No One Said It Was Going To Be Easy...
QPR 0-4 Bolton
Welcome back to the start of a brand new season and after a 15 year absence and a Lofty Heights first, I am writing a report from a QPR match in the Premier League. A game which saw the R's get off to the worst possible start to what will no doubt be, a very tough campaign, with Bolton trotting out 4-0 winners, but things aren't always what they seem....
After what seemed a very long summer, I woke this morning with the football buzz and literally, could not wait to get back down to HQ to catch up with the gang again. After I literally was driving everyone mad at home, I left earlier than normal and arrived at the ground at around 12.30ish...
I first bumped into Jenson who, suited up, was spending the day in an Executive Box and was making an early challenge to Corporate Gordon's crown. The scores will be level next week as Gordon will be sampling the Corporate Hospitality at Goodison Park. Also in attendance were Tony and Dad, Mick and at this point, I, along with all of us at Lofty Heights, would like to Congratulate Tony and Wife, Mel, on the birth of their gorgeous baby daughter, Jessica Jane!!
I took a slow walk then to the Spingbok pub and to my delight, saw R's fans outside drinking in the lunchtime sunshine. The delight was shortlived as as soon as I arrived, the doorman was shuffling people in as the 1pm, drinking in the street curfew had arrived and I soon found myself inside what was an absolute sweatbox. After a very rushed pint, I sat outside, drinkless, but much more comfortable with Sophie, Mick and Tony and slowly but surely, the rest of the gang duly arrived.
After another drinkless 15 minutes, we were inside the Stadium, where we COULD have a beer in the fresh air and were eagerly awaiting the kick off. We made our way to our seats at ten to three and in good time for the kick off. All the seats in the Loft Upper Stand had been replaced and were now a more shiny blue plastic material and not with the cushions many of us had hoped for after a massive price increase for said seats. It was the kind of plastic that if anyone was to fart, it would make a racket and everyone and anyone would hear it, so sneaky ones are definitely out of the question...
Onto the game and the two teams took the field and Rangers were finally parading the brand new home shirt of thinner and more traditional blue and white hoops. New signings, Kieron Dyer, Jay Bothroyd, Danny Gabbidon and DJ Campbell were all making their QPR debuts. We almost made the perfect start when on 2 minutes, Taarabt's cross was flicked on by Bothroyd, for DJ Campbell to prod home from close range, only for the goal to be ruled out by the offside flag. More disappointment followed five minutes later when Kieron Dyer, probably the most unluckiest man in football, went down awkwardly after a tackle and was stretchered off, with a suspected broken metatarsal. Later X-Rays have proved in fact there is no break so we wish Kieron, who has worked tirelessly pre-season, a very speedy recovery!!
Despite the setback, Rangers pressed hard and had much the better of the first half, with Bothroyd seeing a header cleared off the line. There were further chances for Smith and Taarabt but the R's were caught with the classic sucker punch, five minutes before the break - Arsenal target, Gary Cahill collected the ball 25 yards out and curled a superb effort into the top corner. Bolton had demonstrated with style, that you need to take your chances in the Premier League.
The Trotters started the second half the brighter and Klasnic forced a fine save from Paddy Kenny before Kevin Davies headed just wide. Rangers replied and Adel Taarabt curled an effort just wide. But on 67 minutes, Bolton doubled their lead - Chris Eagles free kick was turned into his own net by Danny Gabbidon, who had been having a fine debut for the R's. It all went a bit flat from here as the players all looked very down and a section of the R's support starting directing their frustrations at Flavio Briatore.
Three minutes later, it was 3-0 as Klasnic's deflected effort beat Paddy Kenny and Muamba made it four with ten minutes remaining giving Bolton a somewhat flattering scoreline it has to be said, but on their second half performance, a deserved victory all the same. More abuse was aimed at Flavio Briatore and rightly so, when, after the fourth goal, he and his entourage made for the exit. Not the sort of behaviour you would expect from the owner of the Club, especially with potential investor, Tony Fernandes sitting beside him.
And just to rub salt into the open wounds, Clint Hill was sent off in stoppage time for allegedly, headbutting Petrov. By all accounts, it was nothing of the sort but nevertheless, stupid of Hill to get so involved so late in the game.
QPR: Kenny, Hill, Derry, Hall, Gabbidon, Taarabt (Buzsaky 72), Dyer (Orr 7), Campbell, Bothroyd, Faurlin, Smith (Helguson 72). Subs: Murphy, Connolly, Agyemang, Ephraim.
Man of the Match - was divided amongst the gang with Shaun Derry, Fitz Hall and Danny Gabbidon all in the running. But today's award, with 3 votes amongst us, goes to Jay Bothroyd.
In summary, anyone looking at this result will think it was a thumping and QPR are surefire favourites for the drop. But in all honesty, I am not overly disappointed and I enjoyed the match immensly, really, I did. For an hour we were as good as Bolton and more than held our own. But a moment of quality and two fortunate goals made it an extremely difficult afternoon.
The Lofty Heights gang are in strong force and on the road to Everton next Saturday and Lee will return with one of his legendary away reports, from Goodison Park.
Come on You R'sssssssssssss!!!!