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, October 31, 2009

Credit where credits due........

In the second televised game of the week Rangers this time played host to Leicester in the attempt to complete a memorable month of results for the team.

It was the turn of the Sky cameras to come down and witness the impressive flowing football that has been on display and even graced our screens on the BBC only last Saturday, usually when we are in good form and Sky come sniffing the form goes out the window and the run down the drain. Would tonight be any different?

The Lofty Heights crew had a night out planned after the game so we all arrived looking a little smarter than usual and congregated at the Springbok before the game for the usual pre-match pint and keenly look forward to the 90 minutes ahead and the night’s activities after the game.

One change was made to the team that won at Derby last Saturday. Gavin Mahon picked up an injury in training on Thursday so Mikele Leigertwood took over in centre midfield and also took the captains armband.

With the TV cameras in attendance all the stops were pulled out of the bag. As the team entered the pitch we were treated to some fireworks and big flames. They coupled with some free plastic rattles that were handed out in the pre-match build up were what the 17,000 plus crowd that made the most of the excellent ticket promotion by the club for a Friday night fixture live on TV.

The game started off really lively with both teams creating chances from the offset. After some good passing from Ramage, Buzsaky and Simpson it left Simpson in a promising position and he fired in a shot from a tight angle which was smothered by Leicester ‘keeper Weale.
Leicester didn’t come to W12 to become another victim of the Rangers free scoring bandwagon. They too were creating chances, but not only that they looked to have a game plan that involved pressuring the home side deep in the R’s midfield and defence that would effectively stop the crisp play that we have been used to seeing over the last month or so.
The ball soon found its way into the net.
Livewire Danny N’Guessan left Ramage for pace and slipped a delightful ball between the defence and Cerny and Matty Fryatt slid in to neatly turn the ball past the R’s ‘keeper. Luckily for Rangers Fryatt was adjudged to of been in an offside position, even though from where I was sitting it looked onside to me.

Shortly after this Faurlin nearly took full advantage of the let off by curling a free kick towards the top left hand corner but saw his effort superbly saved by Weale, much to the Argentinean’s frustration.
We soon had our opening goal of the evening.
Taarabt tried threading in Simpson with a through ball but the ball bounced back off a Leicester defender and fell invitingly to Taarabt near the penalty spot and he slotted home into the bottom left hand corner.


Shortly after the first goal it could’ve been 2-0. It was Taarabt once again with a driven effort but it went just wide of the right hand post.
Four minutes after the opening goal we had our second goal of the evening.
Danny N’Guessan once again provided the threat down the Rangers right hand side and his cross was met by Fryatt, who had the easy job of nodding home from three yards out.
The Rangers defending was poor to say the very least and made it far too easy.

Half time descended on us we for once paid attention to the pitch and the penalty shoot out. The reason we done this was because one of our friends, Jill, was taking a penalty in the half time competition. Having seen a very good penalty being saved previously it was Jill’s turn to step up and have a blast. Her effort was straight at the ‘keeper but was a good effort from someone that was as nervous as she was.
The half time talk with the gang constituted of us just admitting that we were up against an extremely good, well organised side and we really were up against it. Nothing else could be said, criticizing wouldn’t achieve anything we were just playing a team that had done their homework on us.

The second half showed us more of the same, a Leicester side that pressured us high up and that suffocated the supply to our lethal four at the business end of the pitch. It was also evident to see that we were missing Gavin ‘The Goal Machine’ Mahon in the centre of midfield with his hustling technique and bulldog sprit.
The second half was very much Leicester’s for the taking and unfortunately the chance to take the game was handed to them on a plate. From a goal kick Cerny opted to play a short pass to a Ramage that was running away from goal which made it easy for Fryatt to intercept the pass and advance 1 on 1 with Cerny. With still a lot to do to score Fryatt did put away his effort very neatly. It was far from easy to score from the angle he was at but he did do it well.
From there it was an increasing uphill battle for Rangers and the chances to grab an all important equalizer were few and far between but when one did fall, what a chance it was!
Routledge done exceptionally well down the right hand side and centred the ball for Buzsaky. Buz usually hits the target from 10 yards out but this time his effort went high and wide. It was at this point you could just sense it wasn’t going to be our night.

Leicester played the game out to secure themselves a very well earned three points. They had done their homework and executed a perfect game plan, my hat goes off to them.

(Thanks to Sophie McEvoy for the photo)

Cerny, Ramage (Vine 67), Stewart (Hall 55), Leigertwood, Routledge, Buzsaky, Gorkss, Faurlin, Simpson, Borrowdale, Taarabt (Agyemang 86).

Subs not used: Heaton, Alberti, Ainsworth, Parker.

Goals: Taarabt (33)
Leicester City: Weale, Neilson, Brown, Oakley, King, Fryatt (Gallagher 75), Berner, N'Guessan, Waghorn (McGivern 90), Wellens, Hobbs.

Subs not used: Logan, Morrison, Howard, Dyer, Kermorgant.

Goals: Fryatt (37 & 64)

Bookings: Neilson (73), N'Guessan (81), Oakley (88)

Attendance: 17, 082

Walking away from Loftus Road I can’t say I was disappointed, Leicester were just better prepared and had the hunger to chase for the whole 90 minutes and test our team for the duration of the game.
To criticize individuals would be harsh, although it was evident one or two were not at the races today and they were substituted during the course of the game, with the exception of Taarabt. The run we have been on has been fantastic and had to come to an end at some point, to be fair I’m glad it was against a team like Leicester that fully deserved the victory and not against a team that got lucky.

We move onto Man of the Match. It has once again been pretty hard to pick. Wayne Routledge took a while to get into the game but once he did he proved to be a threat. Gary Borrowdale hardly put a foot wrong compared to the rest of the defence and despite the mix up leading to the winning goal Radek Cerny done well. But for the first half performance put in by this man and his efforts and eventual goal the Man of the Match, as selected by Lofty, has to go to Adel Taarabt.

We then headed into the Bush after the game to enjoy a few beers, except me as I was driving. After enjoying a few pints in The Green we decided to move on to a different pub and despite the time only being midnight we found ourselves without any options as every pub was closing up. It was very strange for every pub in the area to close up at 12-12.30 so we had no choice but to call it a night and head for home. A disappointing end to the evening but nothing always goes the way you expect it to sometimes.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Four-midable Rangers show true class once again.

This evening saw the first time Rangers took to the field in front of the live cameras and as always the Lofty Heights crew hit the road to see what was in store for us.

Today there was two parties making their way up to Pride Park, Lofty and PK in one car and in the other was Jenson, his wife Kate, a friend and myself. It was a weird feeling for me as I haven’t travelled to an away game without Lofty or PK since Blackpool away last January. We were soon reunited in the Pride Park Harvester and with a few cold beers on our arrival. A man, that I can only describe as a legend, called Iceman joined us for his first R’s game of the season. For those of you that already know Iceman you know exactly what I am talking about.

We were also introduced to a Finnish Rangers fan, Vesa in the Harvester who had travelled over to England this week especially for the game. This week he attended the reserves fixture, which we drew 1-1 courtesy of a Gareth Ainsworth goal, the Watford 4-1 victory over Sheff Weds last night as well as managing to get tickets for tomorrows clash between Liverpool and Man United.
Here he is pictured below...


Jim Magilton was forced into one change this evening, Ben Watson being suspended after his sending off against Reading in midweek, his replacement was also the R’s captain for the night Gavin Mahon.

It was Rangers who got off to the better start and enjoyed the lion share of possession and looked the more threatening.
However on 10 minutes the score line read a different story.
Derby won a free kick just outside the R’s penalty area and Robbie Savage opted to take the kick quickly and fed the ball in the path of Paul Dickov. He made no mistake from 8 yards out and put the home side in front.
It was a stark contrast of what happened on Tuesday night when Ben Watson took a free kick early and earned a booking for his troubles. Whatever the result on this occasion you have to admit it was a genius piece of play by Savage to take advantage of a sleeping R’s defence.
Rangers continued to hold the attacking advantage and looked the more likely to score the second goal. Efforts from Mahon, Faurlin and Buzsaky went close as the search for an equalizer was coming closer and closer to becoming a reality.
On 36 minutes the controversial referee Trevor Kettle, who has a bad record when it comes to officiating Rangers games, awarded a strange looking free kick in the hosts favour after Damion Stewart was adjudged to of been climbing over the Derby striker.
Robbie Savage took the free kick and placed it into the top left hand corner with a beautifully taken effort to give the hosts a 2-0 lead which, in reflection, was extremely harsh on the visitors.
Only three minutes later Rangers were given a free kick just outside the Derby penalty area. Usual free kick taker Akos Buzsaky stepped aside to let Adel Taarabt try his luck. Taarabt curled the free kick into the bottom right corner to grab a well deserved goal for the hard working team.

At half time Iceman, Michael Whelan and I met up on the concourse to discuss the half we had witness and our feelings towards the game. Me and Michael were more than confident that if we continued to press Derby then a victory was imminent and we’d get our just deserves. Funnily enough, in a different conversation, these views were shared Lofty and a few other fans. You could almost sense a confidence in R’s fans that it didn’t really matter what the score was, we were still going to win.
On the way back to our seats a few t-shirts hanging on seats were nicked to give to family members and friends, even though they are pretty worthless.

The second half begun with the R’s continuing in the ascendancy and soon back on level terms.
After some neat build up play it was Taarabt who played a beautiful back post cross to Routledge and he squared to Gavin ‘The Goal Machine’ Mahon to tuck away from inside the six yard box very untidily, but who cares!!

A third goal was soon to follow. Jay Simpson made the most of his chance that he had to work hard to put away. A lovely through ball caused confusion in the Derby defence and he slotted his effort home from 12 yards out into the bottom right hand corner to bag his sixth goal of the season.


Following the goal Peter Ramage may way for Mikele Leigertwood, who has just recovered from a virus.

Rangers really were dominating the second half and when Taarabt was set free down the right hand side with only Bywater in front of him the only words I could hear were coming from Lofty saying “he’s gonna score, he’s gonna score”. Unfortunately the shot was straight at Bywater and was parried away.

Patrick Agyemang and Rowan Vine came on for the final 15 minutes. They replaced the hard working Simpson and the teasing Taarabt.

Further chances from Routledge, Agyemang and Vine fell but didn’t overly test Bywater in the Derby goal.
During the final 10-15 minutes the Derby fans were hurling their free t-shirts, that were given to them upon arrival to their seat, onto the pitch as a show of disgust to their teams inability to cope with a Rangers side that really are something special at this moment in time.

In the final minute of the game Routledge was set free down the right side of the pitch and advanced on goal before being hacked down by the Derby defender. Akos Buzsaky stepped up to slot home his second penalty in as many games and send the R’s fans into pure jubilation and the Derby fans continued to shower the pitch with their free t-shirts.


After a being shocked by going 2-0 down to a side that were second best on the field for all of the first half it was a pretty astounding comeback from a fully confident side that pulled a result out of the bag despite the setbacks we had.
For the third game on the spin Rangers have now scored four goals, so is it now too much to expect another four goal haul in the second televised clash this weeks, this time against Leicester. If the R’s win by three goals then second spot will be ours, albeit for a night at least.

Derby County: Bywater, Connolly, Croft, Savage, Hulse, Teale, Barker, Moxey, Dickov (Davies 68), Stoor (Livermore 63), Hughes (Pearson 68).

Subs not used: Deeney, Buxton, Hendrie, Mills.

Goals: Dickov (10), Savage (36)

Connolly (56)

QPR: Cerny, Ramage (Leigertwood 61), Stewart, Mahon, Routledge, Buzsaky, Gorkss, Faurlin, Simpson (Vine 75), Borrowdale, Taarabt (Agyemang 75).

Subs not used: Heaton, Hall, Alberti, Ainsworth.

Goals: Taarabt (39), Mahon (47), Simpson (59), Buzsaky (90)

Attendance: 30, 135 (733 Rangers)

Man of the Match once again proved hard to choose. Iceman was impressed by Taarabt and Routledge, Jenson thought Gorkss was exceptional and PK had Gorkss and Faurlin down as his picks. Lofty’s Man of the Match as decided by Lofty has been awarded to Alessandro Faurlin for the second game running. The young midfielder bossed the middle of the park once again and showed great vision as well as battling away all the way through.

As a victory salute the crew all gathered back at the Harvester where the day all begun to enjoy a sweet tasting beverage before once again going our separate ways for the journey home.

We move onto Leicester at home next on Friday evening. I will apologize for the lateness of that report as the Lofty Heights gang are going out for an after match booze up in Hammersmith that evening. I will endeavour to get a report written ready for late Saturday night for you all.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

R's on The Road.......... To Derby County.

On Saturday the in-form Rangers take centre stage in the live match of the day on BBC 2 in the 5.30 kick off.
As usual here are a few hints and tips for your journey north.


The Stadium.

Current Capacity - 33,597


Pride Park has been the home of Derby County since 1997 having been at home at The Baseball Ground since 1895.
Each of Derby’s three homes, including their first home The Racecourse Ground, have hosted a full International. The Racecourse Ground hosted the England 9 Ireland 0 victory in 1895, The Baseball Ground was host to the England 2 Ireland 1 victory in 1911 and Pride Park graced the England 4 Mexico 0 match.
Derby’s most successful manager is the legendary Brain Clough. He managed to lead the club to the Division 2 title in 1969 and the Division 1 title in 1972. He also won two other smaller competitions with the club, The Watney Cup in 1971 and The Texaco Cup in 1972. He left the club in 1973 to manage Brighton and then Leeds in 1974 before taking over at bitter rivals Nottingham Forest in 1975. The A52, which separates Derby from Nottingham, has been named ‘Brian Clough Way’ in appreciation for his efforts at both clubs during his spells there.

The History between the teams.

At Derby County (21)

Derby 10
Draw 5

The last time QPR won at Derby (excluding last year) was on 29th October 2005 in the R’s second season in the Championship following their promotion from League One.
It was my first trip to Pride Park and what a game it was! Me along with my friends Jointy and Tony took to the road for the two and a bit hour journey in hope that we would witness a second away win of the season for a Rangers side sitting comfortably in mid table. Gareth Ainsworth opened the scoring when he bundled the ball over from close range. However five minutes later disaster struck. Paul Furlong was sent off for kicking out on Emerson Thome and the Brazilian’s play acting really didn’t help but it did leave the R’s with the seemingly impossible job of holing out for over 55 minutes. That however wasn’t to rain on Rangers parade. Derby were given the opportunity to equalize from the penalty spot after a handball inside the box. Idiakez placed his penalty into the bottom left corner but Simon Royce pulled off a fantastic save and ensured the R’s stayed in front. A galvanised Rangers attacked once again with 10 minutes remaining Kevin Gallen was set in the clear after a through ball by Georges Santos and curled a beautiful shot around the despairing Poole in the Derby goal. However just four minutes later Dexter Blackstock did pull a goal back for Derby and set up a grandstand finish. With Simon Royce bang on form we were able to hang on and bring the points back to West London and send the 3 happy travellers back home ecstatic.


How to get there.

By Car:-
The sat nav postcode for today is DE24 8XL.
Follow the M1 up to junction 25 and take the left onto the A52 towards Derby. 7 miles down the A52 you will have the ground signposted all the way for the rest of the journey.
Parking can be a tad tricky. On my last visit there was a little secluded area of parking just before Pride Park but I’m not aware if this is still available so instead I would point you in the direction of the cattle market which is a 15 minute walk from Pride Park or you can always park at the Derby Conference Centre for £5.

By Train:- The ground is roughly a ten minute walk from the station and I will do my best to give you directions from here. As you get off the platform go up the stairs, turn right and walk to the end of the bridge. Go down the stairs, exit and turn right down Roundhouse Road. Bear left at the roundabout, go straight down Riverside Road or turn right and go down Pride Parkway. You will approach the ground straight ahead of you.

Pubs 'n' Grub.

The best place for Rangers fans to drink is the Harvester just around the corner from the ground. It is very friendly in there and I have never encountered any trouble there on previous visits.
For food you could use the Harvester or alternatively there is a Frankie and Bennys, McDonalds, Pizza Hut, KFC, Burger King and Subway not far from here.
Available on the concourse are a selection of Pies and Pasties all at £2.60, Cheeseburgers (£3.50), Burgers (£3) and Hot dogs (£3). They also offer a Pie & Pint for £5.50.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

"You're not fit to wear the hoops!!"

After dealing out a 4-0 thrashing against Preston in an emphatic victory at the weekend it was Reading’s turn to visit Loftus Road and take on one of the in-form teams of the Championship. The Lofty Heights crew arrived in anticipation of the local derby against the team that claim to be the hoops but are really the horizontal stripes.

In attendance tonight were Lofty, Corp, California Hoop, Mark (now known as Jenson for his lightning fast driving), Justin, Sam and myself. Unfortunately due to work commitments PK was unable to join us, he should be back with us for the Derby trip on Saturday. However a few guests also came along with the group with Carl, Trevor and Banksy coming along with us all. New nicknames are being thought of for the new members so I will keep you up to date on the developments.

One change was made from the winning side on Saturday. Ben Watson returning from suspension replaced Gavin Mahon. If I was Mahon I would’ve felt a tad frustrated as his performance was exceptional and in my eyes didn’t deserve to be dropped.
With Mahon being dropped it meant that the captain’s armband was up for grabs. Damion Stewart was handed the responsibility for the evening and in turn became the fourth person to be captain this season.

The game started off as a pretty tight affair. Rangers did look the most threatening attacking wise and Reading who looked to be playing a 4-5-1 and didn’t look as if they had the willingness or the confidence to attack the R’s backline.
Rangers had a few decent efforts on goal with Taarabt having two decent attempts to break the deadlock. One slipped just wide of the post when really he should’ve done better and the other was blocked by a forest of Royals legs.
On 19 minutes Ben Watson wildly slid into a tackle on the edge of the R’s penalty area and picked up a booking for this, not the ideal way to start a game having just returned from a suspension where he picked up two bookings.
On the half hour mark our worst fears came true.
Rangers had a free kick which was a full 30 yards out, Watson tried playing a quick free kick which referee Andy Hall, who we’ve had many problems with in the past, didn’t appreciate and pulled play back and booked Watson once again and sent the tenacious midfielder for an early bath for his second match running. I have never known a player to be booked for trying to take a free kick before and found it totally ridiculous and incensed the R’s once again and jeopardised us from losing a game that we were in control of.

What followed though was just pure genius!
The free kick was now to be taken by Buzsaky and he superbly lifted the ball over the wall and found the bottom left hand corner! Yet another piece of brilliance from a Rangers player, we must now have four or five contenders for goal of the season already!

Cue the chants of “we only need ten men!”


Hang on make that six because just eight minutes later the ten men doubled the lead and what a goal it was!
Trying to remember the exact start point is hard but I will do my best to describe it.
With the ball in midfield the ball was played to Stewart just inside the R’s half, he passed to Gorkss who passed back to Cerny and started right from the back once more, Cerny passed to Gorkss and Gorkss played a simple ball to Faurlin mid way inside the R’s half. Faurlin turned and saw Buzsaky in a little bit of space on the centre spot and he played a beautiful ball out on the wide right to Routledge. Routledge put in a deep cross to the back post which is where the only R’s attacker in the box, Simpson, was heading. Simpson got to the ball ahead of both the defender and goalkeeper and tucked the ball away from six yards. A magnificent team goal and the 10 men were really taking the proverbial out of an extremely poor Reading side.

Reading did have one chance worth noting. A free kick on the left side of the penalty area was taken and looked to be creeping in at the far post, that was until Cerny flung himself across goal and managed to get a fingertip to it and push it onto the post. Brilliant save!
The Superhoops had one more effort in the first half. Routledge shooting straight at the Reading ‘keeper after good work out wide by Taarabt.

The half time get together was one of jubilation and as within many of the half time posse there is a distinct dislike for the team that were playing in orange . For the first time since 1967 it looked as if we were heading for a home victory against a team that claim to be ‘the proper hoops’, pffft don’t make me laugh.

Within thirty seconds of the second half the sides were brought back to level terms in terms of players on the pitch. Ingimarsson, who was already on a booking, decided to hack down Jay Simpson just inside the Reading half and picked up his second booking of the evening and joined Watson in having an early bath. The card happy ref must’ve been licking his lips and was awaiting his next victim to go into his book. Luckily he didn’t ruin the game any further and let the two teams play with even sides for the remainder of the second period.
Reading who had made two substitutions at the start of the second half could’ve easily given up on their game plan but in fairness they did come into the game a little more.
Simpson was taken off on 54 minutes and seemed to be carrying a knock from the Ingimarsson challenge at the start of the half. He was replaced by Rowan Vine.

Vine, who to me has been desperate to grab a goal to help boost his confidence, had two fantastic opportunities to score. Routledge was the provider for both and both times Vine failed to get a decent contact with his shot and saw one roll straight to the Reading ‘keeper and the other one was gathered by the ‘keeper after scrambling across his goal mouth attempting to get hold of the effort.
Vine wasn’t to be denied though and on 71 minutes he got his reward.
Taarabt played a short ball to Vine on the left edge of the Reading penalty area. Vine had so much space around him and decided to take an early shot, to the shock of the ‘keeper, and drilled the ball home from 15 yards out into the bottom left hand corner.

Gavin Mahon had come on for Buzsaky just before the third goal and Patrick Agyemang continued his comeback from injury by taking to the field for Taarabt shortly after the goal.

Agyemang was soon in the thick of the action and found himself one on one with ‘keeper after beating two defenders with his rubber legs, unfortunately his effort was saved on this occasion.
A few minutes later Agyemang was set free by a ball over the top by Mahon which set Agyemang clear once again with only the ‘keeper to beat. This time he wrong footed him and rounded him to make it 4-0 and well and truly rub salt into the wounds of our Berkshire ‘friends’.
There was time for Reading to clinch a late consolation. Howard poked the ball home from close range after a Reading attack down their left hand side.


Having out played the Royals for much of the game and even with 10 men we still looked the more dangerous side in the game. The only thing that remains to be said is Reading "You're not fit to wear the hoops", sorry I mean horizontal stripes.

The record now reads that Rangers are now 13 games unbeaten at home in all competitions and we have now scored 16 goals in 6 home league games this season, 13 of them coming in the last 3 fixtures.
Berkshire radio have apparently described the football played by Rangers in the first half as “champions football”, we can only hope that this will continue and the TV jinx will not come and haunt us in the next two games.

QPR: Cerny, Ramage, Stewart, Routledge, Buzsaky (Mahon 66), Gorkss, Watson, Faurlin, Simpson (Vine 53), Borrowdale, Taarabt (Agyemang 76).

Subs not used: Heaton, Hall, Alberti, Ainsworth.

Scorers: Buzsaky (31), Simpson (39), Vine (71), Agyemang (83)

Bookings: Watson (19 & 30), Borrowdale (24), Faurlin (44)

Red Cards: Watson (30)

Reading: Federici, Cisse (Sigurdsson 46), Mills, Gunnarsson, Tabb (Howard 46), Long, McAnuff, Kebe, Ingimarsson, Church (Robson-Kanu 56), O'Dea.

Goals: Howard (86)

Subs not used: Hamer, Karacan, Rasiak, Pearce.

Bookings: Ingimarsson (38 & 46)

Red Cards: Ingimarsson (46)

Attendance: 11, 900

Lofty once again had a tough time picking today’s Man of the Match. There are quite a few contenders up for the award once again today. Buzsaky scored a fantastic free kick, Taarabt really did look on top of his game again tonight, Routledge caused all sorts of problems again but it boiled down to a choice of two players. Damion Stewart, who captained the side for the first time tonight, played out of his skin and was rock solid at the back, I would say he was faultless tonight. However tonight the award goes to the ever improving Alessandro Faurlin. He once again ran the show in the middle of the park and looks to be maturing with every game. His engine is really good and is always looking to get involved whether it be in defence or at the top end of the pitch, tonight he could’ve scored on two or three occasions.

The crew move onto Saturday’s game at Derby and we will look forward to reporting back with our thoughts upon our arrival back home. Remember the game is being aired live on BBC 2 at 5.15 ( I think) so if you can tune in I will hope we are in for another treat.


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Rangers say Taa-ra to Preston.

After what seemed like an eternity since the last home fixture, we finally returned to the home of football for the fixture against a Preston side that has had a fantastic start to the season and were sitting in the top six after a strong start to the season.

As per usual we headed straight for the Springbok for a pre match beverage. Today’s group was Lofty, PK, Corp, California Hoop, Justin, Sam, Mark and Me. At half time we were joined by Darren and Paul, which completed the line up of the original Lofty Heights crew from back in the day.

Onto the day’s game.
Jim Magilton had a few selection headaches ahead of today’s game and a lengthy injury list. With Martin Rowlands (ACL), Mikele Leigertwood (virus), Alessandro Pellicori (knee), Matthew Connolly (glandular fever), Lee Cook (knee), Angelo Balanta (groin), Hogan Ephraim (ankle) and Ben Watson (suspended) there were spots available in defence and midfield for Rangers fringe players. The decision was to bring in Peter Ramage at right back, Gavin Mahon and Alessandro Faurlin took the two available centre midfield spots and the final change was Rowan Vine dropping to the bench and Adel Taarabt took his place in the starting line up for the first time since the away victory at Scunthorpe. Patrick Agyemang and Gareth Ainsworth completed 60 minutes in the reserves on Tuesday and took their place on the bench for today’s match.

Rangers started off the brighter of the two teams and the passing was of the same slick style that we have been treated to over the past few games but this time there was a lot more conviction in the passing and movement as Rangers attacked Preston.
After a good opening ten minutes we were treated to a very special opening goal.
Cerny took his goal kick and it was Taarabt who chested the ball down and in one movement turned from his back to goal and was facing towards the Preston goal with a little bit of space in front of him. Before you knew it Taarabt had unleashed a beautiful curling effort from a full 25-30 yards out and it floated into the top right hand corner! Absolutely fantastic goal, was reminiscent of Buzaky’s second goal against Barnsley in the last home fixture.


Having got the opening the R’s continued to pressure a vulnerable looking Preston side and really stamped their authority on the game. Routledge had two efforts well saved before Preston finally tested the Rangers defence and merely tickled efforts towards Cerny’s goal.
Five minute before half time we so nearly witnessed a goal that would’ve easily been goal of the season and would’ve gone very close second to Trevor Sinclair’s bicycle kick back in the 90’s.
The ball dropped to Buzaky a full 25 yards out at the right hand edge of the penalty area and he had the cheek to unleashed a thundering volley at goal, the effort took a few layers of paint off the crossbar and if you have the chance to see the highlights then this will be included in there, my words cannot give the effort enough justice.
Half time was soon forced upon us and leading 1-0 there only looked to be one winner in the game but as we all know and feel, the longer the game stays 1-0 to Rangers the longer you doubt that we’ll be able to hold out, a second goal was not only needed but it was truly deserved. We were all just hoping that the second goal would soon fall in the R’s favour.

Rangers started the second half as they ended the first, in total ascendancy.
We were soon to witness a near spectacular goal from the most unlikely of sources. After a string of neat passes it was Gary Borrowdale who found himself some way from goal and advanced towards goal and let go with a superb left footed drive into the top corner only to see Preston goalkeeper Andy Lonergan pull off a brilliant save. Was shocking yet inspirational and lead the R’s faithful into singing his name, and the crew looking at me singing his name after I had criticised him for his pre-season efforts but even I cannot deny Borrowdale of the praise he really deserves after showing so much improvement in recent weeks.
From the corner that followed Gorkss put his header narrowly wide and left Rangers still searching for that all important second goal.
Preston finally put some pressure on the R’s rearguard after this and had a few of us biting a few fingernails when Chris Brown had his effort saved well by Cerny.
Soon after the R’s were back on the attack and were handed the opportunity to double their lead.
The on-song Taarabt received the ball just outside the 18 yard box and advanced into the area before being tripped and winning a definite penalty. Taarabt grabbed the ball and marched towards the penalty spot but after a chat with captain Gavin Mahon it was Buzsaky that was handed the responsibility of despatching the chance. He made no mistake and thumped the ball low into the bottom left corner of the outstretching Lonergan’s goal.
It was nice to see Taarabt go over into the corner where Buzsaky was celebrating and congratulate his team mate and showing that his is a team player for us. Was a nice touch.
The game was still far from over as Rangers looked to continue to attack a Preston side that were clearly having a bad day at the office.
More slick, neat passing found Buzsaky who in turn flicked the ball over the Preston defender and in the path of Jay Simpson. The Preston defender could’ve really dealt with the ball a hell of a lot better but instead hesitated and let Simpson ghost around him to nick the ball off him and placed his low curling effort into the right corner for another well taken goal.
After the third goal Magilton made two changes and clearly had Tuesday’s game in his mind as he took off Buzsaky and Simpson for a well earned rest and let Agyemang and Vine take to the field for the final 15 minutes.
The substitutions didn’t have any affect on the attacking performance put on stage for us today and it was only a matter of time until we got a fourth.
Routledge picked up the ball in midfield and his driving run showed that he only had one thing in mind, he let loose with a low drive from 20 yards out and found the bottom right corner for another great goal. It was just what Routledge deserved for yet another brilliant display, only this time in a less familiar role of playing up front for the majority of the game.
Having got his goal Routledge was taken off for the final five minutes and Gareth Ainsworth entered the fray for the first time in the league this season and was giving a fantastic and well deserved reception from the R’s fans after his hard work behind the scenes over the past few years.
Ainsworth was so close to having an audacious scissor kick from the edge of the 18 yard box fly towards goal but at the last second a Preston defender nipped in front of him and headed away from danger.
In the last action of the game Vine was so close from getting himself on the score sheet and was denied by a great save and the crossbar.

We can safely say that was probably one of the best performances at Loftus Road for many a year and will live long in the memory. The passing throughout the game was fantastic and everything just seemed to click into place today and we showed what we really are capable of today and with some key players out injured today it just showed what strength in depth we have in the ranks.

The hardest decision for us today is the Man of the Match award. Taarabt put in a truly inspired performance today and looked extremely dangerous today, the midfield duo of Mahon and Faurlin were brilliant all day and looked in control, the back four were solid and Damion Stewart in particular stood out there as he was immense throughout the 90 minutes, Buzsaky again had a great game out wide and really looks as if he is back in the form of two seasons ago and is a true delight to watch. However despite all this today’s man of the match as selected by Lofty is Wayne Routledge. Today Routledge played just behind Simpson in an unfamiliar role and was a thorn in the Preston defence throughout the game and could’ve easily ended up taking up the match ball home if it wasn’t for some good goalkeeping by Lonergan in the first half but his persistance was rewarded in the end after he bagged the fabulous fourth goal of the afternoon.

After the game the old gang as well as myself and the new members of the group went to enjoy a light beverage down the British Queen to toast a magnificent performance and geared ourselves up ready for Tuesday’s game against the plastic hoops. Beer always tastes sweeter after a victory like this and hopefully there is plenty more to come from our team that is showing plenty of promise.

QPR: Cerny, Ramage, Stewart, Mahon, Routledge (Ainsworth 87), Buzsaky (Agyemang 66), Gorkss, Faurlin, Simpson (Vine 66), Borrowdale, Taarabt.
Subs not used: Heaton, Hall, Alberti, Harris.
Goals: Taarabt (11), Buzsaky (Pen 63), Simpson (75), Routledge (86).

Attendance: 12, 810

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Far from a Wales of a time

We were on our travels to this away fixture with a full car once again. In attendance today was Me, PK, Sam, Justin and the driver for the day was Mark. Unfortunately Lofty couldn’t make the trip into Wales this weekend due to a family birthday, but if I’m perfectly honest he wouldn’t have minded missing the fixture had he known the type of encounter we were about to witness.

Before we went into the ground we decided to go into the Harvester by the stadium and enjoyed a light beverage or two. We were joined by our welsh friends Richard and Sophie as for once they had the short visit for a game rather than driving the miles we had to for this fixture. The pub is recommended for our next visit to The Liberty Stadium.
A quick meeting with Gobi and friends was the next order before we took our places inside the ground to see what would be served up this afternoon.

For the third straight league fixture the same starting eleven was named by Jim Magilton.

With Rangers showing a positive passing mentality over the past few weeks we expected a very good showing and hopefully the three points that would’ve cemented our place in the top half of the table coming into the international break, not that the tables mean much at this stage of the season.

Rangers had the better of the opening twenty minutes.
At times Rangers put together some really crisp passing but for periods it did look as if we had turned up for a training game and invited Swansea to run at us and allow them too much space. To be fair though, for all of Swansea’s good passing in midfield it was much like watching the QPR side from the end of Paulo Sousa’s reign last year, all huff in midfield and no puff up front.
Buzsaky had an effort from 25 yards out land on top of the net, Routledge ran from the halfway line and dragged a shot wide and Simpson also dragged an effort wide, those were the only major efforts in what was a pretty lacklustre first period.

The halftime get together was one that was uninspired by the football and mainly spoke of the memorable night that a few of us enjoyed at St James Park on Wednesday night, a place where a few players may of left their heads.
We decided to indulge in a few of the culinary delights on offer from the kiosk downstairs also. Justin and Sam went for the burger. It scored a very poor 1/10 with both of them as it looked like it had been micro waved nine times and even the cheese had disintegrated! PK went for a hot dog, again this scored 1/10! Again it had been micro waved to the max and if I’m brutally honest the burger and hot dog could’ve been road kill for all we knew. I went for the steak slice that was on offer; it was piping hot and was ok to be fair. I would compare it to a slice that you would get from an esso garage. It scores a 4/10 for effort. On a plus note the coffee that was on offer scores well, mainly because it was so hot that it scolded your tongue so bad that you couldn’t taste it. Nothing to really recommend from here again.

We just about made our seats ready for the second half.
Rangers looked as if Magilton had tore into them a bit at half time as they looked the more fired up of the two teams. There was more urgency in the passing and we looked as if we wanted to take the game to the Swans.
Within the opening ten minutes we had more action than the entire first half but that proved to be both good and bad.
A Rangers corner from the right hand side caused all sorts of problems in the Swansea area. Watson’s centre was sent goal wards by Simpson and his effort was fantastically saved by the Swansea goalkeeper.
Seconds later another corner come across from the same right hand side, this time it found Gorkss rising highest at the back post, only for his powerful header to go agonisingly wide.
Minutes later the game turned on its head, only it didn’t go the way you would expect it.
Rangers broke away once again, Vine fed in Routledge and the tricky winger cut in from out wide, passed four defenders (dummying two of them in one go) and found himself in space and only 12 yards out. He decided to aim for the left side of goal and once again a stunning save was pulled off. The save was parried and cleared high, Vine aerially challenged and was pulled down but no foul was given..... Dyer then controlled the ball and Rowlands, who was already on a yellow card for a hard first half challenge, threw himself at the ball and caught Dyer. There’s no doubt about it, it was a second yellow and we were down to ten men, just as we had the game by the scruff of the neck.
A 4-3-1-1 was adopted as the R’s continued to try and press a vulnerable looking Swansea team.
However with Swansea packing out their midfield with five in there they were carving through the R’s midfield and soon made their numerical advantage count.
Angel Rangel raced down the Swansea right and drove a cross in that evaded the R’s defence and Gower arrived at the back post unmarked to slide home the first goal of the game.
Three minutes later and further damage was done.
Watson slipped when challenging in midfield and inadvertently handled the ball on purpose and picked up his second yellow of the afternoon.
Despite being down to nine men Rangers continued to press in hope of getting an equalizer.
Taarabt, who had just come on, found himself in space and pulled an effort wide.
It did prove to be too much to claw back and with 85 minutes on the clock the game ended as a contest.
Once again Swansea broke away down their right hand side and another ball found its way to the far post and Lee Trundle was on hand to put away the killer goal.

All in all we may have lost 2-0 but had it not been for the two sending’s off and some dubious refereeing decisions then Swansea would never of got close to winning the game, a Rangers win or a bore draw would’ve been the result. You could not take away the effort from the players today, despite being stuck in first gear throughout the first half. It’s been a good six match unbeaten run and this international will prove useful to charge the players batteries up once again and then once again attack this league.

Man of the Match today is being given to Damion Stewart for a near faultless effort today. He made quite a few vital interceptions and his distribution was very good also.

The journey home took us two hours from Swansea to Maidenhead, a record that would be hard for anyone to beat. We also found out our winner for the away prediction competition, in 5th was Mark, 4th was PK, 3rd was Sam, 2nd was Justin and for the 2nd time I won the prize money.

Swansea City: de Vries, Williams, Tate, Britton, Pratley (Lopez 86), Dyer, Dobbie (Beattie 72), Monk, Rangel, Gower, Butler (Trundle 61).

Subs not used: Orlandi, van der Gun, Cornell, Richards.

Scorers: Gower (74), Trundle (85)

Bookings: Gower (74)

QPR: Cerny, Stewart, Leigertwood, Routledge, Vine (Faurlin 61), Buzsaky (Taarabt 76), Gorkss, Rowlands, Watson, Simpson (Pellicori 76), Borrowdale.

Subs not used: Ramage, Mahon, Heaton, Ephraim.

Bookings: Rowlands (37 & 53), Gorkss (42), Watson (72 & 77)

Red Cards: Rowlands (53), Watson (77)

QPR fans in attendance - 602

Friday, October 02, 2009

R's on The Road.......... To Swansea City

On Saturday R’s supporters make the second long away trip in three days as they travel across the border into Wales and to Swansea City. Here are a few hints and tips for your journey.


The Stadium.

Current Capacity – 20,500

Swansea Town were formed in 1912 and played at the Vetch Field. They joined the football league in 1920 and have been members ever since. In 1970 they changed their name from Swansea Town to Swansea City.
The early 1980’s were the clubs most successful years when under the guidance of Cardiff born manager John Toshack. He guided ‘The Jacks’ into the top flight in 1981 before leading the club to three successive Welsh Cups which lead to the club playing in the UEFA Cup Winners Cup.
After suffering years of rapid falling down the leagues and financial meltdown in 2003 the club finally found some stability and started to build towards the future.
Swansea moved into the Liberty stadium in 2005 having been at home at the Vetch Field since 1912 and spending 93 years there.
The stadium cost £27 million to build and is fairly conservative in design. It is another of the familiar bowl shaped stadiums that we are now becoming accustomed to in this day and age.
A few useless facts about the stadium include- there are 1,450 pre-cast concrete piles in the ground. If you laid out the piles end to end then they would stretch to almost 13miles! Also, The upper floors and roof structure will be supported by 2,500 tonnes of structural steelwork, which is equal to the weight of 300 average sized African elephants or 1,400 Ford Focus’. Now if they are not useless facts then I don’t know what is.


The History between the teams.

At Swansea (18)

Swansea 9
Draw. 1

Fixtures between the clubs have been very few and far between and when the clubs finally do play each other it is usually in a cup competition. That was until of course The Swans got promoted into the Championship with Roberto Martinez at the helm for the 2008/2009 season. A 0-0 draw for Iain Dowie’s men against 10 men and a defender in goal for over 60 minutes at the Liberty Stadium was played out last October in the R’s first visit to Swansea’s new home. The R’s did manage a 1-0 victory in the return fixture, this time Paulo Sousa was the Rangers manager before his well publicized departure. He is now of course in charge of the day’s hosts.

How to get there.

By Car:-
The all important post code for sat nav users is SA1 2FA.
Otherwise here are the directions for you.
Get on the M4 and go all the way down to junction 45. From here join onto the A4067 towards the City Centre. Around two and a half miles down the road you will see the stadium on your left hand side.
For parking it is advised to supporters to use the Park and Ride facility which is located at Swansea Vale which is on the A4067, shortly off the M4 turning.
There is also street parking available just past the stadium so it will be a case of whatever floats yr boat.

By Train:- As reported on the Official QPR website this Monday the train service will terminate at Cardiff on Saturday due to works on the line. A replacement bus service will be available from here. Check out the national rail website out for details on your journey so you can allow enough time to arrive at the Liberty Stadium.

Pubs 'n' Grub.

Police have instructed pubs close to the ground to not admit away fans, however some people have said that the Harvester right outside the ground has let in away supporters is a great choice of pub for today. If you venture into the City Centre for a drink then these three pubs are recommended, Yates, The bank Statement and The No Sign Bar.
Alcohol is also served in the ground for around £3 a pint.
For food you can use the Harvester as already mentioned or use the array of restaurant or retail outlets available to you.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

QPR Have a Memorable Night on the Toon...

Newcastle 1-1 QPR

QPR's impressive run of form continued, holding leaders Newcastle to a 1-1 draw at St James Park and bringing an end to their 100% home record.


Firstly, a hello from me to you all as I make a guest appearance as Lee will no doubt still be feeling the effects of a day and night out in Newcastle, although from what I have heard, I am sure he will be gutted about not writing this one himself!

Well, for one reason or another, mainly work commitments, I was sadly unable to make the long trip to the North East. Some would listen to the commentary on QPR player, watch Sky Sports news or hunt around for some internet or radio coverage. Me? I just can't do that as I find listening to the game, even more nerve racking than being there. So last night, I was relying on Lee to update me from the happenings at St James by text... and plenty a text came in. (thanks mate)

In fact, that's how this report will be based and I must admit to being somewhat surprised as the first text came in before 8pm - Watson, 25wards out, beauty! Looked deflected tho! Now, I am assuming the spelling mistake was a slip of the hand rather than looking at the phone through glazed eyes. The next one soon followed and I cringed before opening it, but it was soon turned to joy as it informed me of Newcastle being awarded a harsh penalty, only for Cerny to make a good save, Lee did add that it looked poorly placed.


Two more texts followed as I became more and more jittery, after Borrowdale cleared off the line and Cerny was again called into action - we need to hang on, read the end of the text. There was then a long gap before the next one, which came 20 minutes into the second half, stating we have coped well with the pressure and are coming back into the game slowly. Could we do this? Could we really pull off a fantastic result??

Sadly, the next text read - 1-1, cross over and poor marking at the far post. It was even more disappointing when I found that the scorer was Marlon Harewood, who normally, cannot hit a barn door from the inside unless he is playing against QPR.

It was 9.43 when the final message arrived - Second Half was Newcastle's, but one bit of poor defending has cost us. Good point for us. And indeed it was. Lee later said that it was a great match which had him on the edge of his seat throughout. It wasn't much different here, but I so wish I could have been there myself. Thanks, Lee for the updates!!

QPR: Cerny, Stewart, Leigertwood, Routledge, Vine (Faurlin 87), Buzsaky, Gorkss, Rowlands, Watson, Simpson (Taarabt 73), Borrowdale. Subs: Ramage, Agyemang, Pellicori, Heaton, Ephraim.

A fantastic result and performance maybe should have had a better reward, but I for one would have bitten anyone's hand off for a point before the start. And from what I have been reading on facebook and suchlike, a good night was had by all in the Toon after the game. There may be a report on the after party, but you will have to ask Lee about that one...

Come on You R'ssssssssss!!!