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

Saturday, January 29, 2011

To Hull and back......

Today the R's travelled to Hull looking to build on their 2-1 victory over Coventry. The gang were in attendance for the long drive to Yorkshire.

The day started off with me waking up late and delaying the departure of Sam and myself, wooops! After my unplanned lay in we finally reached Jenson at 10 and departed with PK already in the car and made our way to Lofty's before hitting the M1 hard and let Jenson get his drive on and fight through the mountain of roadworks.
Halfway into the journey we got our prediction competition underway and the usual lively debate commensed as everyone wanted to try and topple Lofty having won it last time out, PK was determined to regain the crown that he was unable to defend previously.
As we neared the end of the predictions PK was given a rare treat as two Elvis songs played and distracted PK for the next six minutes, after this all of us decided that all of PK's predictions would be Elvis or anything else related, such a funny moment that liven us all up in time for our arrival at the KC and we where in very good sprits.
We got into the ground and enjoyed a quick beer before we bumped into Michael for a quick chat and then we met with Iceman and then was joined by Lorna(clingy) and her friend Kelly. We all took to the stands in hope of an entertaining game.

Neil Warnock made one change from the team thay won against Coventry, Ishmael Miller started as Heidar Helguson dropped out through injury.


As the teams took to the pitch for the pre-match line up and photos with the officials can you believe that over the PA system played Elvis's song "Can't help falling in love with you"...... You can imagine the joy that was on PK's face and with him dancing around the first half got underway.
The game started of as a lively encounter with both teams looked to push forwards only to be thwarted by the defensive line on every occasion.
Hull had a good spell after the opening exchanges and looked quite threatening but were not able to create any clear cut chances as Kaspers Gorkss shone in the Rangers' back four throughout the first half.
About 25 minutes in and the R's finally began to getj their passing game together and created more space and problems for the Hull defence.
Rangers' thought they had gone ahead when Miller was played in after some great passing in the Rangers' midfield, Miller poked the ball past Brad Guzan in the Hull goal but having intially starting the celebrations we finally noticed the offside flag, no goal. I received a text from Jess shortly after and apparently the decision was a very tight one, will be interesting to see it again later on.
The R's continued to push but to no avail as the half come to a close.
The major talking point came five minutes before the end of the half.
A ball failed to reach Taarabt, who was having an ok game at the time, the young Morrocan took his gloves off and started walking down the touchline with his head down and then signalled over to the dugout that he wanted to come off. After getting no reaction the first time around he proceeded to do this a second time, much to the annoyance of Warnock who shook his head and just wanted the half time whistle to sound.
After the half time whistle blew Keith Curle walked straight up to Taarabt, put his arm around him and looked to calm him down as they went down the players tunnel.

At half time we all done our best to warm up by using various techniques, Iceman went for the pie option, PK and Jenson went for the hot drink and I got a coke and started jumping around and probably looked mental whilst doing it.


The second half started and Rangers' were soon had their head in their hands.
A great cross to the back post aimed at Orr looked destined for the net as he made a great leap, unfortunately he misjudged it completely and barely made contact as the ball tricked out for a goal kick.
Orr once again had a great chance when a free kick was aimed to the back post and this time he met it with the side of his right foot and his shot flew over. Had either of the chances been on target then Rangers' would have taken the lead in my eyes.
The game continued to ebb and flow as both side were just cancelling each other out.
The R's were then given two worries for the upcoming games as Alejandro Faurlin looked quite badly injured as he took a knock to the knee, he did try running it off and after five minutes he looked more mobile but was replaced by Petter Vaagen Moen, hopefully as just a precaution.
The second blow came as Tommy Smith went down with what looked like a hamstring strain, he was replaced by Rob Hulse.
Both teams seemed looked as if they did not want to lose the game and less risks were being taken as chances were very few and far between.
The final fives minutes saw Hull pose more threat than at any other time during the game and Rangers' had to battle hard to keep the scores level as it looked like Rangers' begun to panic.
Hull had a golden opportunity to win it in injury time as they beat the R's back line for the first time, only for the resulting shot, from Fryatt I think, was blazed over!


At the beginning of the game I think most people would've been more than happy to take a point at the KC and having seen that Hull have only scored 11 and conceded 6 in their 13 home games this season we all knew this was not going to be a pretty game.
Having had a good spell in the first half we thought that if we stepped it up another gear in the second half then the game was ours for the taking. However the two Orr chances were the best chances we had of scoring and failed to take it, we need a goal from open play away from home, the last one, if you don't include Coventry away, was at Palace away if I remember rightly(I have to give Clive the credit for that fact).(The goal at Bristol City came from a corner)
The Taarabt saga will be spoken about a lot tonight with people obviously going to have strong opinions on the issue. I believe that Warnock done the right thing and did not give in and made sure Taarabt knew he has to play for the team and just play through the frustrating periods of the game, he done it against Coventry before scoring and then putting in a great second half performance and the week before at Burnley he was kicked left, right and centre but ploughed on through before coming off the pitch looking like a rugby player. I'm sure everyone will sit down with him and put his head right before Portsmouth on Tuesday night.

Todays Man of the Match has three contenders from us. Kaspers Gorkss was solid at the heart of the defence and didn't put a foot wrong. Tommy Smith was superb throughout the first half and his movement throughout the game was second to none. The award today goes to Ishmael Miller for his great hold up play, rarely did he lose a header and was unfortunate not to score today having had two offside decisions go against him when they looked very close. A great start for Miller and if he keeps this up then he will prove to be a great signing for the club.

After saying goodbye to Iceman, Clingy and her friend we went back to the car to get the results of our prediction competition in what was the closest finish we have had for some time. Jenson led the way into the final round before the final positions ended as follows- 5th place Sam 12points, 4th place PK 15points, joint 2nd Lofty and Jenson 17points and finally after months without a win I finally got bacl on track with a winning score of 21points.
Jenson had a superb effort in the car coming home, our arrival time back home was at 21.33 and as we speak that time is down to 20.16. We are in Milton Keynes now and will be back home soon!

Hull City: Guzan, Dawson, Harper, Fryatt, Chester, Koren, Gerrard, Evans, Rosenior, Stewart (Devitt 73), McLean (Barmby 65).

Subs: Duke, McShane, Cairney, Simpson, Belaid.

Bookings: Harper (69)

QPR: Kenny, Orr, Hill, Derry, Taarabt, Faurlin (Vaagan Moen 68), Gorkss, Routledge, Connolly, Smith (Hulse 73), Miller (Ephraim 85).

Subs: Cerny, Hall, Chimbonda, Shittu.

Referee: Mr KD Hill

Attendance: 20, 601

Lofty is back on Tuesday with thoughts on the game against Portsmouth.


Friday, January 28, 2011

Star player leaves on loan....

Today it was revealed that influential R's striker Leon Clarke has joined Preston on loan until the end of the season.


Clarke has been a revelation for the club since joining the club on a free transfer in the summer and will be a massive loss to the club, his departure could potentially rock the R's push for promotion having reluctantly agreed to the deal.
Clarke's desire to play for a successful club played a big part in his decision to leave the club and will swap warming up a bench in W12 for a relegation scrap, whilst sitting on the bench in Preston......

Good luck Leon, enjoy your stay in Preston!!! (don't come back)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Big Dan Returns!!!!

Today the club have announced the signing of another former R's player, this time its Big Danny Shittu that returns to the club, over four years since he left the club.


Shittu has signed a six month contract having seen his contract expire at Millwall yesterday.
He comes in to challenge Kaspers Gorkss and Matt Connolly for a place at the heart of the defence as there is no real cover in the centre back positions as we only have Fitz Hall as an experienced defender that could provide back up.

Shittu joined the club for £350,000 in 2001 having impressed during a loan spell at the club. Due to the R's financial instabilities it has funded by Harold Winton, a very loyal QPR fan, he also paid Shittu's wages during his first season at the club.
Shittu went on to play for the R's 169 times in total, scoring 17 times.


Shittu left the club in 2006 to join Watford for £1.6 million before heading to Bolton in 2008 for a fee in excess of £2million.
Shittu's contract at the Trotters' was terminated early this season and this led to him signing a three month deal at Millwall so he could get games under his belt before look at his options in January.

Welcome back Danny from everyone here at Lofty Heights!!

R's on the Road to.............. Hull City

On Saturday the R's travel up north once again to play the rearranged fixture against inconsistent Hull City. With Rangers' getting back to winning ways in front of the Sky cameras on Sunday can they now take advantage of their game in hand and further extend their lead at the top or will Hull, who have only scored 11 and conceded 6 in their 13 home games this season, scupper the R's plans to pull further ahead of the chasing pack.


Club History.

Hull City Association Football Club was founded in June 1904. For some years previously, attempts had been made to found a football club, but this proved difficult because the city was then dominated by rugby league teams such as Hull FC and Hull KR.
Hull have spent the majority of the clubs history in the lower echelons of English Football but having been taken over by former Leeds’ commercial director Adam Pearson, he saved the club which were temporarily locked out of their Boothferry Park Stadium and heading towards inevitable liquidation having staved off years of money troubles.
Pearson bought some financial muscle to the club and begun to build a new home for the club up the road from Boothferry park and allowed new manager Brian Little to start restructuring the club. However after the club was underperformance Little was relieved of his duties and was replaced by Jan Molby.
Molby was only at the helm for a matter of months before his run of poor results cost him his job and was replaced by Peter Taylor.
Taylor was the man that took Hull into the KC Stadium and secure promotion from Division Three in the next season and at the first attempt in League One he steered the club to Runners Up spot and into the Championship for the 2005/06 season.
Having finished in 18th position that season, which was the clubs highest position for over 16 years.
Taylor left the club in the summer of 2006 and was replaced by Phil Parkinson.
Having endured a poor start to the season and the club in the relegation places, Parkinson was sacked and replaced by Phil Brown as caretaker manager, before taking the job on permanently in January 2007. Brown helped secure Hull’s status as a Championship club as they finished in 21st position.
The following season Brown helped Hull achieve and equal the clubs previous highest ever league position was third in the Second Division and having matched that on the way to achieving promotion to the top flight for the first time in the clubs history.
Having enjoyed playing as a Premier League team for two seasons, the club were relegated back to the Championship last season and during the summer Nigel Pearson was announced as the clubs new manager, having come close to getting Leicester into the Premier League, narrowly missing out in a Play-Off Semi Final against Cardiff.

The Stadium.

Current capacity – 25,404


The KC Stadium was opened in December 2002, having cost the club £44 million to construct it. The Stadium is used by both Hull City FC and Hull Rugby League clubs.
The ground is set in a parkland area and has won numerous awards for its impressive design.
Three for the four sides are single tiered, whereas the West Stand has two tiers. There are future plans for the East and South Stands to be developed into two tier stands also but there is no concrete timescales on these plans.
The away fans are housed in the North Stand and boasts a decent sized concourse and good old fashioned pie and a beer available from the kiosks.
Unfortunately there are a few in the Hull stands that like to berate the away supporters (as we found out in 2005) and this can lead to you feeling a little uncomfortableduring your visit.
The stadium is also a ‘no standing area’ and the stewards are very rigid on this policy so expect them to be a complete pain in the arse all game.

The History between the teams.

At (20)

Hull 11
Draw 5

Rangers’ have been unable to secure a victory in any of their three visits to the KC Stadium but two draws and a loss is not such a bad figure of results considering that it’s going to be a tough place for any Championship club to go and get a result there.

Rangers’ last league victory over Hull was in the 1969/70 season when they won 2-1 at Boothferry Park.
Rangers’ also have two League Cup victories over Hull, coming in 1985/86 (en route to the Cup Final) and in 1991/92.
This fact obviously stand for nothing as they were so long ago and Hull is a very different club now, hopefully we can record a more recent victory as soon as possible.

How to get there.

By Car: - The postcode for the KC Stadium is HU3 6HU.
From the south it’s best to go up the M1, coming off at junction 32 and joining the M18.
Follow the M18 until you get to junction 7 and then join onto the M62.
Carry on down the M62 until it turns into the A63 and follow this for 15 miles before reaching a roundabout and take the 1st exit onto the A1079. At the next set of traffic lights turn left onto the A1105. At the next set of lights turn right onto WaltonStreet and you will be at the KC Stadium.

For parking you can park at the stadium car park for £5.
Other options include parking at the Park and Ride on the A63 just as you enter Hull, queuing for a bus after the game can be tedious however!
The other option is to park in one of the multi-storey/shopping centre car parks, but you will more than likely have about a 10-15minute walk to the ground from here.

By Train: - The Stadium is a 20-25 minute walk from the station. To get to the ground from Hull Paragon station you leave the train station at the South side and turn right onto Anlaby Road. Walk straight on down this road and you will reach the stadium.

Pubs 'n' Grub.
The easiest pub for away fans to access is The Brickmakers pub virtually opposite the stadium car park entrance. Away fans are allowed in and there are Sky Sports screens in there and also a burger van outside, perfect!
Other possibilities include the Walton Street Social Club and the Linnet & Lark pub which is a 15 minute walk away, down Princes Avenue.

Alcohol is served in the ground from about the £3.20 mark.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Taarabt and Routledge Send Sky Blues to Coventry...

QPR 2-1 Coventry

Superb goals from Adel Taarabt and Wayne Routledge, on his 2nd debut and 50th game for the Club, sent Rangers five points clear at the top of the Championship in this lunchtime's televised game at Loftus Road.

It seems an age since I sat down to write the report since the Bristol City game, but I must say we had had a couple of corking reports from Lee following the trips to Blackburn and Burnely. Despite the game being on a Sunday, the gang were all in attendance bright and early at the Springbok, with the inclusion this week of little Jack and also Lee's lovely lady, Jess. But sadly, missing was California Hoop due to family commitments. Football on a Sunday should be banned!!! I must just mention also how nice it was to have a catch up with Corinne and friend Sarah at the Springbok and at half time.

We were all in good spirits beforehand and eager to see what our new signings would bring to the team. However, Wayne Routledge was the only new face to start and Ishmael Miller was on the bench. Pascal Chimbonda was not to feature.

Onto the game and although the R's made a promising start, you couldn't help but think it was going to be another one of those days, when Heidar Helguson headed over from close range with the goal gaping. Taarabt had a shot blocked by the again, impressive Westwood in the Sky Blues goal and he later denied Shaun Derry his first goal for the club, superbly pushing away his 25 yard effort.

Rangers were made to pay for their missed chances on 25 minutes and it just had to happen didn't it? As per the away game at the Lifeless Arena, Marlon King's previous misdemeanours lead to him getting a fair bit of stick from the R's faithful and it was King who silenced the home crowd, shinning McSheffrey's cross home to give the visitors the lead. It could have so easily been two minutes later when Eastwood fortunately dragged an effort wide when in fairness, it looked easier to score.

But on the stroke of half time, the R's were level - the surprisingly subdued at times, Adel Taarabt, cut inside two defenders and curled his shot into the far corner, a superb finish for his 13th goal of the season.

Onto the second half and another 'one of those days' feelings sprang to mind, as Faurlin smashed a low free kick against the Coventry post and the ball rolled across the goal line and spun behind to safety. A free kick that was so well taken, yet we didn't even get a corner from it?

Paddy Kenny then performed heroics in the R's goal with an outstanding triple save, before Ishmael Miller entered the play for the injured Helguson. The big striker almost made an immediate impact, cutting into the box, before unleashing a left footed drive which was superbly saved by Westwood. The referee then decided that football was to become a non contact sport and was making all sorts of quite ridiculous decisions.

But with 11 minutes to go, a moment of magic that will live long in the memory - Taarabt simply carved open the Coventry defence with a pass from the left touchline with the outside of his right boot. Routledge marked a fine second debut by controlling the ball superbly with his right foot and coolly placing home with his left - a quite superb goal!!

Despite a late injury time flurry from Coventry, there was to be no repeat of the Bristol City game a few weeks back and the R's gained their first win in 2011.

QPR: Kenny, Orr, Hill, Derry, Taarabt, Faurlin, Helguson (Miller 55), Gorkss, Routledge (Ephraim 90), Connolly, Smith (Hall 82). Subs: Cerny, Clarke, Hulse, Vaagan Moen.

Lofty's Man of the Match - a big gang discussion for this one, with Paddy Kenny getting the vote from Jo. Corp, Sam and Jess opted for Shaun Derry. But with 4 votes from myself, PK, Luke and Lee, todays award goes to Wayne Routledge.

In summary, a great 3 points in front of the cameras with 2 great goals. Routledge and Miller look decent additions with Chimbonda still to come in and more signings rumoured. Personally, I am glad to see the back of Coventry for this season and chuffed to bits that we have taken 6 points from them. Their style of play isn't pretty to the eye but nevertheless, it leads to them being extremely difficult opponents, but I certainly couldn't go and watch that every week...

Lee returns next Saturday as the LH gang take the road to the KC Stadium for the rearranged game against Hull...

COME ON YOU R'ssssssssssss!!!!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

Trio-mendous day for signings.

Today the club announced a trio of signings ahead of this Sunday's fixture against Coventry which is live on Sky from 1pm.

The first signing marked the return of former R's winger Wayne Routledge on loan until the end of the season.


Routledge played 49 times for the club during his last spell before making his January move to Newcastle last season.
Routledge will wear the number 15 shirt.

Signing number two is Pascal Chimbonda on a free transfer from Blackburn Rovers.
Chimbonda has signed a 6 month contract and will provide competition for Bradley Orr and Clint Hill in the full back positions.


Chimbonda made his name in English football when he played for Wigan and was named in the PFA team of the year in 2006/07 season before moving on to Spurs later that year.
After an unsuccessful spell at the North Londoners he moved to Sunderland before making his way back to Spurs and then joining Blackburn in 2009.
Chimbonda will wear the number 39 shirt.

The third and final signing is Ishmael Miller from West Brom.
This signing has not been confirmed on the official website but when Neil Warnock was on the Sky Sports' 'Football League Weekend' show this evening he himself said that the R's had secured his signature.


Welcome to the R's from everyone here at Lofty Heights!

U R'SSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

R's get well deserved point at Burnley

Today the R's made a second long trip up north in a week as they travelled to Burnley in search of their first away win of the year.
The Lofty Heights crew made the trip up the M40,M42 M6 and M65 to witness today's events.

Lofty's journey started at about 9 as he made his way to Jenson's house and jumped in Jenson's car before meeting Sam and myself in Marlow and hitting the long road up north.
Jenson made a few failed attempts to get some petrol on board as every Shell petrol station seemed to of run out of petrol! Jenson proceeded to hit the motorway knowing that we were touch and go on whether we had enough on board or not, we had some fun and games seeing if we would make it to Turf Moor or not.
Lofty was in charge of the predictions today and had his pencil at the ready to adjust the scores on the way home.... it seemed as if everyone was determined to ensure that they would take home the winnings as current and defending champion PK was not able to make the trip due to being on call for work. A new champion would be crowned by 6pm!
We decided that today would be the day that Lofty Heights returned to twitter and give the R's fans that read about our travels a chance to see what we think of what is happening as we are in the stand. Feel free to follow us on twitter, our username is @loftyheights70.
Ten miles outside of Burnley the fuel tank finally hit zero and the chase to find the nearest petrol station was on. Luckily after 10 minutes of looking we found an Asda and filled up know we would arrive at Turf Moor and get home with no worries.
Having parked up in the cricket club we made our way in for a swift pint and relax before we went in the ground. Having waited for over ten minutes trying to get a drink and watching the northern barmaid serve every Burnley fan ahead of me, regardless of whether I was there before them, finally it took an R's fan without colours on to point her in my direction and finally get a drink in for the troops. I never knew that despite being six foot five that I could still pull off the invisible look pretty well.
After we finished ours drinks we decided to hit the road and go to the ground, just as we left the bar we bumped into Lorna and let her join us as we are pretty kind people.
Having got into the ground Lofty, Jenson and myself hit the food kiosk with three starving stomachs and went for the pie option. Having demolished our pies we all looked at each other and all of us were still hungry. We sneaked our way back to the kiosk and got ourselves a second pie each, we aren't greedy honest!
We made our way up to our seats, the first seats we chose had a leaking roof directly above it so we moved up a few more rows and strategically placed ourselves so we would avoid getting rained on any further.

Neil Warnock made a few changes to the side that lost at Blackburn last weekend. Gary Borrowdale, Leon Clarke and the injured Jamie Mackie dropped out and they were replaced by Matt Connolly, Tommy Smith and Adel Taarabt.

It was the R's that started the half the better of the two teams and won a flurry of corners in the opening ten minutes into the game and looked like the more likely of the teams to open the scoring.
Rangers' continued to push and when a ball from Taarabt was knocked down into the path of Orr with only the 'keeper to poke the ball past he failed to get a decent contact and Grant was grateful to beat the ball away.
After a good opening half an hour by the visitors it was only inevitable that Burnley would enjoy a good spell in the half and they did finish the half the stronger of the two as a free kick was put just over after Chris Eagles dived to the floor, surprise surprise! Paddy Kenny was forced into a good save as well as the half closed and the teams went in level.

A draw at the interval was a fair reflection of the half as the R's did look the most likely to score but it was an entertaining affair that was end to end and could swing either way.
As we were waiting for Jenson to get his half time coffee we noticed a certain Emmanuel Ledesma in the queue for a hot drink, much to the delight of Sam and Lorna who perved on him for the remainder of his time downstairs. If anyone is interested, he ordered a hot chocolate and put four sugars in it....... sweet!

We took our places in a slightly different formation but there were no changes on the field as we kicked off the second half.
Rangers' once again come out the brighter of the teams as we looked to break the deadlock.
Taarabt was pulling the strings in midfield and was at the heart of most of the R's attacking play. He was also being kicked left, right and centre but for once he didn't retaliate for once and instead continued to terrorise the Burnley midfield and defence.
It was Taarabt who in turn was fouled and the referee awarded a free kick on the edge of the Burnley area, however from where I stood it looked to be a foul in the area. Taarabt's free kick was floated just over the bar.
As the half wore on both teams were going for the elusive goal that would more than likely win the game.
Rangers' had two golden chances to win the game as Hulse played in Tommy Smith and the latter broke through the Burnley defence and rather than square the ball to Hulse, Smith decided to go for the shot himself and saw his shot blocked by a Burnley defender that threw themselves at the ball and saved the danger.
The best chance came as Taarabt's cross was knocked down into the path of Kaspers Gorkss and the big Latvian could only manage to put the ball over the bar from three yards out.
We are hoping that we have better news this week as Alejandro Faurlin limped off with what looked like a thigh injury. Its definitely not something we need as Faurlin is a key player.
The R's survived a late scare as Paddy Kenny scooped a looping ball off the line and ensured that the honours remained even.

It was a great point to take away and it was probably a fair result in reflection. At the start of the day I would've taken a point so I definitely have no complaints of the result.
Having got to the end of the game I was happy it was over as my fingers were aching after putting out so many tweets, hopefully the insight was taken well.

Today's Man of the Match was a two horse race for us. Tommy Smith put in a great shift in the second half and was unlucky not to grab himself a goal. However our man of the match goes to a player that worked their socks off and kept on picking themselves up after being kicked to the floor on many occasions. He looked like a rugby player at the end of the game and for all the above reasons its Adel Taarabt that is our Man of the Match.

Lofty wasted no time as we got in the car and started marking the predictions as we heard the results. After the end of the Premiership scores there looked like only one winner and with a number of correct scores we had an undisputed winner by a massive margin! The results in reverse order are- 4th me, 3rd Sam, 2nd Jenson and in first was Lofty! New champion, well done sir!
The journey home was a smooth and swift return with a quick stop for a KFC at Keele.
I finish writing this just outside of Oxford and not very far from home.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Legs Extends Ding Stay.

Today it was announced that Mikele Leigertwood's loan spell at Reading has been extended until the 31st May, which would mean Legs could take part in any play-off involvement if Reading manage to finish in the play off places.


Leigertwood has made seven appearances so far for the Royals and has been getting rave reviews from some Reading supporters.

In other news, Emmanuel Ledesma apparently took part in a reserve fixture this afternoon as part of a trial for the club.
The Argentinian, who previously spent six months on loan at the club a few seasons ago, is available on a free transfer should he impress the clubs bosses.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Hull game re-arranged.

Today it was announced that the Hull game that was postponed on the 4th December due to the snowy conditions, has been re-arranged for the 29th January.


The decision to play the game on the 29th was made easier as both the R's and Hull were both knocked out of the FA Cup by Premiership opposition, Blackburn and Wigan respectively.

All original tickets that were bought for this fixture are valid for the match.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Reserves Rover and out.

On what is usually a magical weekend for English football, QPR travelled up to Blackburn looking to win an FA Cup tie for the first time since 2001. The Lofty Heights crew braved the journey despite prior warning that Neil Warnock would be fielding a weakened side.

With Lofty at the wheel we took to the road after he picked up PK, Jenson and finally myself as we took to the longish journey up to Lancashire. The mood in the camp was one that we were going to just enjoy our day out and have a laugh along the way and if we got a draw or maybe more then we would've been more than happy.
With there being plenty of FA Cup ties today we saw the return of the away day predictuion competition. With over 51 games to try and call from the FA Cup, League 1, League 2 and the Blue Square Premier it was anyones game to try and take the money and try to take the crown from previous champion PK.
The journey up the M40, M42, M6 and M65 took us just in excess of two hours and 45minutes, was a smooth one with no traffic issues at all, a nice change to our previous trips up north!
We arrived at the Fernhurst pub just outside of Ewood Park at 1.15 and went straight to the hog roast van that as directly outside the pub. Two of us opted for beef and two went for pork rolls, for about 10 minutes you couldn't hear a word from any of us, the food must've been good to shut all four of us up!
We made our way into the pub to get two beers and two cokes, it made a nice change to get change from £10 yet there was one northerner in the pub that moaned that he had to pay £1.90 for a pint because he usually pays £1.60............. he needs to try living down south, he'll realise how lucky he is that we pay his benefits.
Whilst we were in the pub we met Lorna and had a good laugh with her as Jenson, Lofty and Lorna tried their hardest to get the attention of a person on facebook called Malcolm and put up attention seeking statuses and seeing how long it would take for him to reply, it was all quite funny at the time, you had to be there!
Just before we left the pub Lorna shared a great blonde moment when Lofty asked how long there was left of the Arsenal game she replied "about half an hour" thinking that he was asking how long there was until our kick off, probably another 'you had to be there' moment but it made us laugh for quite a while!
We were then joined by Steve and Phil as we made our way into the ground. Somehow Steve, who is about 7foot tall, managed to get himself in on a young adult ticket, well done that man!

Neil Warnock made changes to the side that drew 2-2 with Bristol City on Monday. Gary Borrowdale, Petter Vaagen Moen, Leon Clarke came into the side that was missing Matt Connolly through suspension, Patrick Agyemang, Martin Rowlands through injury, Adel Taarabt and Heidar Helguson were rested whilst losing Kyle Walker after his loan spell ended on Monday, with him joining Aston Villa, Rangers looked slightly depleted in their starting line up and the left hand side especially looked weak with Borrowdale and Clarke providing the width down there, hardly an encouragement for the travelling support.


Rovers started off the better of the sides in the first half and enjoyed plenty of success when putting balls over the top down our left hand side, if it wasn't for some wasteful finshing by Mama Diouf then Rangers' could've easily found themselves one or two down in the opening 10 minutes.
Paddy Kenny was soon brought into action as Mama Diouf had a free header just outside the 6 yard box that was destined for the back of the net but somehow Kenny threw himself across his goal line and tipped the ball wide for a corner.
Minutes later Kenny was once again the saviour as he saved a header from point blank range when it seemed certain that Blackburn would score.
From the resulting corner Clint Hill cleared off the line and somehow Rangers' were able to keep their clean sheet in tact.
Disaster struck for the R's as half time was approaching when Jamie Mackie made a reckless challenge on Gael Givet both players were left in a heap on the floor and after about 5 minutes of treatment to both of them they were both stretchered off and replaced. Early news rumoured that Mackie had broken his leg.
Rangers' nearly took the lead on the stroke of half time when Petter Vaagen Moen's bullet free kick which looked destined for the top corner was superbly saved by Bunn in the Blackburn goal.


At half time we made our way down to the concourse to check out the latest scores and knock back a cheeky beer. We were joined by Michael as we discussed the first half and how the R's looked like they were gaining in confidence the more the half went on and were unlucky when Moen's free kick was saved.

In the second half Rangers' continued the press on the counter attack with Bruno Andrade looking very dangerous having come on for the injured Mackie. Andrade's pace was troubling the Blackburn defence and when Rob Hulse headed wide you just wondered if the R's were going to be able to break the deadlock and sneak a goal.
With 15 minutes to go Blackburn took the lead. El Hadji Diouf cut in from the right hand side unchallenged as he laid the ball off to the advancing Holliet and he sidefooted the ball into the bottom corner past the outstretched hand of Paddy Kenny.
Rangers' never really looked like getting the equaliser but one positive from the second half was a substitute appearance from Lee Cook having seen the winger out of action for such a long period of time.


I think the general opinion is that none of us are really bothered about being out of the FA Cup and that the League is the clubs priority.
The news that Jamie Mackie has suffered a double fracture to his tibia and fibia really soured the day and we all wish him a speedy recovery. I hope this drives our players on to win promotion for him.

Having lost two strikers to injury this week I feel that now we need to strengthen the front line with a decent poacher then can nick us ten goals in this second half of the season and one more defender that can provide good competition for those that have done so well this season.

The Lofty Heights Man of the Match has a few contenders. Bruno Andrade was impressive in his substitutes appearance, Rob Hulse once again battled well up front and held the ball up well for the supporting players. Clint Hill was superb at centre back, winning plenty of headers and proving to be very difficult to get past. However our Man of the Match is Paddy Kenny for his superb performance between the sticks and making some fantastic saves, keeping Rangers' in the game a lot longer than maybe we deserved.

On the way home I started to get through our prediction competition, which was a closely fought contest with PK getting off to a flier in the FA Cup games but as we went into the final league, the Blue Square Premier, the scores were tied at 23 each between PK and myself. With it going into the final game, Wrexham vs Grimsby, it was PK that claimed victory and retained his title and picked us the winnings off the rest of us. Well done PK!
The journey was made as we entered the service station in Warwick on the way home as the Wycombe Wanderers squad walked in and Lofty, PK and Jenson managed to grab a few words with Gary Waddock at first and then thelegend that is Gareth Ainsworth stopped to talk to everyone and give our day a great ending.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Two Points Dropped...

QPR 2-2 Bristol City

QPR ended the busy Xmas period, five points clear at the top of the Championship, but will be kicking themselves it isn't 7, as one of the most one sided games I have ever seen at Loftus Road, ended 2-2.

Well a full strength LH gang assembled at the Springbok before the match and Happy New Year greetings were exchanged between those who's paths didn't cross at Carrow Road on New Years Day. We also discussed, Jenson's appearance on Sky's, 'Take it like a Fan' programme of which goes to air on Friday. Although Jenson came to the pub £40 better off, he sadly didn't win and have the chance to take a penalty on the Loftus Road pitch at half time for £500 - which I believed was eventually missed, but not sure if this is 100% correct.

Onto the game and as mentioned, it was one of the most one sided affairs witnessed at Loftus Road, not only this season, but many a season gone by. If I sat here and described every chance Rangers created, I would be still writing this report tomorrow afternoon, but it was quite astonishing just how this game wasn't all but over at half time. A cliche I know, but if it were a boxing match, the referee would have stopped it.

After what seemed a very quick Half Time break, we were back to our seats and what often happens after a side are so dominant, happened - a rare mistake from Clint Hill - who headed a hopeful long ball into the path of the in form Brett Pitman and the frontman made no mistake in cooly slotting the ball past Paddy Kenny. The lead though, lasted just 3 minutes - Adel Taarabt wriggled himself to the touchline before brilliantly laying the perfect ball back to Alejandro Faurlin who side footed the ball past David James to level the scores and Loftus Road was jumping.

The half continued much like the first with the R's completely in control and chance after chance followed. Rob Hulse was guilty of two glaring misses as well as a point blank header superbly saved by James in the first half. But although the majority of people will be quick to get on Hulse's back, his finishing was all that let him down and his approach, support and hold up play this afternoon was quite superb and you just get this feeling, that once he hits the net again, there will be no stopping him! Watch this space....

On 84 minutes, Rangers finally got the breakthrough they deserved when the referee, correctly adjudged that Elliot had climbed all over Hulse in the box and pointed at the spot. Adel Taarabt stepped up and with nerves of steel, sent James the wrong way for what everyone must have thought was the winning goal.

But as we were about to find out, the game was far from over. In stoppage time, a quite superb save from Paddy Kenny brought Loftus Road to it's feet after he pushed away Campbell-Ryce's effort. But sadly, our hearts were broken as from the resulting corner, Caulker outjumped Gorkss to head home from close range and give City a point that in all fairness and without bias, they barely deserved. Not before one final attack from the R's when substitute, Petter Vaagen Moen's cross was nodded on by Hulse to Tommy Smith, who fired agonisingly over the bar from close range.

QPR: Kenny, Orr, Hill, Derry, Taarabt (Vaagen Moen 87), Faurlin, Mackie, Gorkss, Walker, Hulse, Smith. Subs: Cerny, Clarke, Rowlands, Agyemang, Borrowdale, German.

Lofty's Man of the Match - brought great discussion from the gang, which unfortunately, was cut somewhat short by an extremely unsavoury incident in the British Queen of which I won't go into. But the discussions led to votes for Faurlin, Hulse and Paddy Kenny once again. But with 3 votes, primarily voted by PK, California Hoop and Jenson, the award today goes to Tommy Smith, who has happily now signed a two and a half year deal with the R's following his loan spell.

On the subject of loan players, I thought I would just spare a few lines with regards to on loan defender, Kyle Walker.

Kyle joined the R's on loan from Spurs back in September, due to injuries to Bradley Orr and Peter Ramage. He went straight into the side against Ipswich and has been there ever since. But sadly, the news today is that he will not be pursuing his season on loan with QPR as many hoped and predicted, but instead with Aston Villa. Kyle has been absolutely superb during his time with QPR and all of us at Lofty Heights would like to wish Kyle all the best in his time with Aston Villa and indeed, in his future career!


Sunday, January 02, 2011

Paddy super show not quite enough.

The R's looked to extend their unbeaten festive run of results against a Norwich side that were missing a number of first team regulars. So could Rangers' make it three out of three?

Our designated driver for the day, Jenson, had to pull out due to unforeseen circumstances so the gang took to the road in three cars as PK and Lofty drove themselves and in my car I was joined by Sam, Luke and Matt.
After a clear run to our meeting point the gang were united at "The World Famous Comfort Cafe. After Lofty and PK has eaten their cooked breakfasts we set off in convoy fashion with me leading the way followed by Lofty and PK. Shortly after leaving the cafe Sam declared that she had a bad feeling about today and that we were gonna lose, the rest of us in the car scoffed at the idea and tried to put some positive vibes back into our journey. After nearly losing PK at a few sets of traffic lights we all arrived safely in the County Hall car park and took the short walk to the ground and once we got there Matt went off to do his work for the official website report whilst the rest of us went off to brave the cold air and warmed up with a nice beer. PK was a bit adventurous and decided to try one of Delia's pork, apple and cider pies whilst Lofty and myself took the sensible route by opting for the cornish pasty. After having a chat to Michael on the concourse whilst watching the WBA v Man United game about our thoughts on the game, we made our way up to our seats to be greeted with the team news.

Neil Warnock was forced into one change with Tommy Smith unable to play due to his loan conditions, the transfer is due to be made permanent for 3rd January, it was the shock inclusion of Leon Clarke that got everyone talking and not many positive words were said.


The opening exchanges were fairly even but disaster struck on nine minutes when Chris Martin was allowed to run through the R's midfield and get a shot in which was blocked by Clint Hill but the rebound rolled into the path of Russell Martin and with all the space to control and then hit a sweet drive into the back of the net. We could've twice denied this opportunity if we had closed down Chris Martin earlier on before allowing him to dance through everyone and then secondly Leon Clarke could've closed down Russell Martin a lot quicker and possibly blocked his shot also.
The goal gave Norwich the confidence to go on and create further chances and also played a lot of keep ball to frustrate the R's in the chase. Too much time was given to Norwich in the midfield and Wes Hoolahan was proving to be a menace when attacking us and it was he that set up a glorious chance for Holt to score a second for Norwich as he danced down the R's right and centred to an unmarked Holt but he couldn't get a good contact on it and fluffed his side foot wide.

Rangers' were lucky to go in at the break just one down and in fairness in could've been two or three.
Lofty and PK made their way downstairs for a half time cuppa whilst me, Sam and Luke stayed in our seats to check out the latest scores and we were delighted to hear that Leeds had drawn with Middlesborough and Cardiff were losing at Bristol City, results were going our way so we needed to wake up and try to capitalise.


Rangers' made two half time substitutions with Clint Hill and Heidar Helguson making way for Bradley Orr and Patrick Agyemang.
Just five minutes into the half and the R's were dealt with another massive blow.
Holt broke clear, albeit with a lot of help with his hand, and as Matt Connolly got close the pair tangled, well Holt is well known for going down easily as well, and unfortunately for the R's defender the handball by Holt was not seen but instead he was the one on the receiving end of being penalised and was given a red card as he was the last man.
Despite the sending off Warnock decided to keep the faith and the final substitution was made on 62 minutes when Taarabt, who was started to get kicked around, came off just after receiving a yellow card and Georgios Tofas replaced him.
The space left by Connolly's departure was being exploited on a number of occasions and if it wasn't for Paddy Kenny on a number of occasions then we could've been on the end of a cricket score.
However in the last 15 minutes the R's began to find their feet and put plenty of pressure on the home side despite their numerical advantage.
Agyemang came the closest when he rose to head a cross from the left onto the bottom of the Norwich post and saw the ball go wide.

All in all having finished the game so strongly you can only be proud of the Rangers' side that battled away during the second half and the difference that Agyemang made when he came on was there to see. I, along with many other R's fans are wondering what Leon Clarke brings to the table as today he turned in another shocking performance yet still managed to stay on the pitch for 90 minutes whilst we have Rob Hulse sat on the bench.

Today's Man of the Match was an easy one to pick for us and the unanimous vote goes to...... Paddy Kenny for the number of times he saved us today and if it wasn't for him then we would've lost by six or seven.

Norwich City: Ruddy, Martin, Drury, Nelson, Whitbread, Crofts, Holt, Hoolahan, Martin, Smith, Wilbraham (Gill 82).

Subs: Rudd, Jackson, Johnson, McNamee, Tudor Jones, Askou.

Goals: R. Martin (9)

QPR: Kenny, Hill (Orr 46), Derry, Taarabt (Tofas 62), Clarke, Helguson (Agyemang 46), Faurlin, Mackie, Gorkss, Walker, Connolly.

Subs: Cerny, Rowlands, Hulse, Borrowdale.

Bookings: Hill (41)

Red Cards: Connolly (51)

Referee: Mr J Moss

Attendance: 26, 273

Having left the ground we waited for a good 25 minutes for Matt to re-emerge from the press box so we could take the walk up the hill to join the masses of traffic trying to get out of the car park. After a good 20 minutes of further chatting we then decided to brave it and try to escape and alas we did 10 minutes later!
Once we reached the A11 the convoy was broken as Lofty zoomed off into the distance and I was quick to follow him as we left PK to enjoy his drive home. After a few overtaking exchanges it was lofty that narrowly beat us to the checkpoint as he filtered off to go home, a fun way to end the day.