Ten Men, We Only Need Ten Men...
QPR 3-1 Reading
Okay, a somewhat smug title to this report, but there is no taking away what was a tremendous performance from Queens Park Rangers, which saw the R's return to the top of the Championship.
As always, the gang were at full strength, including an appearance from Jo's nephew/ Sam and Lee's cousin, Daniel - and descended on the Springbok for pre match and I must say, what with Reading's recent goalscoring form, there was a slight bit of nervousness amongst a few of us. I don't think any of us quite expected what was to come...
Rangers were superb at times and any neutral joining the match in the second half, would not have known who had the advantage of the extra man. It was a very lively opening and Rangers should have had the lead as early as 8 minutes, when Faurlin's shot crashed onto the underside of the bar and fell loose, to Rob Hulse, but his follow up barely trickled towards the line and was cleared easily.
There were further chances for Hulse and Smith before the R's finally took a deserved lead on 27 minutes - the outstanding, Adel Taarabt twisted and turned his way into the area before being bundled over - the resultant spot kick just oozed class and confidence as he cheekily chipped the ball down the middle.
There was a further chance for the R's to extend their lead but Hulse headed over Taarabt's cross. Almost on the stroke of half time, Bradley Orr was sent off for a challenge on Hal Robson-Kanu. At the time, it looked a hard but fair tackle, and the referee certainly appeared to let the game go until Kanu started rolling around on the floor. The ref then pulled out the red card to the amazement of the Loftus Road crowd. It was later mentioned by someone that Orr's foul and abusive language led to his sending off, which would make sense, but I guess we will never know for sure...
In the half time discussions, Mel had stated that Rangers had been dominant, but now we would have to hang on to get a result. Although he seemed correct in his statement, how wrong it turned out to be. Jamie Mackie slotted in at right back and Rangers looked more than comfortable, despite being a man down and on 61 minutes, Loftus Road went beserk as the R's doubled their advantage - Mackie was sent clear down the right by Taarabt and he laid a cross back into the area for Hulse, which was cleared away, but only as far Faurlin who blasted the ball home via a deflection.
The deficit was halved when Shane Long's superb 25 yard effort found the top corner - but Rangers clinched the points on 71 minutes when Tommy Smith blasted home his first goal for the R's, after Federici had kept out Adel Taarabt's superb free kick.
QPR: Paddy Kenny, Bradley Orr, Shaun Derry, Adel Taarabt (Leon Clarke 81), Alejandro Faurlin, Jamie Mackie, Kaspars Gorkss, Kyle Walker, Matt Connolly, Rob Hulse (Patrick Agyemang 81), Tommy Smith (Hogan Ephraim 90). Subs: Radek Cerny, Mikele Leigertwood, Martin Rowlands, Josh Parker.
Lofty's Man of the Match - Well, this caused a great amount of debate and discussion amongst the gang and to be honest, you could quite easily give this to the whole team on a performance such as today's. Jo called for Shaun Derry who was everywhere, especially during the first half. California Hoop named his as Jamie Mackie, who put in another great performance and that of a right back/winger in the second half. Lee and Corp both went for Faurlin, who had a superb match and it was great to see him on the scoresheet once more. But myself and PK both went for the Moroccan Magician that is Adel Taarabt who scored one and was more than involved in the other two. He was simply unplayable today and he often frustrated the Reading players into literally just kicking him over to stop him - and seeing as it's me that is writing the report for this one (sorry guys, hehe), the award goes to Adel Taarabt.
In summary - a great day had by all and the R's are back on Top of the League - GET IN THERE!!!
Lofty Heights will be at Fratton Park on Tuesday night for the clash against Portsmouth and Lee will return with the report, see you all then!
COME ON YOU R'SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!