Steve Claridge, That One Was For You...
QPR 1-3 Watford
Well, it had to happen sometime I suppose, as Watford brought QPR's superb unbeaten run to an abrupt end, in front of the dreaded live TV cameras at Loftus Road.
Well, for various reason's, the gang were not at full strength this evening with Jo, PK and Jenson sadly missing from the proceedings, but in hindsight, it probably wasn't a bad thing on tonight's showing. There have been many changes at QPR over the past few years, but one thing that hasn't changed, is Rangers failure to perform in front of the live cameras...
Rangers started the game well enough and the chances were coming - Mackie dragged a shot just wide and Helguson saw an effort superbly tipped over the bar by the Watford keeper, Loach. But from the resulting corner, Clint Hill's goalbound header was clearly palmed away by the hand of John Eustace. Referee, Darren Deadman amazingly waved the appeal away to the complete disbelief of just about every R's fan, including those watching on TV.
Another penalty appeal was again waved away, perhaps correctly this time if I am honest, as Helguson went down under a challenge from the big lump that is Andrew Taylor in the Watford back line. But on 26 minutes, the visitors were in front, when a deflected cross found the impressive, Danny Graham who made no mistake from 8 yards out.
Four minutes later, Watford doubled their lead in bizarre fashion - when a hopeful cross by Mutch was missed by Taylor and went straight in to completely stun the home crowd. It seemed to shock the QPR players too who I must say, went to pieces and the Hornets could have certainly extended their lead.
Half time came with no real complaints, despite the blatant penalty that another completely incompetant referee waved away. But seeing as the R's have pulled themselves out of similar positions before, Lee confidently marched down to Stan James and had a couple of punts on a 2-2 draw and a 3-2 Rangers win. Sadly, the betting slip was soon screwed up and on the floor of the Loftus Road Upper Stand as Watford went 3 ahead, three minutes after the break - but as impressive as he was/is, Danny Graham was clearly offside as he recieved the ball and fired past Paddy Kenny.
It was game over really now and despite a late consolation from Tommy Smith, the R's never really had any answers...
QPR: Kenny, Hill, Derry, Taarabt (Clarke 59), Helguson (Hulse 70), Faurlin (Orr 59), Mackie, Gorkss, Walker, Connolly, Smith. Subs: Cerny, Hall, Rowlands, Ephraim.
Lofty's Man of the Match - eventually, unanimous amongst the gang - but Lee opted for Kyle Walker and California Hoop, Jamie Mackie. It wasn't until Sam highlighted her choice of PADDY KENNY, that we all sat back and had a think and wholeheartedly agreed. This was also the choice from myself and PK. Although beaten 3 times, he couldn't have done much with either of them, but the R's stopper certainly kept the score down with several fine saves, including 3 one on ones.
Well, I think I can summarise this one very easily, this was a classic, QPR, TV Performance. You have no doubt, like myself, been raving about the R's to non QPR supporting footy friends at work etc and simply revelled in the glory of being top of the league and unbeaten - you convince these people to watch the game on BBC instead of Eastenders etc and they put in a performance like that, live to the nation. I don't want to go on about another inept referee and take too much away from Watford as they deserved their 3 points tonight.
So, the run is over, let's not be negative, let's look forward to starting a new one...
COME ON You R'ssssssssssss!!!