumed where it left off last season and really kept the threat of Chopra and Boothroyd to an absolute minimum. The other real threat for Cardiff was the in-form Chris Burke but his threat was extinguished by Borrowdale as he continued to push Burke backwards and didn’t let him attack the by line. Cardiff’s shooting was also woeful! Any shot they had either flew a mile wide or headed straight in the centre of Cerny’s goal and didn’t force a save out of him throughout the first half.
Ranger’s continued to win the game in midfield. Rowlands presence gave the team a proper leader for the first time in five games. With this leadership the R’s where stamping their authority on the game with their quick passing and just before half time Rangers got what they thoroughly deserved.
Routledge, who had started on the left wing, switched wings with Buzsaky and picked the ball up on the right wing near the halfway line in acres of space. His attacking run in field took him to the centre of the field around 30 yards from goal from there he played a delightful through ball into the advancing Simpson who took his shot on the run and finished with a fantastic strike. 2-0 and in total control!

The half time whistle blew five minutes later and it was time to reflect on what was a fantastic display.
Lofty decided to take the plunge and tucked into a Cornish pasty. Lofty’s thoughts on his half time treat were “this is easily the best pie that I have tasted on an away trip for a long time. Highly recommended and gets a 10/10 rating”


Rangers continued their good work in the second half and were again the better of the two sides and bossed the mid field from the off.
Simpson came close to completing his hat trick after a Ben Watson corner was floated in, only a sea full of legs denied the youngster of his third goal.
The second half had few clear cut chances but the best chance of the 45 minutes fell to Rowan Vine mid way through the half.
A lucky deflection left Vine clear and through on goal with only the keeper to beat. He curled his shot around Marshall and it looked as if the game was going to be sewn up with his effort but the ball hit the post and went wide. So unlucky for the striker who really needs a goal to help him gain confidence in front of goal.
Cardiff did have one or two chances in the second half but just like the first period every shot was either straight at Cerny or they flew wildly wide.
Two changes were made in the final 15 minutes. Pellicori came on for the hard working and goal scorer Simpson, Agyemang came on for Vine.
With five minutes to go the Cardiff City Stadium stood half empty as the home fans headed for the exits after seeing what must’ve been the most disappointing performance of the season for them.

Full time soon beckoned on us and no-one can deny that the 3 points that the R’s earned were fully deserved and were never really in danger.
As they did at Scunthorpe all the players came over to the travelling fans to show their appreciation for the fantastic support.


There’s a host of contenders for Man of the Match today. Wayne Routledge played well whilst being booed by the home fans and turned out yet another great performance. Kaspers Gorkss was solid as ever and looked assured next to Damion Stewart. Gary Borrowdale kept Burke quiet all game and hardly put a foot wrong. However today’s award goes to Martin Rowlands. He lead the team from start to finish, put in a number of crunching tackles and really stood out having only just returning from his latest injury.

We all got back to the car with Sam telling us she told us so as she had predicted a 2-0 victory but we all wanted to know who picked up the £25 from the predictions. Lofty was feeling pretty confident as we found out the scores and started to tick them off but he was beaten to the pot by Justin, who last time out lost in a tie breaker to me last time out.
Having arrived in Reading at 7.30 we were all in buoyant moods and ready for the next big game at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday, let’s hope for more of the same!



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