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, February 26, 2011

Helguson leaves Boro Heid and dry.

Today the Rangers' faithful took to the road and embarked on the long 'ol pole to Teesside as the R's took on struggling Middlesbrough at the Riverside Stadium.

With Jenson pulling out at the last minute due to working commitments it was I that took over driving duty with Sam, Jess and Luke as my passengers. PK and Lofty were also unable to make the trip due to them being on call for work so the depleted gang took to the road just after 9.30.
We started listening to the finest old skool tunes around for the first two hours of the journey and then Sam requested that some party/singa-a-long songs were put on and the first song to grace our ears was 'I'm so excited' by The Pointer Sisters, a feeling that really wasn't shared in the car as Luke was sleeping and the rest of us still feeling tired from not having much sleep the night before.
After a quick stop in Wetherby services and a burger king munched by us all we again hit the road with only 45minutes of our journey left.
We arrived at 1.40 and parked up right outside the ground and made our way into the ground, bumping into Clingy just outside the turnstiles and went inside for a quick beer and chat before taking our seats ready for the game start.

Neil Warnock made one change to the team that beat Ipswich 2-0 on Tuesday night, Akos Buzsaky in for Ishmael Miller.


The first half started as an edgy affair as Middlesbrough looked to unsettle the R's in their free flowing passing and it looked to be working as they always looked to set Leroy Lita and Scott McDonald free behind Fitz Hall and Danny Shittu, all with very limited success.
The R's did start to slowly take a foothold of the game as Taarabt was looking to be instrumental in his left wing position. It was Taarabt who looked like his was going to do all he could and open the scoring as he had a shot fly wide, one shot gathered up easily by the 'Boro keeper and another one blocked.
The final 10 minutes saw Rangers' look at their most comfortable as they were reading all of Boro's attacks and hitting them on the counter and it was that man Taarabt again that nearly opened the scoring as a long ball evaded everyone and Taarabt got to the ball before the keeper and unfortunately for him the ball nestled on top of the net rather than in it.
A few minutes before the end the deadlock was broken. Helguson managed to take the ball down inside the area and hit his shot, it deflected off the back of a Boro defender and looped into the back of the net. Slightly fortuitous but who cares!


At half time Sam, Luke and Clingy went downstairs to get in refreshments as me and Jess stayed in our seats as I begun writing this report. There were a few half decent half time scores to keep us excited but it was important that we held onto the 3points as Swansea won earlier on in the day.

Rangers' came out for the second half with all guns blazing (and with only me and Jess from the gang present to see the opening 10 minutes of the half).
The R's hit the ground running and in the opening five minutes we had three separate counter attacks foiled at the last minute by the Boro defence.
However the resolve did not last long and soon the lead was doubled.
Routledge skinned his marker on the left hand side and dinked a delightful ball into the 6 yard box and there was Helguson to nod in with aplomb and put the R's in a controlling lead.
After the second goal there definitely was only ever going to be one winner.
The R's remained in control and the opportunity for a third soon came.
Taarabt danced into the left hand side of the box and was tripped, definite penalty!
Taarabt grabbed the ball and soon shook of Helguson as the striker looked to bag his first hat-trick for the R's and despite calls from other Rangers' players to give Heidar the chance of the match ball, pure greed won the day and Adel stepped up to take the kick and sent Steele the wrong way as he smashed his penalty to the left and into the back of the net for Rangers' third goal of the afternoon.
The third goal left the R's in cruise control and a fourth goal would've been possible had we really pushed hard enough for it. Middlesbrough in fairness did fashion a few chances of their own before the end of the game but Rangers' ran out clear and deserved winners.


This was a very professional performance on the road and a very much needed goal feast away from home was finally served up.
Having Akos back in the starting 11 and having his movement and creativity in the team was something that we have missed and gave us that extra impetus in the final third of the field. Faurlin and Derry once again bossed the midfield as Taarabt and Routledge caused plenty of problems with all their trickery.
It would've been superb to see Heidar bag a hat-trick today had Adel given him the chance from the spot but this was Adel's first away goal since the Palace way back in October.

The Man of the Match for today had a few contenders as there were a few good all round performances. As mentioned before Alejandro Faurlin and Shaun Derry were immense in the midfield and Akos Buzsaky was superb on his return. Today's man of the match is a clear winner with everyone's vote going to Heidar Helguson.


After the game two members of the gang were very happy as Sam won £100 on Helguson being first scorer and Rangers' winning 3-0 and Clingy won £52 on a 3-0 R's victory. Myself and Jess were slightly gutted as we had Helguson first and the R's to win 2-0, at least we won the three points!
The journey home was one that we all wanted to get out of the way as quickly as possible so I put my foot to the floor Jenson style and aimed to beat last years time of just over three hours.
We left the car park gates at the Riverside at 5.15 and we walked into our front door at 8.30, I must say I shocked myself and everyone was happy as we all made it home in time for 'Take me out'.
At the end of the journey my car was feeling pretty battered and bruised and we had a loss of power for the last 20 minutes of the journey and with the car screaming weird noises, no explaination can be given yet but hopefully in the morning the poor motor will hopefully of recovered.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

QPR Still Sit on Top of the Hill...

QPR 2-0 Ipswich

QPR maintained their 5 point lead at the top of the Championship as goals from Clint Hill and Heidar Helguson, gave the R's a 2-0 win over in-form, Ipswich.

Well the fixtures seem to be coming thick and fast now, but despite it being a midweek fixture, I am very pleased to report a full gang attendance, including once again, our very own good luck charm, Little Jack. We didn't really all get together until we were all inside the Stadium with kick off fast approaching and the main talking point was that Neil Warnock had decided to break up the meanest defence in the division and rest Matt Connolly and Kaspars Gorkss. Fitz Hall and Danny Shittu took their place in the centre of defence and to be honest, caused much concern as neither had played much football this season for one reason or another. However, in Warnock we trust and we needn't had worried at all as they were both immense in the centre of defence, more on that later...

Onto the game and in an easily forgettable first half, it was the visitors that had slightly the better of things and young starlet, Connor Wickham, came close to giving the Tractor Boys an early lead after he found space to unleash an angled drive that QPR debutant Danny Shittu did well to block. On the half-hour, Shittu's defensive partner Fitz Hall, threw himself in front of a thunderbolt from Grant Leadbitter to deflect the shot over the crossbar. Shittu was in action again as Rangers got into their stride towards the end of the half and saw his header from Taarabt's corner cleared off the line.

Rangers were much improved after the break and the chances began to come - Ishmael Miller's close-range shot was saved by Marton Fulop before Helguson's header flew just over the top from Shittu's nod back. Lee Martin brought a good save from Paddy Kenny before the breakthrough finally came on 77 minutes - Taarabt swung in a corner which was again met by Shittu who nodded across the face of the goal and Clint Hill threw himself forward to power the ball home with his head.

Wayne Routledge almost made it two minutes later but Fulop saved his powerful drive. But it was game, set and match on 83 minutes when Hill found space on the left to cross for Helguson, who headed down and the ball bounced high into the net.

QPR: Kenny, Orr, Hill, Derry, Hall, Taarabt, Helguson, Faurlin, Routledge, Miller (Buzsaky 75), Shittu (Connolly 90).Subs: Cerny, Gorkss, Hulse, Vaagan Moen, Chimbonda.

Lofty's Man of the Match - I'm very pleased to report there were several contenders for this one - myself and Lee opted for Danny Shittu for a superb return to the QPR First Team. Jenson and Alan both went for the goal and assist man, Clint Hill, with Corp choosing Paddy Kenny. It was so hard to disagree with any of the choices, but tonight's winner with 3 votes, from PK, Jo and Sam, this ones for you - Fitz Hall

In summary, this was a MASSIVE win against a side in form and a side with absolutely nothing to lose. Rangers again have to make a long ol' poke up North on Saturday to the Riverside Stadium to face a Middlesbrough side to which you just never know, just what side turn up from one week to the next. Lee will return with his famous and entertaining away reports but until then...

Come on You R'ssssssssssssssssssssss!!!!!

Monday, February 21, 2011

R's on the Road............ To Middlesbrough.

This Saturday the "long ol poke" up north takes us to Middlesbrough as Rangers' look to build/recover from Tuesday nights win/loss/draw against Ipswich.
Here are a few hints and tips for those making the journey to Teeside.


The Stadium.

Current Capacity – 35,100

Middlesbrough were founded in 1876 by Middlesbrough Cricket team players so they could keep fit during the winter. The club turned professional in 1889 but returned to amateur status in 1892. In 1899 the club turned professional permanently and it took them three years to gain promotion into the First Division.
The club moved into a new ground in time for the start of their first season in the time flight. Ayresome Park was Middlesbrough’s home from 1903 for 92 years before the club moved into the brand new Riverside Stadium in 1995. The original Ayresome Park gates have been incorporated in front of the ground along with two statues. The Riverside Stadium was built in a lightening quick 32 weeks.
In 1986 the club came close to folding due to financial difficulties but were saved by a consortium led by the current Club Chairman Steve Gibson.
The club won their first major silverware under the guidance of Steve McLaren in 2004 when they beat Bolton in the League Cup Final, running out 2-1winners.
Just two years later Middlesbrough reached the UEFA Cup Final, after coming back from 3-0 down in two previous fixtures, unfortunately the club were unable to overcome Sevilla and lost 4-0.
For this fixture the away fans will be housed in the South Stand, around 4,500 fans can be housed in there. The leg room is decent but the concourse at the back could get very cramped if there is a decent following at this fixture. There is a Ladbrokes and screens on the concourse, which do show the match once its kicked off, and a list of rough prices from food are listed in the usual grub section.


The History between the teams.

At Middlesbrough (21)

Middlesbrough 12
Draw 4

Before last season's 2-0 defeat, both goals were penalties, a League fixture had not occured 8th November 1997 when Middlesbrough ran out clear 3-0 winners. Middlesbrough also beat Rangers’ in the FA Cup 3rd round replay at the Riverside in the same season when they won 2-0.
Rangers’ last win on Teeside came in January 1993 when they won 1-0 courtesy of a Les Ferdinand winner. Incidentally that is the last time the R’s scored at Boro’ so there is some history to be written, if a Rangers’ player can put one in the back of the net.


How to get there.

By Car:-
The postcode to get you there today is TS3 6RS.
Go up the M1 to junction 32 and join the M18. On the M18 come off at junction 2 and join the A1 (alternatively you can just use the A1 from the start). Leave the A1 at junction 49 and join the A168, which leads onto the A19 and then onto the A66 (just follow the signs for Teeside). You will pass Darlington’s new(ish) ground along the way. As you enter Middlesbrough you will see the Riverside Stadium signposted.
There is no official parking at the Riverside so it has been advised that you follow signs for ‘away coaches’, this will lead you towards a host of private car parking areas that will cost in the region of £4-5 and is a 15-20 minute walk from the stadium.

By Train:- The ground is a walkable distance from the train station so here’s a rough guide on how to get to your destination.
Leaving the station via the main entrance you take a left onto Zetland Road and then another left onto Albert Road and go under the railway bridge. After going under the bridge turn immediately right onto Bridge Street East, going past the Bridge pub and take the next right onto Wynward Way. The stadium is just down this road.

Pubs 'n' Grub.

After reading reviews the pubs that are recommended are Doctor Browns just at the bottom of Corporation Road in the City Centre and Barracuda on Albert Road in the City Centre. The Bridge Pub by the train station isn’t recommended to away fans, but if you’re not wearing colours then I can’t see any harm in paying them a visit.
The usual host of food outlets are available in the City Centre but there isn’t much available around the ground.
A few prices of the food inside the ground are as follows :- balti pies (£1.80), minced beef pies (£1.80), rollover sausages (£2.40), cheeseburgers (£2.40), pizza (£2.30), chips (£1.50) and curry sauce (£0.50).

Saturday, February 19, 2011

R's fail to leave Preston in Deep-er trouble.

On this cold Saturday the Rangers' faithful took to the road as our table toppers travelled to bottom of the table Preston. Could the R's take the opportunity to potentially extend their lead at the top of the table as the chasing pack play each other, or will the fixture prove to be a banana skin, much like Nottingham Forest found on Wednesday night against Scunthorpe.

Jenson was in charge of the driving today as Lofty and PK arrived at Hillman HQ at 10 before meeting me, Sam and Luke at the second meeting point at 10.30 and heading to Deepdale.
We first hit traffic as we entered Birmingham on the M42 and took a quick pit stop just before the M6 Toll and got in supplies ready for another dash up the M6. In the services we bumped into many a Crawley, Brighton and Man United fan. PK managed to catch a few words with a Crawley fan as he was asked who we were playing and just as you thought the conversation was going to end PK uttered words that you just wouldn't ask, "who are you playing today?" PK replied, its only the most talked about FA Cup tie and PK forgot about it! Its fair to say that he has not lived it down all day, poor git!
We carried on up the M6 and we were held up in sheer weight of traffic due to the 9000 Crawley fans driving up from West Sussex and the other 40,000 Man United fans travelling up from Surrey, I have come to the conclusion that Man United should have bid for the Olympic Stadium so that they are closer to their fan base!
Having battled through and arriving at Preston at 2.15, we made our way into the stadium to grab a pie(or two in my case) and have a quick chat before making our way up to our seats. Lorna made her arrival as we were having our chat on the concourse with Michael and Debbie.
We were in a cautious mood and know that this could be a very dangerous fixture and had to be professional in order to pick up three points today.

Two changes were made from Sunday's game against Forest, one of which was forced. Tommy Smith missed out with his hamstring injury and Rob Hulse dropped to the bench. Their replacements were Ishmael Miller and Heidar Helguson.


The opening ten minutes were pretty even with Rangers' struggling to get a hold of the game but it wasn't long before they slowly asserted themselves on the game with Faurlin in particular pulling the strings and being as influencial as possible from his holding midfield role.
Taarabt tested Turner in the Preston goal with a few efforts, the best one being a free kick that was tipped wide for a corner.
Rangers' were so in control and at one point they knocked together around 40 passes with Preston unable to get hold of the ball.
Myself, Lofty and PK were saying that what we needed to do was stay patient and we would get the breakthrough, two minutes later that breakthrough came.
Derry passed to Miller and the big striker ran to the left edge of the penalty area and drilled a ball across the six yard box and there was Helguson to grab a goal on his return to the first team after recovering from injury.
Rangers' could have been two up minutes later. Taarabt danced down the left and played in Miller behind the Preston defence and he played the ball across the box once more and this time Helguson was unable to get a touch and the ball was cleared from danger.

At half time Lofty and PK made their way downstairs for refreshments and a crafty fag as the rest of us stayed in our seats. Sam and Lorna were dancing away to something, it definitely wasn't the band that played at half time, the music was bad enough to make your ears bleed! I was being entertained over bbm as Jess was informing me of how well our accumulators were getting on as we were on course to win in four seperate accys, as you can imagine the excitement really got my blood pumping.


The second half got underway and Rangers' continued to look in control as Taarabt tested Turner once more.
Ishmael Miller was then replaced by Petter Vaagen Moen.
When Miller left the field it looked as if we lost our balance in attack and this allowed Preston the chance to retain more possesion in defensive areas.
We all knew that we could not remain confident with a one goal lead and needed to push for it so we could not give Preston a chance of rallying back, unfortunately that didn't not happen and Preston started to grow in confidence and put us under pressure. Instead of trying to stifle Preston we stood of them and let them play and give them the hope they needed in search for an equaliser and sure enough the leveller came.
Barton's ball was well controlled by Nicholson before he then proceeded to lob Paddy Kenny in what was a very well taken goal. Game on!
Preston took good heart from the goal and went close to taking the lead a minute later when Ellington fizzed one just over from 25yards out.
We were looking nervy in defence but positive in attack as Adel Taarabt done his best to try and win the game for Rangers' and went close on a few occasions and also had a few shots blocked. In some instances we were screaming for him to pass to people in space but you could see that all he wanted to do was ensure we didn't drop two points against the leagues bottom club.
Taarabt and Rangers' were twarted in their efforts as the game ended 1-1.


In summary, having dominated the first half and looking so comfortable it is extremely disappointing to only come away with one point from the game, however Preston deserve a lot of credit for battling away and upsetting us in the second half and trying to win the game.
I feel that the absence of Smith was a blow for us today and when Miller was subbed we looked to lose a balance in the attacking third. As mentioned earlier, I feel Taarabt probably tried too hard to get a winner for us and we needed to be a bit more patient and knock the ball around on the floor more because that is where we are at our most comfortable. It seems like sometimes we hit the panic button and tend to go long too early when we need to just build up and break teams down with patience and we will benefit more from it as we have the players to do this.
It was good to see Buzsaky back in action again at the end of the game and he will have a big part to play in the final 14 games of the season.
Lastly I'd like to mention Rob Hulse. Hulse has come under scrutiny from Rangers' fans as of late and is being made a bit of a scapegoat when things aren't going well. If people looked at his work rate rather than the amount of goals we are scoring you will see how much of a good player Hulse is and now he is pretty much match fit we will now hopefully see him flourish, he needs our support and once he gets back on the scoresheet we will see him come good for us. Keep the faith in Mr Hulse.

Finally we go onto our Man of the Match. Matt Connolly and Kaspers Gorkss looked very nervous in defence after Mr Warnock's critisism on the defence last Sunday and didn't do too much to help their cause today. Adel Taarabt wanted to be a winner today but unfortunately for him he had to settle for a point like the rest of us. Despite his attitude we will once again award our Man of the Match to a person really showing his class and pulling the strings from the holding midfield, that man is Alejandro Faurlin.

Our journey home had a determined Jenson wanting to get us home extra fast so we could enjoy our evenings. We ticked off the results of todays prediction competition, which had a record pot on offer of £30 to the winner. Going into the final division we had myself, Lofty and Sam all tied at the top with PK just one point behind. The final scores read that Lofty and PK were tied at the top on 21 with the Man United remaining and with them both predicting a convincing United win we had to go to the tie break game, Montrose vs Berwick Rangers(the big game of the day!) Lofty predicted a 1-1 scoreline as PK went for a 2-1 home victory. The final score was 1-1 as Lofty won, or so it seemed, in a late twist we noticed that Luke could tie level if the final score of the United game was 2-0 as he had his banker placed on this game. As it was the game finished 1-0 and Lofty claimed the money(when it all get paid to him).
Finally I'd just like to mention the fantastic driving of Jenson tonight. We left Preston at 5.30 and we were stuck in traffic until we hit the motorway at 6 and then flew home. Usually I write and publish the report in the car but because I started the report slightly later than usual and Jenson's fast driving I am finishing this off at home(at 8.25), he managed to get us from Preston to our meeting point in Marlow in two and a half hours, quite incredible driving! Its safe to say that his spot as the driver for Middlesbrough is safe ;)

Lofty will return for the Ipswich match report on Tuesday night and I will be publishing the R's on the Road to Middlesbrough at some point(either Monday, Weds or Thurs).


Friday, February 18, 2011

R's on the Road......... To Preston North End.

This Saturday Rangers’ fans make the long ol’ poke up to Lancashire to visit a Preston North End as Rangers' look to avoid a potential banana skin as the top vs bottom clash takes place. With Cardiff and Notts Forest dropping points during the week and with the chasing teams playing each other this weekend, it seems like the ideal opportunity for Neil Warnock's charges to extend their lead at the top of the table.
Here are a few pointers that may help you on your trip to Deepdale.

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The Stadium.

Current Capacity – 23,408.

Preston were founded in 1880 and were founder members of the English Football League in 1888. Preston became the first ever Champions of the League in its first season and were also the first team to go an entire season unbeaten in the League and FA Cup throughout a season. The feat was made even more remarkable as they didn’t concede a solitary goal in their FA Cup run. Only Arsenal have gone on to match Preston’s unbeaten season and done so in the 2003/04 season, Arsenal however played 38 games to Preston’s 22.
Since being relegated from the top flight in 1961 the club have failed to return to the top flight but in 1964 they did reach the FA Cup final but were losers to eventual winners West Ham.
The Deepdale stadium was built in 1860 and was eventually opened in 1878. This makes Deepdale the longest continuously used ground in the world. In 2011 it would have been used for 135 years.
Since 1996 the ground has had a major facelift. All four sides of the ground have been rebuilt and the finished article is a very clean and unique looking stadium that the fans can be proud of. The final piece of the puzzle was installed at the beginning of last season when the Invincibles Pavilion Stand was opened in 2008. This is a unique stand which can only be described as a shallow tiered stand with 22 executive boxes running along the back of the stand.
The National Football Museum is also at Deepdale, located on the corner of the Bill Shankly Kop End. It was decided that Preston would be the place for the museum as the club were the first ever winners of the English League Championship and therefore making Preston the first home of English football.
Away fans are located in the left of the Bill Shankly Kop End with an initial allocation of 3,000 tickets handed out but the whole 6,000 seats in that end can be requested for large away followings.
The facilities in the away end are pretty good and the view of the pitch is unobstructed and is very good.
The home fans in general are very friendly and always willing to help you find where you are going if needed. This fixture has always been an enjoyable trip despite our run of results at Deepdale.


The History between the teams.

At Preston (16)

Preston 6
Draw 7

Rangers’ last visit to Deepdale was on the final game of the season last year when a 2-1 Preston victory helped Preston leapfrog Cardiff and secure the final Play Off place. The home victory was celebrated by both sets of fans as the R’s bitter rivals fell out of the Play Offs having looked certainties for automatic promotion for the majority of the season. John Parkin and Sean St. Ledger scored either side of Patrick Agyemang’s leveller.
To find the last time the R’s won at the Lilywhites you have to scroll down the history books to 23rd February 1980 when the Superhoops won 3-0 in a second division fixture.


How to get there.

By Car:-
The Postcode for Deepdale is PR1 6RU.
The quickest way to Preston is to leave the M6 at junction 31 and at the roundabout take the 1st exit onto the A59. A mile up the road you will come to another roundabout, this time take the 2nd exit onto the A5085. Two miles up the road from here you will reach a set of traffic lights. Turn left onto the A6063 and just up the road you will reach the ground.
Parking is available is various places and is usually reasonably priced. We usually park in a school car park which is a 5 minute walk from the ground. The reason we park there is because all proceeds raised go towards the school and is a very worthy cause rather than lining someone’s pockets.
If you are planning on visiting a pub before the game then you could also park up at Sumners Pub (which I will recommend later) for £3 and kill two birds with one stone.

By Train:- The train station is about a mile and a half away from the ground and can be walked in around 20 minutes, past quite a few pubs.
Leave the Preston railway station via the main entrance, and head right at the top of the drive. This is the main High Street. Continue along the High Street, passing all the usual big name shops. The High Street (or Church Street as it's known) is about a mile long, and you will pass a church and a bike shop as you come to its end. Simply carry on walking along this street, and when you reach the ring road, you head straight over the large traffic lights, heading towards Preston Prison. Turn left at the Prison into Church Street, then take a left into Deepdale Road. The ground and now straight down the road, half a mile or so away.

Pubs 'n' Grub.

The best bet for a pre match drink is at Sumners. This is located on Tom Finney Way (Deepdale Road) and welcomes both home and away fans and also has parking around the back for a mere £3. Food is served here also and is supposed to be decent.
The High Street in Preston’s town centre will cater for your taste buds as it holds all the usual shops that you would require if you fancy something other than the usual pie or burger in the ground.
Beer is served in the ground. On my last visit they continued to serve until the 60-65th minute before closing up, so if the game is dire then there is an alternative entertainment option available.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Forest's Fire Dampened...

QPR 1-1 Forest

QPR and the divisions in-form side, Nottingham Forest, could not be seperated as the two sides played out a 1-1 draw at Loftus Road this Sunday lunchtime.

The gang were again slightly depleted today with California Hoop visiting relatives and Jenson, so I am led to believe, just far too drunk/hungover to attend. We all arrived in good time at the Springbok, only to find that some new, stupid regulation is now preventing customers from drinking outside the pub. Those that know the Springbok on a matchday, will know that it gets extremely busy inside, so instead of squeezing ourselves into the bar, we made an unusually early entrance into the ground and had what seemed a long wait for the kick off. We may be forced to find a new pre match haunt before home games now, we shall see...

Onto the game and with Forest chalking up six straight wins and driving themselves quite firmly into the promotion race, this was a much anticipated fixture which was reflected by a near sold out Loftus Road. We did amuse however at the sight of many a new or recently returning fan, wandering around the Loftus Road Upper Stand looking completely lost whilst trying to find their seats before kick off.

Forest started the game well as they normally do and although flagged offside, Tudgay smashed the R's post in the opening minute. But Rangers began to find their feet and on 16 minutes, took the lead when Tommy Smith collected Alejandro Faurlin's pass 35 yards from goal, darted forward to the edge of the area before unleashing a stunning low curler past the outstretched hand of former R's goalkeeper Lee Camp.

It got even worse for Forest 8 minutes later when a two footed lunge on Taarabt from Majewski, saw referee Mark Clattenburg show a straight red card to the Forest man. The away sides fortunes then started to turn when Rangers gave away a soft free kick, 30 yards out - McGugan's powerful free-kick was heading well wide until it hit McGoldrick and flew in the other direction, past the diving Paddy Kenny and into the net. McGoldrick celebrated like he had scored a similar goal to that of Wayne Rooney's yesterday and gave it to the R's fans in the Loft and Ellerslie Road stands. Paddy Kenny had to be at his best just minutes later, saving Cohen's header with his feet and a cheeky effort from Adel Taarabt at the other end went narrowly wide before the half came to a close.

The discussions amongst us at half time, concluded that if Forest were to go out to win the game, then Rangers would win, but if they decided to shut up shop, it could be a very frustrating half. Sadly, it was the latter and it seemed at times as if neither side wanted to lose this one and the game often became quite stale. But it was Rangers that had the chances with Faurlin driving narrowly wide, Bradley Orr seeing his powerful header cleared off the line by Chris Gunter and Petter Vaagan Moen flashing a header past the post in stoppage time.

QPR: Kenny, Orr, Hill, Derry, Taarabt, Faurlin (Vaagan Moen 79), Gorkss (Chimbonda 74), Routledge, Connolly, Hulse, Smith (Miller 46). Subs: Cerny, Hall, Helguson, Shittu.

Lofty's Man of the Match
- again, the gang were divided with this one, with myself, going for an extremely solid performance at the back from Matt Connolly. Lee and Corp went for Faurlin, but todays winner with votes from Sam, Jo and Pk, is Shaun Derry.

In summary and a bit of a cliche, but with Forest's current form, I would have taken a point had been offered it before the game, but in saying that, I was confident of another home win. The Forest sending off was probably the worst thing to happen to us today as teams often toughen up and fight their all for the cause. Well, look what happened at Reading last week...

The gang are making the trip to Deepdale next Saturday for the top v bottom clash with Preston...

Come on You R'sssssssssssssssssssssss!!!!

Saturday, February 05, 2011


Reading 0-1 QPR

Ten-man QPR extended their lead at the top of the Championship to eight points with a 1-0 victory at Reading in the Sky live game last night...

Due to unforeseen circumstances, Lee has asked me to step in and do the report for this one. But to be honest, what else can I say? Every once in a while, a game comes along which makes following your team the greatest thing in the world and makes everything worthwhile - this was certainly one of those games and it feels pretty damn good being a QPR supporter tonight!! We play a team bang in form, on a ground we have never won on, a completely inept referee in charge, have a man sent off and we still go and get the 3 points - it doesn't get much better than that, I can tell you, along with the 2500 R's fans in the ground (who were absolutely fantastic tonight) and the R's fans watching on TV, Im sure will agree.

Sadly, the gang were again slightly depleted this evening with Jenson still in Vegas and unfortunately, PK, who was gutted to get a late call from work and couldn't make the trip. But myself, Lee, Sam, Jess, Daryl and Jo, who celebrated her Birthday on Thursday, took our seats and the Henley contigent, Lee, Sam and Jo, were completely and utterly bang up for this contest with their own, local rivals!

Onto the game and both sides looked well up for it and Hulse maybe should have done better with Orr's cross early on. In a half with few chances, Reading had their first on about 40 minutes when Paddy Kenny superbly tipped away Church's goalbound effort. It was shortly after that when Rangers had their customary man sent off against Reading, as Hogan Ephraim got his marching orders for a mistimed tackle on Jimmy Kebe. From where I was sitting, I really can't comment if it was or it wasn't worthy of a red, but a red card it was.

The second half, like the first, was one of few chances, the difference being this time around was that Rangers had a new grit and determination about them and showed yet again, this wonderful team spirit that Neil Warnock has brought to QPR. Substitute, Ishmael Miller went close for the R's, but on 82 minutes and just as the game looked set to end goalless, Wayne Routledge sped on to Faurlin's superb through ball and placed his shot from the edge of the box past Federici and into the bottom corner - cue 2500 R's fans to go absolutely beserk!!!

The R's fans continued to chant and cheer their team across the finish line and after 4 minutes of stoppage time, the whistle blew on a superb victory.

QPR: Kenny, Orr, Hill, Derry, Taarabt (Vaagan Moen 86), Faurlin, Gorkss, Routledge (Hall 90), Connolly, Hulse (Miller 67), Ephraim. Subs: Cerny, Rowlands, Chimbonda, Shittu.

Lofty's Man of the Match - Sky gave it to Wayne Routledge, but this could quite easily be given to the entire team after this performance. Faurlin was again exceptional and Adel Taarabt put in a hard working, team performance himself, yes, I did say team performance. But myself and Lee picked out 2 candidates late on in the second half - my choice was Shaun Derry and after Lee mentioned his choice, I sat and pondered for a moment and found I could not disagree, so the award goes to Kaspars Gorkss - an awesome display!!

As mentioned previously, down to 10 men, 3 points and 8 points clear at the Top of the Championship. I will leave you that and say goodnight and...

COME ON YOU R'sssssssssssss!!!!

Thursday, February 03, 2011

R's on the Road.......... To Reading.

Ranger's travel to Reading for their third game in six games against a side that have not lost at home since October. With Reading in form with the help of R's midfielder Mikele Leigertwood, who is ineligable to play, this is going to be a tough test in front of the Sky TV cameras.
Here’s all you need to know before your trip to Berkshire.


The Stadium.

Current Capacity – 24,200

Reading were formed in 1871 and were nicknamed The Biscuitmen after the town’s main trades Huntley and Palmers biscuits. Following the factory being shut down in the 1970’s the club changed its nickname to The Royals, due to their location in the Royal County of Berkshire.
Reading started off playing at Reading Recreation Ground until 1878, before moving on to Reading Cricket Ground (1878–1882), Coley Park (1882–1889) and Caversham Cricket Ground (1889–1896).
In September 1896 the club moved to the purpose built Elm Park and were at home there for 102 years. During this time the club finally gained Football League status after being elected to join in 1920.
Reading won their first trophy in 1988 when they defeated Luton Town in the Simod Cup, also known as the Full Members Cup and the Zenith Data Systems Cup. The Cup was formed after the Heysel Stadium disaster because English clubs were banned from European Competition and gave clubs in the top two tiers of English Football another trophy to compete for, however after the formulation of the Premier League the Cup became defunct after just seven years.
The Royals moved from Elm Park to the Madejeski Stadium, named after Chairman John Madejeski. The Madejeski Stadium is on the very outskirts of the town and is right next to the M4 motorway allowing an easy get away for some of the travelling fans.
Following promotion from League One in the 2002/03 season it then took the Royals another three seasons to secure their first ever promotion to the top tier of English Football. After a successful first season the club failed to retain their status and were relegated during their second season in the Premier League.
Further plans to increase the capacity were approved during the clubs time in the Premiership. These plans included extending three sides of the stadium (North, South and East) and replacing the roof, this would take three years to complete. However due to the clubs relegation to the Championship the planned start and completion dates have yet to be confirmed and remain a mystery.
Away fans will take their place in the South Stand (Fosters Lager Stand) and an initial 2,100 ticket allocation has been given to the club. Allocations can be increased to 4,300 when it’s needed or requested. The facilities inside are decent, the legroom is more than adequate and better than you would get at other grounds. Unfortunately the stadium is one of those modern bowl shaped models and the atmosphere can suffer because of this. There is no wow factor when you get to the ground and when you get to the away gates you are often greeted to security staff who are often over the top and really set the tone for your visit. I have read reviews from other fans of clubs and they have also complained about their behaviour and have also reported that some fans have been refused entry because in the security’s opinion some people have been deemed ‘too drunk’. It’s not one of the best days/nights out to football but once you get past the front doors just enjoy yourself and make some noise!


The History between the teams.

At Reading (39)

Reading 26
Draw 7

Rangers’ last victory on the road against Reading came in September 1997, it was also the last R’s victory in the fixture before the 4-1 victory earlier this season, in a 2-1 victory.
Lee Hodges got the Royals off to the perfect start with a goal in the opening 10 minutes after Carl Asaba’s shot had rebounded off the crossbar to give Hodges an easy chance to net his first goal in Royals colours. The 1-0 score line remained the same going into half time. With the Royals seemingly in control on 74 minutes the R’s grabbed an equalizer. A cross from the right hand side found the smallest player on the pitch, John Spencer and the micro striker grabbed the leveller. Just 60 seconds later it was 2-1!! A cross from the left hand side was diverted towards goal, by Spencer again I think (correct me if I’m wrong) with the shot seemingly going wide it suddenly hits Steve Swailes and flies into the bottom corner, sending the travelling support into raptures. Right at the end Rangers’ would’ve made it 3-1 if it wasn’t for a great save by Royals ‘keeper Mautone.


How to get there.

By Car:- The postcode for the Madejeski Stadium is RG2 0FL
Leave the M4 at junction 11 and follow the A33 in the direction of Reading, the ground is just a short distance from here.
As for parking it can prove pretty tricky and/or expensive. There are a few places to park down Imperial Way (just off the roundabout before the stadium) you can also try Acre Road industrial park as well, but do be careful because if you are not paying to park there you could easily find yourself parking on private property and getting back to your car with a parking ticket for your troubles.

By Train:- The stadium is nowhere near being within walking distance so the best bet is to jump on the special football bus to the ground. The bus is the number 79 and runs every 7-10 minutes, or so I’m lead to believe.

Pubs 'n' Grub.

There are no pubs near the stadium. If travelling by train I would recommend The Three Guineas pub, this is traditionally an away fans pub and is right outside the train station as you walk out of it on your right hand side, it is also outside the bus station so it’s ideal. Closer to the ground is the Holiday Inn hotel just off Imperial Way and is a 10-15 minute walk from the ground.
The town centre offers the usual retail outlets for you to eat at, alternatively there is a retail park right outside the stadium with McDonalds, KFC and Pizza Hut on offer to you there.

Alcohol is on offer in the ground at £3 for a pint of Fosters or Courage Bitter.
All pies and pasties cost £2.60 and rollover hotdogs are £3 each.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Patient QPR See off Pompey....

QPR 2-0 Portsmouth

It wasn't always pretty on the eye, but goals from Taarabt and Clint Hill, gave Rangers a 2-0 victory over Portsmouth at Loftus Road this evening.

Well being a midweek game, the gang sadly were not in full attendance as Jenson is at a Stag do/Wedding in Las Vegas and PK was also absent, being stuck up on a cherry picker, or something... Sadly, I was later than normal to arrive and was unable to join in the banter and pre match discussions at The Springbok as normal.

Moving swiftly onto the game and in an easily forgettable first half, Pompey could have been ahead after just 30 seconds when Halford directed a free header straight at Paddy Kenny. Rangers had a couple of half chances with Adel Taarabt firing wide and Clint Hill shooting narrowly over. But Pompey were giving as good as they were getting with Liam Lawrence, being the annoying little s*** that he always is and getting at the ref with every opportunity - and after trying to get Matt Connolly sent off, the resulting free kick was superbly pushed away by Kenny for a corner. Lawrence trotted over to take it and I can honestly say, I have never seen a player get barracked as much as he did tonight from the Loft and the Ellerslie Road stand. He seemed to lap it up but also looked around in absolute amazement.

Neil Warnock obviously worked his magic during the break and Rangers returned a lot more positively and some great work on the right from Taarabt, who then played in Miller and the big striker turned and shot narrowly wide. But on 59 minutes, the R's made the breakthrough - Taarabt ran at the Pompey defence, with Hogan Ephraim in acres of space to his right and the whole ground screaming at him to pass, the Moroccan let fly with a low drive which Ashdown fumbled - and the ball happily bounced over the line.

Pompey hit back and some good work from Kitson, played in Johnathon Hogg who screwed his shot wide when in truth, he probably should have levelled things up. But it was game set and match on 73 minutes when Clint Hill met Taarabt's corner with a bullet header which Ashdown could only help on its way in - his long awaited and much deserved first goal for QPR.

QPR: Kenny, Orr, Hill, Derry, Taarabt (Vaagan Moen 90), Faurlin, Gorkss, Routledge (Hall 85), Connolly, Ephraim, Miller (Hulse 70). Subs: Cerny, Rowlands, Chimbonda, Shittu.

Lofty's Man of the Match - EXTREMELY difficult one to call this one. Personally, I gave it to Taarabt, who put Saturday's hissy fit behind him to put in a solid performance. Paddy Kenny once again was in the running with some fine stops ahead of his, quite amazing, 16th clean sheet of the season - but with 3 votes, coming from Lee, California, Corp and with Neil Warnock stating 'that's the best he has ever played for me' - tonights award goes to Alejandro Faurlin.

In summary and as mentioned, it wasn't always pretty tonight but it's results that matter and the R's patience certainly paid off. Lee will return to the fold on Friday night as the R's travel to Reading for the Sky Sports encounter.

Come on You R'sssssssssssssssssss!!!!