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, August 30, 2009

United we win....

This Saturday the Rangers faithful took to the road for another long trip on the motorways, this time we headed up north to Scunthorpe. Lee Brown gives you details on how the day unfolded.

Today saw a depleted mob take to the road as unfortunately Lofty and PK couldn’t get their shifts covered, and after seeing Tuesday’s performance it wasn’t a trip I was particularly looking forward to either but I took to the road with Sam and Justin at about 10am and headed up to the first of the five motorways. Three long hours later and after having our little car blown in every direction possible by the strong prevailing winds along the M1 and M18 we finally arrived at Glanford Park and the first thing we noticed was the beautiful smell of fresh food which is so rare from a football ground. We then parked up and met up with Leeds mob member Paul and took the short walk through the turnstiles into the ground.
Inside the ground we chose to head straight to the refreshments kiosk for a nice bit of grub. I wanted to go for the Yorkshire wrap which has received rave reviews from Lofty and PK but unfortunately the young lad behind the counter didn’t know what one was despite them having a poster up stating that they were on sale there, after a few questions he found out that none were currently ready. I went straight in for a tasty Beef n Onion Pukka pie and my second choice which once again the kid who was serving me didn’t know what he was selling, luckily he received some help and I finally got my pie and drink. Justin had fewer troubles luckily but we were served by possibly the dumbest person we could’ve got, it did entertain us for 5minutes though.
We then meet up with Michael and friends and discussed a few bits whilst the players were going through their warm up right in front of us.


Jim Magilton made seven changes from Tuesday night’s dismal performance against Accrington Stanley. Cerny, Hall, Borrowdale, Routledge, Faurlin, Taarabt and debutant Jay Simpson came in for Heaton, Stewart, Gorkss, Buzsaky, Vine and Agyemang.
It looked as if we were going to start the game with a 4-4-1-1 formation with Simpson up front on his own and Taarabt just behind him in the free role.

Buoyed by the news of the league cup draw on the journey to Scunthorpe the 682 Rangers fans in attendance started the game in good voice and soon had some action to shout about.

Within 30seconds Rangers were on the breakaway, Simpson was played in down the right hand side and was clear of any defenders so Scunthorpe ‘keeper Joe Murphy rushed out of his area and took out Simpson. It was a reckless challenge but he wasn’t clear through on goal so the goalkeeper escaped with a yellow card for his actions.
With 3 minutes on the clock Taarabt picked the ball up just inside the half way line, took on two defenders and then played a neat one-two with Faurlin, bypassing two more defenders in the process before beating one final defender and poking the ball past the advancing Murphy in the Scunthorpe goal to make it 1-0 to the Rangers!
Rangers looked to be finding a groove and were playing some nice passing football and were keeping possession a lot better than in the previous fixture.
Rangers continued to create openings and when Leigertwood found himself in space just inside the 18yard box, after more good work from Faurlin, he saw his shot well saved by Murphy. Was a great opportunity to extend Rangers lead!
The hosts slowly began to creep into the game and a lot of their attacks came from Rangers left hand side and it was only a matter of time until Cerny got tested. Luckily for the Rangers ‘keeper efforts by Hayes and Woolford were pretty tame and gave him nothing to sweat about.
Back up at the other end Simpson was given two fantastic chances to open his Rangers account. Firstly a header from a Routledge cross fell just wide of the mark and the second effort came when he beautifully turned his marker and pulled his effort wide once again when it looked easier to hit the target.


Half time soon came along. Rangers looked comfortable enough and really should’ve been at least two or three goals to the good, if only it was for better finishing. Scunthorpe didn’t totally roll over and in fairness they did create a few chances themselves but the defence and Cerny held up well and didn’t have too much danger in clearing their lines. The biggest worry was that as Scunthorpe were getting more confident in their attacks it seemed as if a lot of what they were creating was coming from the left hand side of our team. Connolly did do a lot of covering out there, even Faurlin and Hogan helped out a fair bit down there and at times we looked nervy but we were dealing with things as we had to.

As the second half was taking shape neither team really had a strangle hold on the game.
Simpson continued his hard work from the first half and was chasing defenders down, putting them under pressure and managing to force a few errors from them. It would’ve been nice if he had a little bit more help up there as he did win a fair share of headers and held the ball up pretty ball before trying to release an on-coming R’s midfielder into the attack.
After a ten minute stalemate in the second half Magilton made the first change of the game, Taarabt coming off and being replaced by Vine. Vine looked to head straight up alongside Simpson and help out the young striker who after all his hard work began to look a little tired.
Shortly after the change Rangers had the first chance of the half.
A corner from the R’s left hand side was only partially cleared and the ball fell to Fitz Hall just outside the right edge of the six yard box, his effort with the outside of the right foot was tipped over by Murphy.
Again the half went into stalemate but Scunthorpe were looking as if they were coming more into the game and Rangers began to sit back a little more and tried counter attacking a lot more but with a lesser success rate.
Halfway into the half the hard working and tired Simpson made way for Helguson as Rangers looked to nick that all important second goal.
However it was Scunthorpe that created the more dangerous attacks. Thompson’s cross was intercepted well by Cerny after good work down the Scunny right hand side. Hayes also looked to have another effort saved by Cerny.
Rangers finally got the perfect counter attack with Hogan down the left hand side and fed Helguson the ball before he laid it off for Vine who was 12 yards out with the goal gaping and begging for him to slot the ball in the half empty net, unfortunately his effort went over when it was definitely easier to hit the target.
Scunthorpe continued to push as Rangers soaked up the pressure but were getting deeper and deeper into their own half.
In the final minutes of normal time Helguson fed in Routledge who was clean through and ran goal wards from the halfway line he got inside the 18yard box and was met by Murphy, Routledge tried slipping the ball past Murphy before running on and tapping into the empty net but has Routledge ran past Murphy it definitely looked like there was contact by the ‘keeper and the R’s would get a penalty and a change to seal the game finally.......... but no! The ref judged Routledge to have dived and booked the winger for this. Having seen the replay I still think contact was made and the decision was a joke! 30 seconds later a small nudge on a Scunthorpe player in our half was judged to be a foul and the already infuriated Magilton exploded and must’ve said a few strong words as the fourth official called over referee Graham Salisbury and he sent Magilton off to the stands.
Just as we were expecting two or three minutes added time to be shown the ref dropped another bombshell on us.............. FIVE MINUTES ADDED TIME!!!!
Where the hell he got this from is a mystery as the only real stoppages came from the six second half substitutions that were made.
After a few more nervy moments in those SIX minutes that were played the R’s secured the precious victory that we have been waiting for. It was far from easy and if Scunthorpe were better in the attacking third then we could really be looking at another drawn game, but it wasn’t and we got our 3 points.

Overall I think we shaded the game and really should’ve been further ahead at half time. We missed two great chances in the second half and of course we had the penalty shout waved away.
In fairness to the hosts though they did fight and scrap but they came up against two very good centre backs having a very good day. It’s a tough call but for me out of Fitz Hall and Matt Connolly I feel Connolly had the better game and therefore today’s Man of the Match is awarded to Matt Connolly.

Finally I do have to give a big mention to the squad of players after the game as all of them came over to the travelling support and all clapped us. Hall, Ramage, Leigertwood, Routledge, Hogan and Simpson all gave their shirts to various members of the crowd in appreciation of the support. Well done to the players for that, it just goes to show that we are united when we win, so let’s be united when we lose and draw also. Let’s get behind the boys and hope that together we can all kick forwards this season and achieve the best results we can through the good and bad performances.

Scunthorpe United: Murphy, Williams, Togwell (McCann 61), Byrne, Sparrow (Thompson 70), Hayes, Hooper, Mirfin, Woolford, O'Connor (Wright 61), Spence.

Subs not used: Lillis, Forte, Morris, Crosby.
Bookings: Murphy (1)

QPR: Cerny, Ramage, Hall, Leigertwood, Routledge, Connolly, Faurlin (Mahon 81), Simpson (Helguson 70), Ephraim, Borrowdale, Taarabt (Vine 56).
Subs not used: Heaton, Stewart, Buzsaky, Pellicori.

Goals: Taarabt (3)
Bookings: Routledge (87)

Attendance: 5, 866 (682)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

LOVE IT!!!!!!

QPR have been rewarded for their narrow victory over Accrington Stanley last week, with a trip to Stamford Bridge to take on rivals, Chelsea in Round 3.

The tie is scheduled to be played on Tuesday 22nd September. BRING IT ON!!!!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

QPR Sign Striker Shock...

QPR have today signed young Arsenal striker, Jay Simpson on a season-long loan deal.

The 20-year-old, who previously has had loan spells at Millwall and West Brom, is expected to go straight into the squad for Saturday's trip to Scunthorpe.

R's Gaffer told the Official QPR Website of his new signing;

'Jay will prove to be a quality addition to the squad. We're delighted to have been given the opportunity to provide him with a platform to showcase his ability. He's already shown glimpses of his quality at Arsenal and during loan spells elsewhere, and we'll be looking for him to continue his progression under our guidance.'


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

QPR Scrape Past Stanley...

QPR 2-1 Accrington Stanley

Second half goals from Hogan Eprhaim and Wayne Routledge ensured progress in the Carling Cup, as Rangers literally scraped through against brave, Accrington Stanley.

Well, I am sure we have all seen the milk advert years ago and there have been many quotes of 'who are they?... exactly!!!', since the draw was made, but Stanley completely out fought and out played Rangers in the first half and would have had their reward had it not been for debutant, Tom Heaton in the R's goal. The R's fans showed their frustrations at half time as the players left the pitch to a chorus of booing!

After the break, two substitutions saw the R's improve slightly in the second half with Adel Taarabt having a real go and almost single handedly attacked the Stanley back line. Rowan Vine and Damion Stewart both missed good chances for Rangers within minutes of the restart as Taarabt's pace and trickery lifted the home supporters.

The deadlock was finally broken on 68 minutes when Ephraim received the ball just inside the box, let it bounce before calmly placing it past keeper Alan Martin. In the dying minutes, Rangers made the game safe, following a corner which went almost all the way back before coming forward again and ended with substitute, Wayne Routledge crashing his shot off the crossbar.

Symes pulled one back for Stanley with just seconds left and it was no more than they deserved on the night - firing low and hard into the net to the delight of the excellent 150 odd Stanley fans, who sang their hearts out from the moment the game kicked off. They seriously, did not shut up throughout the night and are probably still singing now during their long journey home!! Well done to all of them!!

QPR: Heaton, Ramage, Stewart, Mahon (Routledge 68), Leigertwood, Vine, Buzsaky, Agyemang (Taarabt 46), Gorkss (Borrowdale 46), Connolly, Ephraim. Subs: Helguson, Pellicori, Balanta, Cerny.

Lofty's Man of the Match - Adel Taarabt for QPR but the award must go to Accrington Stanley to a man, for an excellent display on the night. Credit also to Peter Ramage once more, who yet again, was the ONLY QPR player to acknowledge the supporters at the final whistle. I will continue to mention this as I am finding this more and more upsetting as a lot of the R's players are quickly turning into prima donnas, or maybe they are just sulking at being booed...

In summary, I mentioned that Saturday's draw with Forest was our worst performance of the season so far, I stand corrected. With so many negatives, I will end with tonight's positives - QPR are in the next round of the Carling Cup - the performance of Accrington Stanley and their supporters - and finally, myself and PK got in for nothing as a reward for last season's loyalty points. Strange though, as I still feel rather cheated...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Four Games, Three Points...

QPR 1-1 Forest

A spectacular first half strike from Mikele Leigertwood was not enough for Rangers to register their first laegue victory of the season, in what was the poorest performance of the season so far.

Despite the midweek defeat at Bristol City, those that were there continued to give positive feedback as far as the R's performance was concerned, but again, the lack of a striker was still much the topic of conversation amongst another full gang quota before the game.

Onto the game and Forest had started well and would have taken an early lead had Rangers keeper Radek Cerny not produced a fine double save. Further chances for Forest followed ebfore Rangers finally woke up tp create some chances of their own - Adel Taarabt hurriedly shot wide after being found in acres of space by Heidar Helguson and Gary Borrowdale also missed a chance to put the R's ahead by blazing over, following Wayne Routledge's cross. But in Rangers' next attack, Leigertwood found the net on 26 minutes with a left-footed shot from 30 yards that flew past former QPR goalkeeper Lee Camp and into the corner of the net.

But despite all this, Forest equalised 12 minutes into the second half. Camp's long kick was flicked on by Dele Adebola and McGoldrick sneaked between defenders Borrowdale and Kaspars Gorkss to fire home. In truth, from here on in, it looked as though if anyone was going to win, it would be the visitors and former R's striker, Dexter Blackstock saw his parried shot, cleared off the line b7 Peter Ramage late on. But the best chance to win the game came in the dying seconds, when Helguson headed over from Buzsaky's right-wing cross.

QPR; Cerny, Ramage, Stewart (Gorkss,46), Borrowdale, Leigertwood, Routledge, Pellicori (Vine,61), Faurlin, Helguson, Taarabt (Buzsaky,66). Subs not used; Heaton, Connolly, Mahon, Agyemang

Lofty's Man of the Match - two this week - Alejandro Faurlin for an excellent home debut and Peter Ramage, for being the ONLY R's player to be bothered to come over and acknowledge the supporters at full time!!!

In summary, I personally think that Forest will feel the more disappointed not to have won the game as they looked the more urgent of the two sides in the second half. All of us R's fans are hoping dearly that a new striker will arrive soon, but today, it was poor defending that cost us dearly.

Finally, I must just mention the catering once again as PK decided to try the much recommended, Beef Yorkshire wrap at half time, to which he definitely gave a big thumbs up!!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Brizzle drizzle on our parade

As Rangers made their 3rd away trip to the west country in a week, having previously won 5-0 and drawing 1-1, this time Lofty Heights took the trip to Ashton Gate for tonight’s game against Bristol City. Lee Brown brings you a round-up of the night’s action.


We decided to leave early for the trip down to Bristol and this time we had a new driver with us, Mark, who was making his first trip to Ashton Gate see what he has been missing out on. Sam and Justin were also in attendance.
The journey was a smooth one for the four mob members and all of us were in a confident mood. I predicted a 0-0, Sam 1-1, Mark 2-2 and Justin just predicted a loss. After an hour and a bit down the M4 we arrived at our destination with nearly two hours to kill before the big kick off. There is not much you can do when you arrive to the ground as there is nothing around it apart from a retail park and nothing entertainment wise around the ground so we took the one option we had in front of us...... KFC! Once we finished wiping the grease from our chins we had a quick bet and made our way into the ground. As the facilities aren’t the best in the world at Ashton gate we decided to grab ourselves a few cokes and make our way to the stand and pick out a premium view, if we could find one, but instead settled for getting a place where we could just see both goals and be done with it.

Jim Magilton made three changes from Saturday’s 1-1 draw at Plymouth. Damion Stewart, Mikele Leigertwood and debutant Alejandro Faurlin came in for Kaspers Gorkss, Gavin Mahon and Heidar Helguson; all three were named on the Rangers bench.

As the game started it looked as if Rangers were flirting with a new 4-2-3-1 formation. Leigertwood and Faurlin being the two holding midfielders and Routledge, Taarabt and Buzsaky playing just behind and supporting Agyemang up front.

Rangers were the team that got off to the brighter start. Agyemang and Buzsaky both had efforts flying over the bar. Faurlin made a promising start and looks to be a battling midfielder who isn’t afraid to put a foot in where needed. He also looks to read the game pretty well. I must admit that at times it looked as if he struggled with the pace of the game but as he gains more experience in this league he will become an important part of the team.
After a good 15 minutes of pressure Bristol City started to come back into the game and it was Rangers who had to ride the waves and at times ride their luck.
It seemed as if the QPR left hand side was being targeted and with Danny Haynes’ pace giving Borrowdale a lot to think about it was from here that the hosts had their first real chance. Borrowdale fouled Haynes just outside the 18 yard box. From the free kick Maynard had a glorious chance saved by Cerny. Soon after a Bristol City corner flew into the box and was met by Lewin Nyatanga’s head, it looked as if this was going to go in at the far post but Buzsaky was on the line to head clear and Rangers lived to save another day.
City were soon on the attack once again. Haynes slid Maynard in and was one on one with Cerny; Maynard’s shot beat Cerny and was heading towards the far post....... Rangers fans soon breathed a sigh of relief as we saw the effort roll just past the post. Major let off!!
Rangers were struggling to take a stranglehold on the game and after a wildly late challenge from Faurlin, he picked up his first booking his career in English football. Bristol City were also forced into their 1st substitution of the game soon after due to an injury.

Rangers managed to see the half out and it was a relief to get into half time still at 0-0.

At half time I went down to see Gobi and we got straight into the tactical talk. We figured out that Rangers were playing a new style formation but failed to understand why Taarabt was moved into the central strikers role and have Agyemang drop in at left wing. We were also scratching our heads at the fact that we had our best two defenders, Gorkss and Connolly, on the bench. It just doesn’t seem to make any sense. I’m sure Connolly is as baffled as we are! After a good natter deliberating what could happen I resumed my place in my back, which had no back to it, and the second half got under way.

Rangers again started brightly and it seemed as if Magilton had given them a good talking to during the interval.

After good play between Faurlin and Buzsaky, Buzsaky played a lovely pass to Routledge whose shot at the neat post was saved comfortable by the keeper.
Rangers started to knock the ball around quite nicely and Buzsaky, Taarabt, Faurlin and Routledge were at the heart of most of Rangers attacking play.
Rangers best chance soon came. Routledge played a fantastic ball in the box which caused problems in the City defence and evaded everyone until Taarabt met the ball at the far post and, with the goal seemingly being empty from our angle, he managed to poke the ball goal wards but it agonizingly hit the post and come out. How this was missed was simply unbelievable! I still don’t know how he didn’t score.
Bristol City made their 2nd change of the game and this was soon followed by a double Rangers substitution. Pellicori and Vine came on for Taarabt and Agyemang.
Soon after the substitution Rangers were back on the attack. A cross came in from the right and Pellicori rose above everyone and spotted Vine coming into the box unmarked, he nodded down but a City defender just got in front of Vine and cleared the danger.
City were forced into their 3rd substitution of the night, new boy Velicka who had only signed on loan from Glasgow Rangers 24 hours previously looked to take a heavy fall and was stretched off only 18minutes after coming on as a sub.
In what looked a cruel injury this seemed to turn the game in City’s favour as they pressed Rangers back. And it was five minutes later were the damage was done.
After some neat work and opening up the Rangers defence and midfield down the left hand side the ball made its way to Maynard just outside the box, he dropped his shoulder to turn past Hall (I think) and unleash an unstoppable drive past Cerny. Was a very well taken goal!

City continued to press Rangers and two minutes later Maynard nearly got his second. His shot again beat Cerny but once again the effort went just past the far post.
In the last desperation act Faurlin came off after a decent 85 minutes and was replaced by Helguson. Rangers pushed for the last minute equaliser that they deserved for the second half performance. The first glorious chance came when a fantastic came in from the right and was destined for Helguson’s head but for some unknown reason he didn’t throw his head at it and just watched the ball skim past his forehead. All he had to do was make contact and hit the target and it had goal written all over it. Just as it seemed the game was over there was one final chance. After some neat passing Leigertwood found himself in the box, took on 2defenders, got free, all he had to do was blast it, instead he took 3 touches and when he tried to lift the ball over the keeper he was too close and the effort was clawed away and the best effort had gone.

A frustrating end to a deeply frustrating game!

Just to top it off I thought the Ref and Linesmen had shocking games. The linesman in the 2nd half didn’t seem to have a clue what offside meant and raised his flag at near enough any opportunity he could.

Today’s Man of the Match goes to .... Fitz Hall. He followed up a good performance at Plymouth on Saturday with another decent performance here.

QPR: Cerny, Ramage, Stewart, Hall, Leigertwood, Routledge, Buzsaky, Agyemang (Pellicori 67), Faurlin (Helguson 85), Borrowdale, Taarabt (Vine 66).

Subs: Mahon, Gorkss, Connolly, Heaton.

Goal: Maynard (77)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

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


On this coming Tuesday night QPR supporters once again find themselves on the road to the west country for the third time in a week. This time it’s a shorter trip down the M4 to Bristol City as Rangers look to overcome the disappointment from Saturday’s game down in Plymouth. Lee Brown gives you a few hints and tips for the journey.

The Stadium.

Ashton Gate. Current Capacity - 21,479


Bristol South End was the original name of the club until they turned professional and founded the club under the new name of Bristol City. In 1900 the club merged with local rivals Bedminster, who themselves were founded in 1887 under the name of Southville. Bedminster’s home was Ashton Gate but when the two teams merged together under the name Bristol City, they played very few games at Ashton Gate and it wasn’t until 1904 that this ground was made the permanent home for the club.
In 1934 Bristol City won the Welsh Cup, despite being an English team.
In 1994 the Blackthorn Atyeo Stand (named after the clubs highest goal scorer John Atyeo) was transformed from an open terrace into an all seater stand. This is behind the goal at one end of the ground.
In 1995 the Dolman Stand had the lower tier of the Stand added. This is also has the Evening Post Dolman Exhibition Hall, home to the Supporters Club.
Opposite the Dolman Stand is the Prime Time Williams Stand. This is a very old looking stand and still has wooden seats for fans in this area. The directors box and press are accommodated here.
Then behind the other goal is the Micra Wedlock Stand, this is where the visiting support will be housed for this fixture. Again this is an old stand and is all seated but the chairs don’t have backs on them so be very careful if you do decide to sit down. The view is restricted slightly by pillars in various positions in the stand.

The History between the teams.

At Bristol City (37)

Bristol City 17
Draw 11

Rangers haven’t won at Ashton Gate since the 2002/2003 season. It was the 21st September and a 3-1 victory courtesy of goals from Karl Connolly (2) and a certain Kevin Gallen.
The last two fixtures at Bristol City have ended in draws. Last season was a 1-1 draw with Blackstock getting the goal. The most memorable game was the opening fixture of the 2007/2008 season and a 2-2 draw in an exciting encounter between the two teams. Bristol City seemed to of nicked a win at the death with a late goal from Scott Murray and it was a superb strike which was worthy of winning any game. Rangers didn’t give up on the game and equalised almost instantly via a Damion Stewart header right at the death when it seemed the game had been lost for the visitors.


How to get there.

By Car:-
For those with the benefit of sat nav the post code you require is BS3 2EJ.
There are two ways you can attack the journey into Bristol. One way is to come off the M4 at junction 20 and drive down the M32 which leads into the City Centre, from here you will see signposts for the ground and is relatively easy to find.
The easiest route is to come off the M4 onto the M5 and come off the M5 at junction 18. From here travel down the A4 along Portway and follow the signs for Bristol Airport/Taunton (A38). Go over Brunel Way Bridge and branch to the left hand side onto Winterstoke Road and you will see the ground on your left hand side.
In regards to parking there is a car park on Ashton Vale Road which is just off the Winterstoke Road on the right hand side.

By Train:- You are most likely to arrive at Bristol Temple Meads station which is a good two miles or so away from the ground. You can get a taxi to the ground from here and will cost you roughly £6 for the trip. I wouldn’t advise walking to the ground as it is a fair trek .

Pubs 'n' Grub.

There are no pubs near the ground that would be advised to be used by the travelling support so if you feel like a beer then I would point you in the direction of the City Centre and enjoy a tipple there.
No alcohol is sold inside the away stand.
Food is available outside the ground in the form of KFC, otherwise most of the food options would have to be relied on the in ground catering or once again the City Centre for all your favourite food retailers.

Déjà vu in Plymouth...

Plymouth 1-1 QPR

In the first league away fixture of the season QPR travelled down to Devon for the second time in 5 days to take on today’s hosts Plymouth Argyle. Lee Brown describes how today’s unbelievable events unfold.

The day started very early today for the four of us travelling down to Plymouth. Lofty was the driver for the day taking Justin, Jointy and myself on a trip to the west country that not only had a sense of déjà vu about it but also a day that none of us will forget in a hurry, for both good and bad reasons.
The journey down was a nightmare from start to finish! After picking up both Justin and Jointy from home via Northolt and Hayes they hit traffic instantly on the M4 and this delayed the journey by half an hour straight away. Who would do roadworks on a Saturday?? Do these people not know that the motorways are usually full of excitable football fans travelling up and down the country to see their teams? At 10.30 they guys picked me up from Reading's stadium, where I had been dropped off so I could join the guys and enjoy the days 'entertainment' in good company.
After a smooth journey down the M4 we cut onto the M5 at Bristol and hit Nightmare Street. We were practically bumper to bumper for nearly an hour and a half, seeing thousands and this isn't an exaggeration, thousands of caravans! There were more caravans on the road up and down the M5 to fill all the caravan parks in this country. It was like a caravan cruise had been planned down the motorway. After spending ages stuck in this traffic we decided to let the sat nav take control and take us on a detour it planned for us. It took us through the little village town of Banwell and en route we came across a cathedral, castle, tractors, a scrap yard and believe it or not more caravans! After taking this detour we found that all we done had cut out one junction and were really no better off, although it did take 20 miles off our journey. As we continued to struggle on down the motorway we decided to play a little game between ourselves and predict all the scores from the Premiership, Championship, League 1 and League 2 fixtures. We would award 2 points for a correct score and 1 point for a right outcome. It was a £5 entry and made things slightly more interesting as we continued to go along at 10-20 mph. Finally we came to the source of the problem just past junction 25 on the M5, a burnt out car, I couldn't recognize the car as it was pretty crispy as we went past. Hopefully no-one was hurt in the process.
Once we got past this we started to fly. We needed to do 80 miles in just over 50 minutes and that was just to arrive 20 minutes after kick off. After some fantastic driving from Lewis Hamilton, sorry i mean Lofty, we arrived and parked at the ground at 3.05 and walked round the stadium to the away entrance before taking our seats only 12 minutes into the game.

Jim Magilton made 2 changes from last weekend’s league match against Blackpool, Buzsaky and Leigertwood coming in for Balanta and Rowlands through injuries in the previous game.
New Loan signing Tom Heaton from Man United took his place on the bench for his first game in a three month loan period. Welcome to Tom from all at Lofty Heights.


Having missed the first 10-15 minutes I really cannot comment on anything that happened so we shall bypass all to what we did witness.
As we entered the stand Rangers were awarded a free kick. Akos Buzsaky stepped up and struck a fierce drive which Larrieu got stung with but lead to no further danger.
It was a real battle of the defences with neither team really having a killer pass to thread through the defence and create any clear goal scoring opportunities.
The majority of the action was coming from the Grandstand where the Plymouth fans were. In the space of 10minutes 3 people got ejected from the ground for what looked like arguments being started between themselves. It really was quite unbelievable to see!
As the half reached the halfway point Rangers begun to hit a little bit of a groove and looked the more attacking side. Routledge attempted a 25yard effort which seemed to slide just wide of the Plymouth goal.
Rangers really were beginning to look the most threatening going forwards, Taarabt and Routledge were usually at the heart of us going forwards without really troubling Larrieu in the Plymouth goal.
As time went on we witnessed another 3 Plymouth fans get rejected from the stands. It really was quite strange how Plymouth fans were fighting within themselves!
With 5 minutes left of the first half and the game seemingly heading for 0-0 at half time, myself and Lofty headed downstairs for refreshments as the four of us had created quite a thirst and hunger in the long journey down. This is where the day got even worse!!
Whilst we were in the queue for food and drink we heard the Rangers fans erupt, a goal just when it seemed unlikely! Everyone downstairs were curious as to who the goal scorer was and we found out that it was Helguson, who to be fair was a spectator for most of the first half. Having seen the highlights i can now describe the goal.
Taarabt collected the ball and ventured down the left flank, cut in and looked to shoot from just outside the left side of the 18yard box, the shot hit the defenders boot and spun into the ground going towards goal and there was Helguson following up to nod home his first goal of the season. 1-0 Half time.

As we enjoyed the half time interval downstairs with the hard earned food and soft drinks we bumped into a few friendly faces in Paul 'the Elf', Nik, Sarah and Vikki that we haven't seen in a long while. We all managed to pick up on how vunerable we looked on the left side of defence and how Gorkss was pretty much playing in two different positions throughout the half as Borrowdale was slow to get back and wasn't playing his best game for Rangers this season. The Rangers defence really did look like it could absorb anything that was thrown at it, just the left side worried us.


The second half begun and we promptly took our seats and we hoped to not miss another vital piece of action all game.
In a fairly even opening 10 minutes it was Rangers that had the first major chance of the first half.
Taarabt cut in from his wide left role that he was occupying in the second period, swapping roles with Buzsaky, he found himself in the middle of the park just outside the 18yard box. He curled an effort that just whisked past the post into the side netting, very very close to being the second goal that Rangers needed.
On 60 minutes Helguson came off for Agyemang.
Again the game was played in midfield with both defences absorbing any attacks their opponents threw at them.
On 73 minutes Hogan Ephraim came on for the tiring Buzsaky. 4 minutes later Rowan vine came on for Taarabt.
Plymouth were slowly beginning to put the pressure on the Rangers defence in search of an equalizer. This left Plymouth open to a Rangers counter attack and we set upon looking for our first victory of the season.
With roughly five minutes of normal time left Vine was set free and run towards goal and only had the Plymouth keeper to beat. Rather than taking his chance early with the angle to goal more open Vine took the ball on into the 18 yard box and Larrieu was able to close the angle down, Vine tried placing his shot past the keeper but was denied by a good stop and wasted the opportunity to secure Rangers first victory at Plymouth since the 2002/2003 season.
As the game closed out and Plymouth putting more and more pressure on the Rangers defence we found that we had to survive five, yes five, minutes of injury time. How there was five minutes extra I struggle to believe, it was more like three after having just one major stoppage through injury.
Plymouth pressed for the elusive equalizer and nearly got it. A ball came in from the right hand side and caused all sorts of problems in the Rangers defence. After a bit of a scramble it was Gavin Mahon who cleared off the line and put the ball out for a throw in.
From the throw in a long ball was thrown into the box and once again the Rangers defence panicked and with Cerny being less than commanding and claiming the loose ball, it hit the unfortunate Gorkss to deflect into the net to gift Plymouth an equalizer that if I'm perfectly honest they definitely did not deserve.
Once again, for the second time in two years we were left cursing a last minute goal at Home Park. The game can be so cruel sometimes!
As we made our way out of the stadium we were met with the chants "1-0 and u messed it up(a slightly censored version)" and the funniest one of them all " You're just a small town in London!". Someone figure that one out as it confused us all and just made us laugh for quite a while.

Today’s Man of the Day is Lofty for driving the four of us down to Plymouth in difficult conditions and managing to remain calm enough to get us to the ground and only missing 10minutes of the game. A big thank you to him from all of us.

The Man of the Match as voted in the car by us all was - Wayne Routledge.

Once we got through all the funny chants we headed straight to the burger vans, where me and Lofty took the challenge of eating a Bellybuster. In this is a burger, jumbo sausage, bacon and cheese. (As pictured below)


We demolished them before grabbing a few sweet delights for the journey home. I do recommend the warm donuts, they went down a treat!

The journey home was a very smooth one and encountered no problems at all. We also found out our winner for the predictions and the chance to take home £15 more than expected. After all the games were ticked off the final scores were :-
4th- Jointy 19 points, 3rd- Lofty 21 points and we had a tie for first between myself and Justin for first place, both of us getting 26 points. After trying to find a winner by using the most amount of correct scores we were still tied on 6-6! Times got desperate so we had to predict the five results from the Scottish Third Division. After 3 games the scores were tied, as the 4th result got read out I took a 1 point lead with the deciding result to come..... Livingston beat Montrose 2-0, Justin predicted the 2-0 win...... Luckily so did I and collected the money.
A good end to what was a frustrating day of football but at the end of the day the four of us had a really good giggle through the day!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

R's on the Road.......... To Plymouth Argyle

Lee Brown brings you some info, hints and tips for those R's fans making the long journey down to Plymouth this weekend.


After a long trip down to Devon on Tuesday night to play Exeter in the triumphant 5-0 League Cup victory, Rangers again face an even longer journey down the M5 to Plymouth in the first domestic away game of the season.

The Stadium.

Home Park. Current Capacity – 19,500

Home Park has gone through two major redevelopments over the last 65 years. The first one was totally unplanned as Home Park was destroyed by German bombers during the blitz on Plymouth during World War 2. Having been totally rebuilt once the war was over a second redevelopment took place and was completed in 2002. On Boxing Day in 2001 the Devonport End and Barn Park End were both opened for the first time in the fixture against local rivals Torquay. A month later, on 26th January the Lyndhurst End opened up for the game against Oxford.
The main Grandstand remains as the original stand that was rebuilt after the war. In 2007 it was fitted with temporary seating, complying with the UK authorities ruling on terracing. This has reduced the capacity from 23,000(roughly) due to the 3,500 temporary seats being in place.
There are plans afoot to completely rebuild the Grandstand and completing the redevelopment, this will result in a multi-tiered stand with boxes, conference centre and all the usual corporate facilities. There are even talks of maybe building a hotel or providing housing, this is all rumour so we shall see how this goes. Work is planned for 2010 if this all gets the green light.

Rangers fans will take their places in the Barn Park End in the left corner which enables a lot of singing and banter between both set of fans. 1000 tickets have been allocated to us.


The History between the teams.

At Plymouth Argyle (23)

Plymouth 16
Draw 2

Home Park does not give many happy memories to Rangers Fans on their travels having not won in the last 6 attempts of trying (and I have been to 4 of them!). The last victory was 18th Jan 2003 in the play-off season, a Richard Pacquette goal being the difference maker.

How to get there.

By Car: -

For those of you who use sat nav. here is your lucky post code PL2 3DQ

For those who don’t, here is a rough guide for you......
Get onto the M5 and follow it down where it turns into the A38 and follow all the way down to Plymouth. Just as you enter the Plymouth border take the left turning onto the A386. This road will split in 2, ensure that you keep to the left hand side (it will be signposted ‘Plymouth’) and after a mile or so you will see the ground on the left hand side.
There is a large car park right next to the ground which is very cheap to park in. The only slight downside to it is that it is a first in, first out car park and this can lead you to being sat waiting half an hour or so after full time before you can get ready for that long journey home.
For those of you more daring, there is street parking available nearer the city centre but be careful where you park.

By Train:-
You have 1 of 2 choices to make as you come out of the station, either grab a cab and enjoy a 5 minute journey to the ground for the expense of a few gold nuggets or you can choose to walk to the ground. If you choose to walk then you have a 15-20 minute walk ahead of you. As you come out of the station turn right and walk downhill and under the railway bridge. Carry walking straight on and you will arrive at your destination, with the ground being on the right hand side.

Pubs 'n' Grub.

If you like to enjoy a swift beverage before the game then I would point you in the direction of the Britannia pub. It is a Wetherspoons pub so you can sip your favourite beverage at a very reasonable price. I have been to this pub on 3 occasions and have found this a very friendly place to be. This usually gets very busy and has security staff on the door controlling the show so you can relax and enjoy the pre match build up.
A place to avoid is the Embassy Club; this is located just opposite the Britannia.
This is an easy pub to find, come out of the car park and take a left, walking downhill; the pub is on the opposite side of the road on the corner of a street. It’s roughly a 5-10 minute walk.
If you don’t fancy the pub option then alcohol is served inside the ground, so I am informed.

Where food is concerned I am unaware of what is available in the city centre, I’m sure the usual variety of culinary delights are available there but it is a bit of a walk away.
Otherwise there is a large amount of burger vans to cater for all your needs outside the ground. They are all gathered outside the Devonport End, right next to the car park.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Carling Cup Draw............ Who Are They???? Exactly!!

In tonights Carling Cup draw the Superhoops have been drawn at home to Accrington Stanley.


Famed for the 1980's advert where two school kids drink milk talking about football and the famous line "Accrington Stanley?? Who are they?" "Exactly!!" came to fruitition.

Jim Magilton told the official QPR website "I'm happy we've got a home draw.

"It'll be nice to be at Loftus Road, especially when you take into account the travelling we've got in the early part of the season."

"This competition is one we want to progress in, but it won't be easy against a good Accrington side. I know John Coleman very, very well and he'll be looking to come here and cause an upset, that's for sure."

QPR beat Exeter 5-0 and Accrington beat Walsall in their first round ties last night to set up this Second Round affair.

The Tie will be played on the week commencing 24th August.

Wayne Starts The Rout.......

Exeter 0-5 QPR

Rangers cup campaign started with a 350 mile round trip down to Devon to take on hosts Exeter City. Lee Brown brings you a review of how events unravelled.


The thought of three trips to the West Country in a week was never appealing but Me, Sam and Justin of the Henley Mob started off the first leg of the three at 3.30 and enjoyed what was an incredibly smooth trip down the M4 and M5 into Exeter without hitting any traffic at all on the way down. We arrived just before 6.30 and went on the search for a cash machine. This simple task would usually take two seconds but 10minutes later we were still on the search..... I've never known it to be so hard to find one when it's needed, but this was like the Crystal Maze! I was waiting for Richard O'Brien to jump out and tell me that if I didn't find one in the next 3minutes I would be automatically locked in Exeter until one of my team mates could buy me out with a crystal...... luckily that didn’t happen.
After getting the cash and indulging in a greasy KFC, we set on our way for the 5 minute walk to the ground where we were unsure of what kind of team or display we were going to witness from the R's tonight.
Once we got in the ground and found ourselves our spot where we could catch a good view and have no-one that could block our views in the pleasant St James Terracing we were housed in for the evening. We soon met up with Mr Michael Whelan (plus friend) and we were ready to see what delights that were going to be thrown at us.

813 Rangers fans travelled down to Devon for tonight’s encounter, well done to all those.

Jim Magilton made seven changes from Saturday's 1-1 draw with Blackpool. Connolly, Stewart, Leigertwood, Buzsaky, Ephraim, Vine and Agyemang came in for Ramage, Hall, Mahon, Rowlands, Balanta, Helguson and Taarabt. The first 3 moving to the bench, Rowlands missing out through injury, Helguson and Taarabt missed the game due to international call ups and Balanta wasn't included.

Team (from right to left) :- Cerny; Connolly, Stewart, Gorkss, Borrowdale; Routledge, Leigertwood, Buzsaky, Ephraim; Vine, Agyemang.
Subs - Putnins, Ramage, Hall, Alberti, Ainsworth, Mahon, Pellicori.

The game started in a lively fashion and we had a pretty even opening 10 minutes. The first chance fell to the visitors. A good cross from the right hand side from Matt Connolly found Vine at the back post, his header was looped in the air, from our angle it looked as if it was going miles over, but we were surprised to see the ball drop down and hit the top of the crossbar and went over.
Exeter then started to knock the ball around with some good passing football and they soon created chances of their own. Three chances fell to Marcus Stewart, two of which tested Cerny but if he directed any of his efforts wide of Cerny rather than at him then it's more than likely he would've scored with one of them. As it was none of them troubled Cerny and the clean sheet remained intact.... for now.
Exeter continued to knock the ball around with considered ease and begun to control the midfield. Leigertwood and Buzsaky were mere spectators until the 35-40 minute mark and were really struggling to make any kind of impact on the game. Another Exeter chance come along in the form of a 25 yard effort but Cerny once again dealt with it with considerable ease.
Rangers enjoyed the final 5 minutes of the first half in ascendancy and Buzsaky enjoyed more possession in the centre of the field and was looking to feed in Routledge and Vine, who moved wide for the last 15 minutes of the first half, in the wide positions and trouble the Exeter full backs. This nearly happened, one cross flew in from the right hand side and one of the Exeter defenders headed the ball in the direction of their own goal but it ended up on the right side of the goal from his point of view. From the resulting corner Stewart and a header saved.

Half time then came and saved us!! It was a fairly even half but if I'm honest Exeter shaded it and had the better of the chances. Magilton definitely had a tough half time team talk to endure and really needed to kick us up the backsides to make sure that we wouldn't have a performance like that in the second half.

Exeter came out in the second half and played the same good, fluid football that troubled Rangers in the first half and again started winning the midfield battle. Another Stewart effort went begging and let the visitors off once again.
I exchanged a few texts with Gobi at this point about how weak our midfield were looking and how we needed a leader and a battler in the centre of the midfield so we could start to win the battle and begin to take the game to Exeter. As these texts were exchanged this happened..........
Leigertwood won the ball in midfield and spotted the run of Routledge, he lifted a ball over the Exeter defence which set Routledge clear. Having beaten the offside trap it was a straight race between Routledge and Paul Jones, the ball bounced and Routledge got there first and neatly dinked his effort over Jones and into the empty net in slow motion. 53 minutes, 1-0!!
Goes to show how fans think they know everything..... clearly not! Ha-ha.
Despite conceding the goal Exeter to be fair to them continued to take the game to Rangers and soon nearly got their reward. A corner from the right hand side was met by Craig McAllister, a former Rangers trialist, his header was powered towards goal and was destined to be the equaliser, and unfortunately the header was once again straight at Cerny.
Shortly after this chance it was the R's that hit the attack in the form of Agyemang. He took on his defender and threaded a ball through two defenders to the oncoming Routledge who found space just inside the box, he unleashed a shot from a tightish angle which found the back of the net. 61 minutes, 2-0!
What were we all worrying about? The game had been turned on its head in 8 minutes.
Three minutes later Rangers had a corner on the left hand side. Buzsaky floated in a ball to the back post where Gorkss fired a header at goal, it hit the defender on the line, and from our angle the ball crossed the line, but the linesman flagged and signalled for a deliberate handball on the line rather than give the goal. Goldbourne was sent off for the handball and Routledge was given the ball to try and clinch his hat-trick. The penalty was put away with ease and Routledge grabbed the match ball with an 11 minute hat trick. 64 minutes, 3-0!
Routledge was immediately substituted and was given a good reception by the R's fans, he was replaced by Gareth Ainsworth. Rowan Vine also came off and he was replaced by debutant Alessandro Pellicori.
With the extra man advantage Rangers took the game by the throat and really began to assert their authority on the game. Soon the Superhoops started to play the smooth passing game that Magilton has tried to install in the team.
Agyemang then came off and was replaced by Mahon. We then adapted a 4-4-1-1 formation with Pellicori up top on his own with Buzsaky supporting him in his most effective role.
Ainsworth was soon in the action after coming on. Ephraim sent in a deep ball to the back post about 8 yards out, Ainsworth looped his header towards the top left corner and beat the keeper but a defender was on the line to clear for a corner, if he wasn't there then Pellicori would've been on hand to nod home from all of a yard out.
Pellicori did then get his first chance of the game after running clear of the defence but blazed his effort over. Luckily the offside flag had already gone up.
Pellicori's movement and positioning for every ball that entered the box was worrying the Exeter defence and was also enabling Buzsaky to finally show us what we know he can do.
On 85 minutes we saw the fourth goal of the game.
Buzsaky swung in a far post cross once again and this was again met by Gorkss who couldn't put any power on his header but the ball fell to Stewart 4yards out with his back to goal, he kicked the ball back over his head and found the unmarked Pellicori and he fired home his volley from 4yards out, grabbing his first competitive goal for Rangers and no-one can say he didn't deserve it. Hopefully people will give him a bit more of a chance after seeing his performance tonight.
Rangers however hadn't finished. Ephraim was wide on the left hand side, cut in and curled in a sublime effort from 18 yards out. This was by far the best goal of the night and completed the scoring for tonight’s game.


QPR: Cerny, Stewart, Leigertwood, Routledge (Ainsworth 65), Vine (Pellicori 65), Buzsaky, Agyemang (Mahon 71), Gorkss, Connolly, Ephraim, Borrowdale.

Subs: Putnins, Ramage, Hall, Alberti.

Goals: Routledge (53 , 61, 64), Pellicori (85), Ephraim (89).

The Mobs Man Of The Match - Wayne Routledge. Who else!

In summary the score line did flatter us a hell of a lot but it was pleasing to see us still create chances and finally take them. Exeter caused all sorts of problems for our midfield and if they had done like we did and took any one of them then we really could be reading a different story. Improvements to be made but the positives to take out of the game are - a clean sheet, Connolly looking solid as ever, Routledge's hat trick and constant threat and finally, Pellicori coming on and showing the fans what he is capable of and hopefully staking a claim for a start in one of the coming games.

We shall look forward to the second trip down to Devon on Saturday.


Sunday, August 09, 2009

R's on the Road........... To Exeter City.

Lee Brown brings you some info, hints and tips for those R's fans making the first away trip of the season down to Exeter City.


The League Cup campaign begins for all the Football League Clubs in the first midweek games of the season. Rangers first test of the competition comes in the form of League 1 new boys Exeter City.

The Stadium.

St James Park. Current Capacity – 8,830

Having looked at pictures of the ground, thank you Google images, I can say that I am looking forward to the trip down to the South-West.
Two of the stands have been recently developed. The Flybe Stand was built up in 2001 and seats 2116 fans. Next to the Flybe Stand, behind one of the goals, is the Big Bank Terrace. This was built up in 2000 and holds nearly 4000 fans in there. As you again move around you get to a very old looking Grandstand. Having researched this it seems as if this was originally built in 1908 when Exeter City successfully applied and gained membership for the Southern League and replaced Tottenham Hotspur in the process. This Grandstand has since had wind shields fixed on one side of the stand. This holds 1690 fans in there, of which we have been allocated 150 of them. Finally we get to the St James Road Terrace. This looks very shallow behind one of the goals. You will be able to look behind the terrace and clearly see the houses that are behind it. This will hold 1053 Rangers fans; let’s pray that we have good weather that day!

Before St James Park was built as a sports facility it was previously a site that was rented out for fattening pigs by Lady Anne Clifford back in 1654. All the proceeds that she made were donated to a charity set up to pay for the apprenticeship of a poor child from the parish of St Stephen. This arrangement was supposed to be renewed yearly until the worlds end.

Exeter City was formed by two others teams that were local rivals. These were Exeter United and St. Sidwell’s United. Exeter United were formed in 1890 and played until 1904 at St James Park and after losing to St Sidwell’s 3-1 the two teams agreed that they should merge as one and this was the birth of Exeter City. The continued to play at St James Park and inherited St Sidwell’s kit colours of green and white. In 1910 Exeter City changed the colours of their kit after winning only 2 of their opening 11 games and deemed the current kit unlucky, they swapped over to res and white stripes and to this day they still wear the colours proudly.


The History between the teams.

At Exeter City (29)

Exeter 10
Draw 10

The last competitive fixture between the two teams was way back on 12th March 1966 when Rangers were 1-0 winners at Loftus Road. The last 4 games at Exeter have ended in draws, 3 of them 0-0 and one 2-2.

How to get there.

By Car: -
For those of you with the benefit of having a sat nav. Punch in the postcode EX4 6PX.

For those without and prefer doing it the old fashioned way then here is a rough guide for you.
Once you get onto the M5 follow it all the way down to junction29. From here follow signs for the City Centre which take you on the A3015 and B3183. The road you will end up on is Heavitree Road. You will then approach a large roundabout, take the 4th exit which will take you onto Western Way. At the next roundabout take the 3rd exit onto Old Tiverton Road and then take a left onto St James Road and you will arrive at the destination.
There is street parking available but it is a little way from the ground as there is a local residents scheme at the nearby houses. I would advice leaving half an hour early just so you can find somewhere to park and then navigate your way to the ground by foot.

By Train: -

Most trains will arrive at either Exeter Central or Exeter St Davids stations. From either station you can grab a local train down to St James Park or you can walk through the City Centre to the ground.

Pubs 'n' Grub.

Having read reviews by other fans it does seem as if the Exeter fans are very friendly and welcoming and there are no real no-go areas from what I have read. A few places that have been given good reviews are – The Social Club which is at the ground, The Victoria which is situated down Victoria Road behind the Grandstand, and finally the Bowling Green pub which is up Blackboy Road, just off of the Old Tiverton Road and is roughly a quarter of a mile from the ground.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

QPR Held at Home as Season Begins...

QPR 1-1 Blackpool

A rare if not a tad fortunate goal from Peter Ramage, earned Rangers a share of the points and it was the least we deserved, as the new season began at Loftus Road.

Well, firstly I will say how great it was to be back, but there was definitely a feeling of 'same old Rangers' about things, as PK went to LR this morning to pick up mine and his duplicate season tickets, as they had not been delivered and judging by the size of the queue outside the box office, we were certainly not the only ones...

Other than that, all went smoothly and the gang, including Mick, DJ, PK, Corp, Leeroy, Sam, Justin, Sophie, myself and California Hoop, or should I say, 'Greybeard', descended on the Springbok for our pre match entertainment and from here, we got in the ground in plenty of time to pay our respects to the late, Bobby Robson, R.I.P.

Moving onto the game itself and again, it was another feeling of 'same old Rangers'. The football was good and chances were aplenty - the best when Routledge breezed past Stephen Crainey and sent in a low cross towards Heidar Helguson, who scuffed a shot against the crossbar. But on 38 minutes, the R's were left cursing their missed chances when a long ball into the box was laid off by Gary Taylor-Fletcher to Burgess, who fired through Borrowdale's legs and into the bottom corner.

Blackpool had obviously come for a draw and in the second half, were happy to protect what they had as the R's dominance continued. Rachubka saved Fitz Hall's looping header and Angelo Balanta's attempt to force home the rebound was blocked. Akos Buzsaky and Rowan Vine came off the bench and Buzsaky went close with a long-range free-kick.

But as the game went on, Rangers seemed to struggle to break down Blackpool and were dealt another blow when skipper Rowlands - recently back from knee ligament damage - hobbled off with another injury, which unfortunately, although not confirmed, is reported to be quiet serious.

As time ticked on, it looked that it was wasn't going to be Rangers day when Vine hopelessly shot wide after substitute Patrick Agyemang's left-wing cross found him in space. But the goal finally came on 86 minutes when Ramage received the ball on the right and his cross, come shot, found it's way past the keeper and into the net and Loftus Road erupted.

It was no more than the R's deserved as we then went in search of a winner, but couldn't find their way past a stubborn Blackpool defence for a second time and the points were shared.

QPR: Cerny, Ramage, Mahon, Hall, Routledge, Helguson (Vine 56), Gorkss, Rowlands (Agyemang 60), Balanta (Buzsaky 56), Borrowdale, Taarabt. Subs not used: Putnins, Stewart, Connolly, Ephraim.

Lofty's Man of the Match - Peter Ramage

In summary, despite the disappointment of the result, the effort and performance was pretty good and Rangers kept plugging away against a hard working Blackpool side. But for the third time, I will mention the 'same old' thing, as our lack of a striker again was evident for all to see. But all in all, it was a half decent game with plenty of good football from QPR and I refuse to be negative just yet.

The gang and I finished welcoming in the new season with a visit to our old haunt, the British Queen for a good few drinks before we went on our merry way. It's good to be back...

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......