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

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Reserves show they are second best.

The Rangers' faithful took to the road this evening to visit Crawley Town, a team that has had some very good pre season results so far, they have claimed the scalps of Millwall, a Chelsea XI and an Arsenal XI and looked to add to their list as we traveled down from West London.

Sam was being treated to a day in the press office with Matt so they headed down early to the Broadfield Stadium and were quick to warn me of an accident that was holding up many travellers on the M25, luckily I had finished work late and managed to create my own diversion to the ground and was probably only of very few travelling fans that had an issue free journey down to Sussex. Having found out on the way down to Crawley that we were fielding a reserve side I must admit I did wonder if the effort was all worth it.... but I still decided to attend, am I a mug or just a loyal fan (like all the other R's faithful that made the effort), you decide!


Having parked up and got inside the ground early enough to find a spare seat, I sat in amongst a few Crawley fans and a few Rangers fans and listened to views as I had nothing else to do before kick off.
So the game started and within 10seconds of the start Romone Rose put a shot just wide of the post and gave us some hope into what could be a good chance for some of our fringe players to shine, but shine they didn't!
Crawley's passing play created problems for the R's defence and soon Cerny was called into action and he made two sublime saves before the inevitable first goal came.
A Crawley striker, who I really don't know, broke the offside trap with a perfectly timed run and as he was bearing down on goal a simple pass to the side gave a striker, who was frequently called 'Tubbsy', an easy tap in from close range and gave the home side a deserved lead.
The rest of the half in a blur to my memory but I can honestly tell you that the lack of detail will probably help more than anything.


After queuing up to get a drink for myself and Gobi, who I had arranged to meet for a half time chit chat and catch up on whats been going on, i bumped into to friends at the bottom of the stand and was stood chatting from the middle of half time until the second Crawley goal went in (6th minute) and then finally got up to give Gobi his drink and finally catch up on what is happening.

Tubbs had scored the second goal of the game when he was slotted through to be one on one with Cerny and the Devils striker lashed the ball home and pretty much ended the game as a contest.
The final 10 minutes of the game saw an improved period for the R's but its wasn't enough to claim anything back from a Crawley side that fully deserved their win again the R's second string.


Crawley have made an astute few signings after capturing Michel Kuipers (ex Brighton goalkeeper), Sergio Torres ( ex Wycombe and Peterborough) and Pablo Mills (from Rotherham's promoted side last season), these signings along with their lively striker Tubbs and the passing football that they displayed tonight made myself and Gobi think that this side could possibly challenge for promotion out of the Conference next year.

We move onto Plymouth at home on Friday for what will hopefully be a full strength side.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Rangers continue unbeaten pre season in Italy

The past week has seen the pre season preparations continue over in Italy where two more warm up games were due to be played as well as continuing the hard work ready for the start of the new season which is now only two weeks away.

Rangers landed in Italy early in the week and played their first game of the tour against Equipe Romagna. The hosts fielded a side full of former Serie A players who are free agents and looking for clubs during the pre season.
Rangers won the game 4-1 courtesy of goals from Hogan Ephraim, a Leon Clarke double and young star Josh Parker.

The hard work continued and the final game of the tour was played tonight(Sunday) against Lega Pro Prima Divisione side Ravenna Calcio.
The game was marred by some dangerous challenges and also featured two red cards, one for either side. Hogan Ephraim kept up his good form in front of goal by bagging yet another goal, Jamie Mackie scored what proved to be the winning goal. Fitz Hall was sent off for his part in what is described as a 'minor scuffle'.

Rangers' will continue their pre season build up at Crawley on Wednesday night.

On a side note, there has been a fantasy football league set up for the readers of Lofty Heights to compete in.

Go to and register your team for free and join our league for a bit of fun during the coming season. To join the Lofty Heights League simply enter the league code 70073-48710 and see if you can top the table against everyone.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Faurlin the Machine.

In the final leg of the Cornwall tour the R's faithful travelled to Torquay to take on a League Two side which were unbeaten so far during their pre season warm up, including a 3-1 victory over Plymouth in midweek, so this looked to be a good test ahead for the squad currently down in the South West.

Once again it was just me and Sam that took to the road, this time slightly earlier than usual so we could get down to Torquay and see if we could sample some of the so called 'English Riviera' and see if it was any good. Within an hour of being in the car we were stuck in traffic and became aware of long traffic delays further down the M4 so we took a diversion to try and avoid it but only ran into even worse traffic. Whilst being stuck in this tedious event we came across the world famous Stonehenge, it added a little bit of culture to the journey that was unexpected and here is what we saw.


After being delayed by an hour and a half we finally arrived at Plainmoor with just half an hour to spare so the only sights we got to see were the occasional palm tree along the way.

We arrived to find that there was just a 15 man squad for tonight as Gary Borrowdale and Antonio German have travelled back to play in the reserves fixture at Borehamwood tomorrow afternoon. Fitz Hall and Paddy Kenny were also not in the squad for reasons that are unknown, we can only assume that both have slight knocks and the management team didnt want to risk making them worse.

The team that started the game was :-
Cerny; Leigertwood, Connolly, Gorkss, Hill; Derry, Faurlin; Mackie, Buzsaky, Clarke; Helguson.


Rangers started the game with some slick interchanging passing and were slowly beginning to open up the Torquay defence and within five minutes we created our first chance of the game. Buzsaky had a chance on the edge of the box but his shot flew over the bar.
Just five minutes later the scoring was opened.
After some good passing it was Clarke that was released down the left hand side and his cross was expertly tucked away by the diving Heidar Helguson. A great move and unfortunately it come at some cost as Leon Clarke pulled up and was taken off just a minute or so later, as a precaution, as he felt a pull in his thigh. Lets hope its not too serious. His replacement was Hogan Ephraim.
Rangers continued to press and when Leigertwood's accurate cross was headed just wide of the post by Helguson halfway through the half you felt that there were more goals in this game for the travelling fans to enjoy.
The R's weren't having it all their own way by any means. Torquay were pressing and tightly marking throughout the midfield area and very rarely gave the R's players any breathing space, so it was proving to certainly be more of a test than in the previous two games.
The midfield battle was quite closely contested although Derry and Faurlin always looked very comfortable on the ball and the Rangers' back four sweeping up much of the danger with as little fuss as possible but there were one or two dodgy moments but when Radek Cerny was called upon for the only time of the half he tipped the ball wide after some good Torquay build up play.


Half time soon came around, a lot quicker than it usually would during a friendly. It's fair to say that when the R's went forward we looked pretty dangerous and created numberous chances for each other. There looked as if there were a few heavy legs out there but it's totally understandable when they are playing in their third game in five days and also having training sessions every day as well, it puts the players in good stead for the long season ahead.


The second half got underway and it was Torquay that came out the brighter of the two sides and put the R's defence under pressure and gave them their first real test of the pre season.
Ten minutes into the half and the Rangers' defence had Cerny to thank for keeping the clean sheet. A corner from the right was met by a Torquay player and Cerny managed to palm away the close range header but only into the path of another Torquay player who in turn put their effort over from close range. A let off for the Rangers' defence.
This sparked Warnock to tell the three remaining subs to get ready to come on and liven things up. Unfortunately the three subs were on the sidelines ready to come on when the equalizer came on the hour mark.
A teasing cross from the right hand side was met by a Torquay head and Cerny very nearly kept the header out but couldn't get a strong enough hand on it. 1-1.
Peter Ramage, Damion Stewart and Josh Parker then came on for Clint Hill, Shaun Derry and Jamie Mackie. Ramage took his place at right back and Matt Connolly moved to left back, Mikele Leigertwood moved to the centre of midfield and Josh Parker played down the left wing.
Parker certainly livened things up and seemed to spur on a few of his team mates with his energy. It was Parker himself that came close to getting a second Rangers' goal when he attacked the left hand side and cut in before unleashing a powerful curling effort that went just over the bar.
Minutes later the Rangers' youngster bagged his third goal in as many games. Cerny's long free kick was flicked into the path of Parker and he blasted his shot into the roof of the Torquay net. I feel we have a potential breakthrough star for the season to look out for in Josh Parker, remember the name.
As the game to a close Torquay thought they had grabbed an equalizer from a corner but as the corner was swung in the refereee whistled for a free kick just as the ball was poked home, relief!
Two minutes after that it was game over.
Cerny's long kick was won by Faurlin before Helguson flicked the ball into the path of Hogan and after a little trick he shot across goal and the effort rolled over the foot of a Torquay defender and went into the bottom corner.
Helguson could've made it four but his header was cleared off the line by a desperate Torquay clearance.


All in all you have to say that this was an extremely good work out for the squad and it realy did test him after what has been a hard week of work for them. Torquay passed the ball around really well and pressed high up the pitch and gave us a few more obstacles to overcome. I will be putting Torquay down as an each way bet to be going up from League Two this year after seeing them tonight.
You have to give credit to the platers as well after a hard week. Faurlin has played 250 of the 270 minutes of game time over the last five days and completed all of the work in training, many of the other squad memebers have played at least 200 minutes, if any Premier League player done that they would be crying that they were tired.
The boys have earned themselves a short rest before travelling off to Italy next week.

The journey home was a swift one, it took us two and a half hours to get from Torquay to home and after that Lofty has now labelled me as the 'Mark Webber' of the group, I finally have a drivers nickname.

Now I have finished this report off I am going to leave to watch the reserves at Borehamwood this afternoon and a short report will be up late tonight or tomorrow.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Another good workout as Rangers' win again.

The second friendly of the Cornwall tour took place on Wednesday evening in down in Bodmin just two days after the R's had put in a good performance in Tavistock so we hoped to see another good work out for the boys on this outing.

I must admit that before setting off on the 460 mile round trip that I did question mine and Sam's sanity as we were about to take to the road yet again, also because we have full intentions of attending the Torquay friendly on Friday evening..... the things that you do when you support your club eh! I think that by the end of the season one of us will be in a straight-jacket or in a padded cell bouncing off the walls somewhere.

In our journey down we went through through some awful conditions, some of which made driving very difficult as I could barely see in front of me, for the last hour of the journey I was praying that the rain was going to clear as I had failed to pick up my hoody so I was just in my polo shirt and if the heavens opened during the game(which they did) then I was going to be drenched for the second friendly in a row, it's becoming a habit these days.

We arrived with 10 minutes to spare this time around and even managed to pick a decent spot just past the halfway line with a great view of the Bodmin penalty area as we expected there to be plenty of action up there and witness many more goals.

Todays first half team in a 4-2-3-1 formation was :-
Kenny; Leigertwood, Hall, Gorkss, Connolly; Derry, Faurlin; Mackie, Buzsaky, Hogan; Helguson.


Rangers' begun the half brightly as Faurlin flashed an effort over the bar after good work by Hogan and a poor clearance from the Bodmin defence allowed Faurlin with the goalscoring opportunity but his effort flew over the bar.
Just a minute or two later the deadlock was broken via the tricky man Hogan.
Bodmin's defence once again failed to clear their lines and Hogan broke clear and smashed his shot into the back of the net from 10 yards out.
The early goal certainly speared the players to go on and try to add to the tally. Buzsaky was seeing more of the ball and was looking to get involved as often as possible and he found himself with a great opportunity when Hogan's cross found Buzsaky in the area and the Hungarian's header was superbly tipped over the bar.
Shaun Derry was the next person to try and get in on the action and when his shot flew just over u could just sense that another goal was inevitable, and it came on the next attack.
Jamie Mackie dispossessed a Bodmin defender and attacked goal before unleashed his effort from just inside the box and rustled into the back of the net.
There cetainly seems to be a good understanding and some partnerships being built up during training as players just seemed to know who was going to be running into the spaces and everything looks natural. Derry and Faurlin in the centre of midfield looks to be a partnership that is going to be difficult to split up. Derry sits and grafts away as Faurlin works alongside him and also joins up with the attack whenever he can, I will definitely be keeping an eye out on these two as I think this could be a partnership that will make us difficult to break down and beat.
Rangers; continued to attack for the rest of the half and could've easily added another three or four to their tally as Buzsaky had an effort well saved, Helguson saw a header fly just wide and also had a few other close shaves. What became evident to me is that it seemed as if players wanted to set Helguson up and get him on the scoresheet as soon as possible.
Bodmin had one shot during the first half and it came when one of the strikers broke clear and had just Kenny to beat from 18 yards out but the R's stopper was more than equal to it and produced a good save and pushed the bal to safety.


No more goals were scored before half timembut things were promising.
During the interval me and Sam walked around the pitch to the opposite side so we could again see plenty of action and hopefully a few more goals before we took to the road again.

The second half team to take to the field in the same 4-2-3-1 was :-
Cerny; Connolly, Stewart, Ramage, Borrowdale; Derry, Faurlin; Mackie, Hogan, Parker; German.

With Leigertwood departing at half time, the captains armband was passed onto Peter Ramage and gave him the opportunity to highlight his leadership qualities.


Rangers' continued to retain the ball better than their opponents but the attacking qualities were stifled by Bodmin's contant pressing high up the pitch and rarely gave the R's players a chance to settle on the ball. Due to this I must say it did make the game more interesting and tested the players and their fitness levels at such an early stage of the pre season.
Jamie Mackie came off on the hour mark, and the Rangers' fans gave him a very good reception as he departed. Mackie does look to be a very promising prospect for the coming season. Mackie was replaced by Leigertwood, who in turn took Mackie's position on the right hand side of the attacking three forwards, nice to see some experimentation.
Moments later it was 3-0.
Hogan attacked the left hand side and his teasing cross was met by a combination of Antonio German and a Bodmin defender and the ball made it's way into the back of the net. Judging by the reaction of the players I can only assume that it was an own goal.
Josh Parker saw a lot of the ball down the left hand side and he regularly tried his best to make opportunities and crash any efforts in on goal but failed to test the goalkeeper on many occasions. Parker's long throw however looked to be a dangerous weapon and worried the Bodmin defenders on a few occasions.
With 15 minutes to go it was Faurlin's time to depart and he was replaced by the returning Fitz Hall and he took his place alongside Derry in the centre midfield, much to Sam's delight!
With 10 minutes to go it looked as if the Ranger's players fitness levels and desire to want to score more goals took its toll on our hosts for the evening.
Parker broke down the right hand side and rolled the bal into the direction of German and he seemingly had a bread and butter opportunity but he put his shot just wide of the Bodmin left hand post.
After this chance me and Sam started our walk around the pitch towards the exit so we could try and get a quick exit from the area. Just as we reached our postion near the exit we saw goal number four.
Leigertwood squared for German and the youngster made no mistake from close range.
We started texting people the update of the score and just as I finished writing "4-0 German" I looked up and saw Josh Parker hit an effort from the edge of the area and hit the back of the net, a goal that was well deserved for his efforts. The text then had -0 parker added to it before sending it onto the Rangers' faithful that asked me to keep them upto date over the course of the evening.
Just three minutes later it was 6-0. Derry won the ball in midfield and laid the ball off to Leigertwood and he in turn played the ball to Hogan and he made no mistake from just inside the box.
Well if Hogan is a target for Leicester then I would worry if his pre season continues in this fashion because now after two games he has four goals, surely Real Madrid will come sniffing soon.....


Tonights game was much more of a challenge in comparison to Monday's match. Bodmin looked a lot more organised in defence and midfield after the first 45 minutes and made the lads work a lot harder and gave the back four a lot more time on the ball and a chance to see how well organised we really are back there, but with Bodmin only having two shots on goal and only one save being made by Kenny in the first half, it would be nice to see them tested on Friday at Torquay and we can see where we are fitness wise against a tidy League Two outfit.

The journey home saw us pass by Plymouth's ground, a place that we have never seen a Rangers' side win in the 5 visits there. We took an unexpected detour that added 45minutes onto our journey as I missed our junction on the M5 and had to continue up to Gloucester before finally getting off and then arriving back home at 2am, its going to hurt in the morning I can bet you that!

We move onto Torquay on Friday night and then Borehamwood on Saturday afternoon, where hopefully more of the Lofty Heights crew will be in attendance, we'll see you then.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The pre-season warm up begins with a gr-eight start.

Hello and welcome back to Lofty Heights after what has been a very nice break away from the football with an apparent distraction called the world cup passing us by, which a few of us took interest in, but now is the time we have been waiting for, Rangers are back and we begin with four weeks of pre-season friendlies before another season begins.

Lofty Heights are going to try and cover as many pre-season games on home soil as possible, work depending, so hopefully we can give you an insight into how things are looking as we prepare for the 7th August when we entertain Barnsley in the first game of the new npower Championship season.

Today a last minute decision to take to the road and attempt to make the trip to Tavistock but it wasn't until a last minute check that we realised the kick was in fact at 7pm, not the conventional 7.30/7.45 kick off time, so we were up against it from the start and started off with an arrival time of 7.35, so time was needed to be made up on the motorway and quickly.
Sam and Luke joined me on the road for this journey that was going steadily until we reached the M5 and got stuck in traffic caused by an overturned horsebox and by the time we got through that we had an even later arrival time of 7.42 showing up on the sat nav so if we were going to make it a worthwhile journey then I had to really put my foot down and get us to Tavistock by doing the 114 remaining miles in 70 minutes before kick or as close to that as possible. Surprisingly despite hitting a few short delays caused by slow drivers we arrived outside the ground with just 5minutes on the clock and just needed to find somewhere to park before dashing into the ground to get our first glimpses of Neil Warnock's squad.
As we approached the entrance to the ground an ambulance made its way to the car park and sparked fears that one of our players had been seriously hurt, it turns out that one of our fans fainted in shock as Fitz Hall had made it through the opening 15 minutes without picking up an injury.... (Sorry Sam, I had to joke about it!)


We took our places inside the ground about 15-20 minutes late and found out that the score was already 2-0 courtesy of two goals from Akos Buzsaky.
His first was scored within 12seconds of the start when Mackie whipped in a centre for Akos to clip home and then his second was apparently an absolutely wonderful free kick from just outside the area...... trust us to miss that!!
Two minutes after Luke and me got in the ground the third goal was scored, Clint Hill headed a deep cross back towards goal and evaded everyone before seeing the ball rustle into the corner of the net. 3-0 and that goal was scored just as Sam made her way through the gate so she also missed that goal.
We noticed that Rangers' were playing a new style of formation, its pretty reminisant of the formation that Spain use in their internationals, with two holding midfielders and then one just behind the front man and two men out wide.
The first half team was; Kenny, Leigertwood, Hall, Gorkss, Hill; Derry Faurlin; Mackie, Buzsaky, Clarke; Helguson.
The front 3 of Mackie, Helguson and Clarke looked to be working very well with Mackie providing width down the right and Clarke down the left hand side, but they also provided a threat in central positions as well and this gave us a very good balance. Derry, who looked much smaller than we remembered, alongside Faurlin provided a steely midfield holding pair that protected the defence but Derry allowed Faurlin to join the attack and give us a further option in the attacking third and gave us 5 players in and around the area to create problems for the opposition.
Rangers enjoyed large spells of possesion and it was only a matter of time before a fourth goal was added.
The impressive Mackie grabbed the goal he deserved on the half hour as he cut in from the right and curled his effort in from 20 yards and leaving the poor Tavistock 'keeper wrong footed and having to pick the ball up from the back of the net once again.
Rangers' continued to knock the ball around on the floor but when chances fell to Helguson and Clarke they were unfortunately unable to take advantage of their openings.


Half time appeared and we made our way over to the solitary food facility in the ground and spent all of half time queuing until we got to the front and found out there was a 15minute wait for the food, so we left without food and still starving but on the plus side the second half had just started so we had more football and more goals to enjoy.

Seven changes were made at the interval and this was the team that took to the field for the final 45minutes.
Cerny; Ramage, Stewart, Connolly, Borrowdale; Leigertwood, Faurlin; Parker, Buzsaky, Ephraim; Clarke.


Rangers' continued where they left off in the first half and carried on knocking the ball around very comfortably and when the fifth goal came it was a great team goal.
Borrowdale had the ball on the left and he played the bal into centre midfield for Hogan to pick the ball up and play a delightful one-two with Clarke before lifting the ball over the Tavistock goalkeeper into the back of the net.
It wasn't long before a sixth goal arrived either.
Gary Borrowdale, who didnt put a foot wrong in his 45minutes, attacked the left hand side and put in a great cross and Josh Parker leaped above everyone to divert the ball into the corner with a well taken header.
When the sixth went in it was the end of Akos Buzsaky's game and he was replaced by Antonio German. This meant that German moved to the right forward position and Hogan moved into the role just behind the stiker and he seemed to revel in that area.
Hogan was very vocal during his time on the pitch and was always looking to receive the bal, although he didnt on many occasions, but it definitely looked as if postioning has been on the agenda for our attacking players.
It was Hogan's quick thinking that set up the seventh goal.
Rangers' won a corner and Hogan got over and spotted Faurlin on his own outside the Tavistock penalty area so he swiftly got the ball over to Faurlin and last years player of the season took a touch before unleashing an effort that was only going in one place, the back of the net!
Clarke went in search for the goal that his performance deserved and when he was put through one on one with just the 'keeper to beat you felt it was destined that he would score, but unfortunately as Clarke went to go round the keeper the ball was fingertipped away from him and took him wide of goal and forcing him to pas out wide to Parker before the ball was cleared to safety.
There was one more goal in the game and it fell to the hard working Hogan Ephraim.
Clarke once again went on the atack and fed the ball out to Parker on the Rangers' left and Parker fed the ball into the feet of Hogan and he made no mistake from 12 yards out and bagging the eighth Rangers' goal of the night.

We started to take the walk around the edge of the pitch towards the exit and as we got to the exit the final whistle was blown and an easy 8-0 victory was secured.


Players to stand out today included Mackie, Derry, Buzsaky, Clarke, Faurlin and Hogan but you cant say that anyone in a blue and white hooped shirt played badly tonight. Both R's goalkeepers had one save each to make, both sets of back four looked comfortable and going forward we were always a threat.
Fitness levels looked pretty good as Faurlin, Leigertwood and Clarke all completed the 90 minutes, which is very rare in the first friendly of the pre season build up.

It would be harsh for me to go and grade each player for todays eforts as this was only a Tavistock team and they provided a good workout for us and there was plenty of attacking practice there for us, there are stiffer opposition to come up against before the season begins, but all in all we should be pleased that a professional job has been done and hopefully this will continue going into Wednesday's game at Bodmin, and hopefully a few of us will be there to give more feedback from that game.