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, April 30, 2011

We're the Champions (for now......)

Today the R's faithful travelled to Watford hoping that Rangers' would finally seal promotion (albeit maybe for a week only) and really get the champers flowing.

The Lofty Heights gang were in full force as Sam, Jess and Lorna travelled in my car, Lofty travelled alone, Jenson travelled with Smithy and PK drove Corp and California Hoop, yes you heard correctly, California Hoop attending an away game from the first time since the Boxing Day at Charlton a few years ago. Corp and California Hoop had to sit in the home end but its still a damn good effort by them.
The majority of the gang assembled in The Oddfellows pub for a few pints and shared our views on The Sun's article yesterday on next weeks hearing, mixed views were shared and the nervousness has cerainly unsettled a few of us but I remain calm and hope for a positive outcome and that its them just stirring a few leftovers outta a dirty toilet.

Neil Warnock was forced into one change before naming the line up, Clint Hill missed out through injury and was replaced by Matt Connolly. However in a late twist one more change was forced on the R's boss, Paddy Kenny was injured in the warm up so he had to be replaced by Radek Cerny, who was making his first appearance of the season.


As we made our way to our seats Phill was in place alongside his Dad and a whole load of inflatables for us to blow up and surf to the crowd. Jess got hold of a shark and kept hold of it as what could hopefully be a lucky charm for us.
The first half wasn't really a spectacle to be fair and it was a tale of three offside goals dissallowed. Taarabt and Routledge had goals chalked off, Helguson's looked very tight from where we standing. Watford had one chalked off for a clear offside as our female linesman definitely knew what the offside rule was throughout the half.
Danny Graham headed narrowly wide and Alejandro Faurlin sidefooted over after great work by Taarabt down the left.
Fitz Hall had to be replaced midway through the first half due to injury, his replacement was Danny Shittu.

At half time I continued with my tradition of starting this write up whilst the gang got refreshments and had their respective breaks before getting back in their seats in time for the second half to kick off.

Rangers' again started the half well but did not manage to forge any clear cut chances.
As the half got older the R's were not getting the roll of things and Watford came more and more into the game. Rangers' fans were sweating as Watford managed to make the R's defend deeper and deeper but Cerny remained untested in the R's goal as we entered the final fifteen minutes of the game.
It looked as if one moment of brilliance or one mistake would come between the two teams and two minutes later we found out what it would be......
Tommy Smith attacked down the left hand side and managed to get a cross in that seemed to strike a Watford arm along the way but as we appealed for it our magical captain Taarabt stole in at the near post and flicked the ball past Scott Loach and the R's end erupted!!
The gang in our row went crazy as plenty of love went around and the shark was waved around in absolute delight.
The next 13 minutes seemed to last a lifetime but eventually the board with the additional minutes on it........... FIVE MINUTES????? Where did they come from??????
As we stand more anxious than ever waiting for the minutes to tick down there was time for one final goal.
Tommy Smith was fed the ball on the edge of the box and he drilled the ball into the bottom corner past the despairing Scott Loach and Rangers' fate was sealed.
This was Smith's 100th league goal of his career and what a time to grab it!
The celebrations were ones of relief, jubilation and just ecstasy. Iceman started to cry, phones from the row behind us were being lost and plenty of hugging was shared amongst us all.


I must say that after all the hard work this season that today was the day we as R's fans have waited for and have finally got after 15 years out of the big time.
Today was not the best footballing contest but with a lot of patience and some solid defending we got what we deserved, something that should've been sealed weeks ago, the Championship title.
Words cant describe what today is, all I can say is that it is a very special day that all members will all remember for the rest of our lives, even Corp and California Hoop who managed to get on the pitch from the Rookery End and came down to the away end to celebrate with all the R's fans.

Jess, Lofty, PK, Corp, California Hoop and myself made our way to the Breakspear Arms in Ruislip. We toasted the Championship title in a reserved style but with plenty of laughs and banter along the way, the company could not of been better.

Today's Man of the Match was settled by one vote. As we left the pub Danny Shittu edged the votes with five votes to Tommy Smith's three but after receiving Sam, Luke and Lorna's votes by text it was Tommy Smith that won today's award with six votes to Shittu's five.

Watford: Loach, Hodson, Eustace, Taylor (Bennett 54), Mariappa, Cowie, Deeney, Graham, Buckley (Murray 78), Doyley, Sordell (Whichelow 73).

Subs: Gilmartin, Mingoia, Drinkwater, Assombalonga.

QPR: Cerny, Orr, Derry, Hall (Shittu 23), Taarabt (Ramage 90), Helguson, Faurlin, Gorkss, Routledge (Buzsaky 75), Connolly, Smith.

Subs: Agyemang, Hulse, Vaagan Moen, Ephraim.

Goals: Taarabt (77), Smith (90+3)

Referee: Mr N Swarbrick

Attendance: 15,538 (2171 QPR fans in the away end, numberous others elsewhere.)

Tomorrow the gang will be attending the Player of the Year dinner and dance (minus myself and Jess) so I wish everyone a great night ahead.

Lofty will be back during the course of the week with the Lofty Heights Awards 2010/11 and then again next weekend for our final report of the season.

I sign off this season with a massive thank you to everyone for all their support and hope you all continue to enjoy our ramblings next season....... as a Premier League club!!

U R'SSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

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

On Saturday Rangers' travel to Watford to see if they can finally seal promotion and the Championship title. After weeks of guessing when it will happen this is finally the day we know that a draw will clinch promotion and a win will bring the title to Loftus Road.
Will we finally have a good memory of a trip to the glory hornet boys????


The Stadium.

Current Capacity – 19,900

Watford have been at home at Vicarage Road since 1922. From 1922-2001 the ground was owned by Benskins Brewery and they bought the ground from its freehold outright and owned the stadium for the first time in its history. However due to the clubs poor financial state in 2002 they had to sell the ground and agreed a £6m deal but agreed a £7m buy back clause in the future. This option was taken up in 2004 and once again owned the ground.
Redevelopments at Vicarage Road have been prominent for the last two years as improvements are made to the ground. The South-West corner has been the main focal point of this and when it is finished it will house the new dressing rooms and a new media centre. The East Stand will be the next subject of redevelopment and they hope all work will be completed by 2011.

Away fans are housed in the Vicarage Road end for this fixture. The stand holds 2,200 people and offers a great view of proceedings on the pitch. The concourses however are the tightest you will ever come across and will struggle to breath down there. There is a betting facility down there also.


The History between the teams.

At Watford (54)

Watford 21
QPR 22
Draw 12

Vicarage Road hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for Rangers. Since 1988 the R’s have once won once in eight attempts, the solitary win coming two seasons ago during the Christmas period with a fantastic display of football and ending up 4-2 victors.
In the last six meetings at Watford the home side have won five of the matches, with the outcome being either 3-0 or 3-1. This game promises goals and lets hope they end up in the right net as far as Rangers are concerned


How to get there.

By Car:- The post code for today is WD18 0ER.
There are many ways to enter Watford. Via the M1 you should come off at junction 5 and take the A4008 into Watford town centre. Via the M25 you should come off at junction 19 and get onto the A41 towards Watford and once again head towards the town centre. On reaching Watford you will be greeted by the inner ring road. For the easiest parking I would suggest the Church Street multi storey car park as it is open for 24hrs and will only cost you £2.50 for 4hours. The ground is a 5 minute walk from there.

By Train:- The overground station at Watford is the Watford Junction train station and is a 20 minute walk to the ground. You can catch the Metropolitan Line down to Watford High Street or alternatively walk for the 20minutes if you choose. The directions should you decide to take the walk are as follows. Leave the station & take main road straight opposite (Clarendon Road) all the way (over Ring Road at lights) up to the High Street. Turn left and go past Wetherspoons (Moon under Water) on your right and then take the first right after 100 yards into Market Street. Continue along again crossing Ring Road to T junction & then left at chip shop. Vicarage Road is the next right turn.
Watford High Street tube station is on the Metropolitan Line and is a short walk away from the ground. Come out of the tube station and take a left onto the High Street. A short way up the High Street is King Street on the left hand side, go up there and follow it up to the end of the road (Lady’s Close) turn right and this will lead you onto Vicarage Road. At the start of Vicarage Road take a left and then follow the road into the away end.

Pubs 'n' Grub.

With the ground being only a 5-10 minute walk from the High street you have a full array of food and drinking outlets to take advantage of. Everything you could possibly want is here and needs no build up.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

They Think It's All Over.... Not Just Yet...

QPR 1-1 Hull

The Promotion Champagne was once again put on ice yesterday as QPR were held at home by a determined Hull City at Loftus Road.

There were all sort of perms and if's and buts before the game, but overall, it was quite simple. QPR win and they go up and as Champions. But it was not to be as yet another late goal from Norwich at home to Derby, gave the Canaries the win that will take it into another week. Rangers, with a 6 point lead over 3rd, 5 over second, are all but there of course and just one point is needed to rubber stamp the title. But a few weeks ago, it looked like the R's would cross the finish line like a Formula One car, but instead are crossing like a winkle barge drifting by Southend Pier....

Earlier in the day, a what is, much divided gang these days, headed to the upstairs balcony in the Springbok for pre match drinks and chats. But as mentioned before, the regulations meant that the balcony was closed at 2pm, so instead of standing in what was a sweatbox, we made our way to the blue and white bar, where we were able to stand and soak up the sunshine whilst having a refreshing pint.

Onto the game and there were early half chances for both sides, but in the 9th minute, Loftus Road went literally beserk - Taarabt's clever ball set Routledge speeding ahead of the Hull defence and the winger cracked a right foot drive past the keeper and into the net. It was just what the expectant R's fans wanted and maybe settled the early nerves a bit. The rest of the first half was all Rangers with Heidar Helguson heading over and also forcing a fine save from Duke, and Clint Hill seeing an effort scrambled off the goal-line.

Hull, who don't forget, boast one of the best away records in the league and had everything to play for to get into a play off position, had to go for it and get back into the game - and they certainly did that. The Tigers closed Rangers down well in midfield and the chances were certainly afew as R's fans watched the clock tick down.

On 55 minutes, Taarabt sent a free kick just over, before Fitz Hall came to the R's rescue with a superb block tackle on Matt Fryat as the Hull striker was about to let fly. But the danger signs were certainly there for the R's. Taarabt again had a chance to seal it, but his powerful effort flew just wide.

Instead, Rangers were stunned with nine minutes remaining when substitute Amoo latched on to a hopeful ball over the top and crashed a superb 20-yarder past Kenny to level the scores. QPR substitute Patrick Agyemang did have a late chance to hit what would have been a glorious winner, but he overhit a lob when well placed to score, before Alejandro Faurlin's left-foot free-kick was quite superbly pushed away by Duke.

The final whistle then went and the R's fans poured onto the pitch thinking that a point was enough to secure our return to the Premier League. But the news soon started filtering through of Norwich's late, late winner and as mentioned, we are all but promoted, but nothing will now be confirmed until next week.

QPR: Kenny, Orr, Hill, Derry, Hall, Taarabt, Helguson (Agyemang 77), Faurlin, Gorkss, Routledge, Smith (Ephraim 68). Subs: Cerny, Buzsaky, Connolly, Hulse, Shittu.

Man of the Match - again, probably due to us being a tad deflated, there was no discussion after the game, so will go with my own personal choice this time, which was Fitz Hall.

As we descended on the British Queen after the game and still in the sunshine, it was obvious that many R's fans had arranged to stay out and party. But the best way I could summarise the feeling around Shepherds Bush after the result, is to state how our own Corporate Hoop described the events...

'It was like, pulling a bird with DD breasts, only to later find that'.... well, I will leave the rest to your imagination....

Come on You R'sssssssssssssssssss!!!!!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Dave Jones left feeling sheepish.

Today the R's faithful traveled to Cardiff hoping that the R's could secure three points that would mean that automatic promotion and gain sweet revenge for 2003. Could all our dreams come true in one day? We were about to find out.

The Lofty Heights gang were travelling in numbers once again with two car loads of us making our way to Wales. Jess, Sam, Luke and Iceman all jumped in with me and in Jenson's car was Lofty, PK and Lorna.
My party left at 8.45 and headed straight for a McDonald's for a nice greasy breakfast before hitting the M4 and Wales bound. Jenson's party left slightly later, albeit a tad hungover after a Jenson BBQ ran into the early hours.
After paying the £5.70 toll over the Severn Bridge we stopped at the first available services for a toilet break and then getting back on track and completing our final leg of the journey, getting stuck in traffic just as we were getting off the motorway and waiting just behind the four coach loads of R's fans that had left at 7.30am.
Having rolled up the away car park with an hour to spare before kick off, we had to park just outside of the caged area it had just filled up as we arrived. We waited around outside the ground and bumped into Nik, Gobi and Phill as me and Jess awaited the arrival of the second car as I had Lofty and Jenson's ticket. Luckily enough the gang rolled up to the ground with just under 10 minutes left before kick off.


Neil Warnock named an unchanged side after the team drew 0-0 against Derby on Monday.

From the very start the R's fans were in fine voice and singing loud and proud as we looked to gain our dream result.

Rangers' and Taarabt came out of the traps flying and Taarabt's opening effort only helped liven up an already excited R's following.
However on six minutes the opening blow was dealt..... by Cardiff.
Bothroyd had a first effort blocked from just outside the 18 yard box but his second was superbly curled into the far corner leaving Paddy Kenny with no chance whatsoever of reaching it as the ball hit the post and rustled into the back of the net.
Rangers' went up the other end and continued to pressure the Cardiff defence and were soon on level terms.
Taarabt's corner was only cleared as far as the magical Moroccan and he beautifully curled it over to the far post and found the top corner. Cue mental celebrations!!! The gang went crazy when the goal went in and there was plenty of love being shared amongst us all.
The game then went into deadlock as Cardiff used the exact same tactic as they had previously at Loftus Road, playing in behind Faurlin and off the shoulder of Matt Connolly and the tactic was creating plenty of trouble for Connolly and Gorkss.
It was a deep cross that was the undoing of the R's once more.
Bothroyd crossed from the left hand side and Connolly failed to attack the ball and ended up palming the ball into the path of Bellamy and he sliced his shot into the top corner from six yards out. 2-1 Cardiff.
Rangers' played out the rest of the half and geared themselves up for a Warnock pep talk at half time.


At half time the queues to get to the concourse were so long that it took a while for everyone to get downstairs and do their bits before arriving for the second half a few minutes late. The half time interval was hardly entertaining, would've been nice to see what was said in the BBC studio's.

Having stolen John's inflatable sheep as the half started, Sam and Jess examined the item and found a hole in the back of the sheep and begun to see how many fingers Sam could get up there. That was the entertainment for the opening five minutes of the half before they got bored and Jess instead just kept hold of the sheep and held it for the entire second half.
Cardiff again looked to trouble the R's with their traditional long ball over the top, which in fairness did trouble the R's for a short period but finally we sussed this out and nullified the attacks and the half grew. With this Rangers' started to find their feet and the passing game of ours slowly became more and more effective and the space across the pitch began to open up as Routledge and Taarabt started to work their magic.
With the introduction of Patrick Agyemang, with Tommy Smith making way, there was an imediate impact.
Routledge flicked the ball with the outside of his foot to Taarabt and the R's captain controlled the ball before wriggling free of his defender and then placed the ball into the bottom left corner past the despairing Bywater.
Rangers' piled the pressure on Cardiff after the goal and in the final minute they carved out a great opening.
Taarabt once again was the creator as he drilled a low cross to the back post where Heidar Helguson was arriving with the goal wide open to him....... and his effort dribbled wide and left R's fans wondering what could have been.


In fairness every R's fan would've taken a point at the start of the game, just as long as we didn't lose.
Defensively first half we were all over the place and just needed the confidence and composure to deal with the Cardiff game plan which consisted of balls being played over the top for Bothroyd and Bellamy to chase, once we figured that out and brought Fitz Hall on for Matt Connolly the R's looked like the only team likely to win the game.


Man of the Match today was a unanimous decision but we did have three candidates going into this one. Lorna pointed out Tommy Smith as an outstanding performer and with his hard work. Lofty voted for Bradley Orr, who had probably his best game for the R's to date and has been performing well over the last three or four games. However the majority vote went to the man that scored both goals and was always going to be a danger to the Cardiff backline, Adel Taarabt.

Cardiff City: Bywater, McNaughton, Whittingham, Bothroyd, McPhail, Burke (Emmanuel-Thomas 77), Keinan, Quinn, Olofinjana, Samuel, Bellamy (Chopra 88).

Subs: Heaton, Rae, Hudson, Blake, Matthews.

Goals: Bothroyd (6), Bellamy (35)

Bookings: Whittingham (33), Quinn (67)

QPR: Kenny, Orr, Hill, Derry, Taarabt, Helguson, Faurlin, Gorkss, Routledge, Connolly (Hall 81), Smith (Agyemang 70).

Subs: Cerny, Buzsaky, Hulse, Ephraim, Miller.

Goals: Taarabt (10 & 71)

Referee: Mr L Mason

Attendance: 26,058(2000 QPR)

Having now got home and seen Dave Jones' interview after the game and how Cardiff apparently "took us to the cleaners" I will politely say this to the miserable old git............... YOU'RE GONNA LOSE IN THE PLAY OFFS.........

U R'SSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

R's on the Road.............. To Cardiff City.

On Saturday Rangers' could seal their place in the Premier League if they beat a Cardiff City side that are in a rich vain of form and with a strong home record in their favour. The R's have the ideal opportunity to put Monday night's 0-0 draw with Derby behind them and give the club the result that the fans are desperate for as sweet revenge for THAT play off final in 2003.
Incidentally, when Neil Warnock took Sheffield United to the Premier League in 2006 it was a win against Cardiff, at Cardiff.......... will history repeat itself????
Nearly 2000 R's supporters travel to the game and many more watching at home as the game is Live on the BBC at lunchtime.

Here's a quick preview of what to expect ahead of Saturday's game.


The Stadium.

Current Capacity – 26,828

Having had Ninian Park as home for t 99 years the club embarked on their move across the road to their new home on the opening day of last season. Normal service was soon resumed as they left off, with a 4-0 thrashing of Scunthorpe United.
Since then only two goals have been conceded, both in the League Cup. Also they have never scored less than three in all competitive games at their new home, that was until their 1-0 defeat at home to Newcastle the previous Sunday.

The new stadium cost £48 million pounds to build and also has foundations set ready for expansion, if needed to, to become a 60,000 all seater stadium.
This design is very much a new style bowl, lacking with any distinctive features but the finish to the stadium is very clean and tidy.

R’s fans will be housed in the corner between the Ninian Stand and Grange Stand, so I would expect an exciting yet intimidating reception, that is of course if the atmosphere from Ninian Park has been carried across the road.


The History between the teams.

At Cardiff City (33)

Cardiff 16
Draw 8

Friday 17th November 2006 will always hold a place in Rangers hearts. The game was at Ninian Park and with the Sky cameras there one of our bright prospects enjoyed what was his finest moment, and all his last goal in the famous blue and white hoops. Yes you've guessed it, the day that Ray Jones scored a dramatic 88th minute winner for the Superhoops and secured what would prove to be a vital 3points in a relegation threatened season.
Rangers have enjoyed mixed fortunes at this ground in recent years having won 4, lost 2 and drawn 3 in the previous 9 meetings (not including the play off final) in South Wales, could this be another win on the board for the Superhoops?


How to get there.

By Car:- For those of you with the benefit of having sat nav the all important post code is CF11 8AZ

To avoid driving through the centre of Cardiff, leave the M4 at junction 33 and take the A4232 towards Cardiff/Barry. Keep on the A4232 towards Cardiff and then leave the dual carriageway at the B4267 exit, signposted 'Cardiff (Leckwith) Athletics Stadium'. Follow the signs for the stadium and after about half a mile you will see the Cardiff City Stadium over on your right.

By Train:- The closest train station to the ground is just around the corner and is called Ninian Park Halt station. This is a local line service only. You can catch trains for this from Cardiff Central. The ground is only five minutes’ walk away from the stadium.

Pubs 'n' Grub.

Most of the pubs near to the ground can be quite intimidating for away supporters and are not recommended. However there is the Lansdowne Hotel on Beda Road which is a ten minute walk away from the stadium.
There are no nearby restaurants or take aways nearby (from what I remember) so you may have to settle for a burger van or food inside the ground.
I haven’t got a list of food prices for inside the ground but I can inform you that it is £3 a pint inside the ground, a rare treat for a Cardiff visit.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Rangers Held by Battering Rams...

QPR 0-0 Derby

It was a frustrating night for R's fans on Monday night as QPR were held at home to a goal less draw by Derby in front of the Sky Cameres once more, but took another step to securing automatic promotion back to the Premier League.

I firstly, apologise for the lateness of this report as with so much going on for me away from QPR, this really is the first chance I have had to sit down at the laptop, again, I'm sorry. But, as always with a night game, it was difficult to catch up with the gang beforehand and I didn't personally see anyone until inside the ground. We were almost at full strength with the exception of Jenson who had taken a break in New York, running up HUGE bar bills, paying over the odds for steak sarnies and stalking Beyonce - the lucky bugger!!! California Hoop was also absent, well, until, a record breaking, 83rd minute until he made an appearance amid massive applause from the rest of us.

Onto the game itself and I think as mentioned, frustrating is the word that would best describe this one. Derby as always, came with a game plan and to a degree, it worked and everyones favourite, Robbie Savage, did his usual number on Adel Taarabt. Despite Adel having the better of things in the first half, Savage had the desired effect overall. Love or hate him, Savage is a player that I would love to see playing for the R's, he does his job, he winds people up and absolutely laps up the banter from the opposing supporters, of which he got plenty from the R's faithful, largely aimed at his hairstyle.

Wayne Routledge had probably the best chance of the game on 10 minutes, when he fired wide from close range after Faurlin's delicate lobbed ball put him through. On 17 minutes there was a moment of magic from Taarabt, when 25 yards out,attempted an audacious swerving effort that would have dipped under the crossbar, but Brad Jones's excellent save kept it out. Derby had a couple of chance of their own before the break, but had the best chance of a pretty flat second period - Jamie Ward raced past Bradley Orr and pulled back for Pearson, whose powerful shot from 12 yards was superbly saved by Paddy Kenny. The stop was even more impressive given that he had been largely a spectator for most of the game.

QPR: Kenny, Orr, Hill, Derry, Taarabt (Agyemang 71), Helguson (Hulse 86), Faurlin, Gorkss, Routledge (Miller 83), Connolly, Smith. Subs: Cerny, Buzsaky, Ephraim, Shittu.

Man of the Match: sadly for one reason or another, the gang all kind of went in different directions shortly after the match, leaving no real time for discussion, so will go with my personal choice and a player who is impressing more and more as the games go by - Tommy Smith

In summary, although the game and the result were disappointing, it is another point towards our goal and at the time of writing, we could all but be promoted if Norwich lose to deadly rivals Ipswich tomorrow night (Thursday).

But for now, it's all about Saturday where Lee could well be reporting on a momentous day for all of us. See you at Cardiff...

Come on You R'ssssssssssssss!!!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Nearly time to say Taa-ra to the Championship.

Tonight the R's faithful traveled to Barnsley hoping to recover from Saturday's 4-1 defeat at Scunthorpe, however it wasn't going to be easy as the R's opponents were Barnsley who at the weekend beat Bristol City 4-1 at Oakwell.
The Lofty Heights gang were once again in attendance with another strong following.

Once again we took two cars as Sam, Jess and Luke jumped into my car and in Jenson's motor were Lofty, Smithy and Callun.
With both parties hitting traffic on the M1 in Nottingham and then again in Mansfield, it didn't delay our arrivals as Jenson arrived in Barnsley first and went straight to a pub called 'The Mount'. An hour later my car rolled up to Oakwell and we all met up outside the turnstiles and made our way into a chilly Oakwell and had our usual pre-match chats before heading to our seats. On our travels Iceman joined us in the ground and Lorna joined Jenson and Lofty in the pub so we were in full force as kick off time arrived.

Three changes were made to the side that lost at Scunthorpe on Saturday. Adel Taarabt, Heidar Helguson and Matthew Connolly came in for Hogan Ephraim, Rob Hulse and Fitz Hall.

Rangers' came flying out of the traps and got a quick opening goal.
After good work by Routledge down the right he squared it to Taarabt and he went down the defenders left side and then hit a left footed shot across goal and into the bottom right hand corner.
Rangers' did continue to enjoy possession for the opening 10 minutes until Barnsley slowly begun to take control and it was Marlon Harewood who shot from distance forcing Paddy Kenny to spill his shot into the path of an oncoming Barnsley player but Kenny brilliantly saved the rebound with an instinctive save.
Rangers' continued to be on the back foot for the remainder of the half as Kaspars Gorkss put in a superb performance at the heart of the R's defence.

At half time the gang gathered on the concourse as I stayed in my seat to start of this report and give myself a rest from all the shouting I was doing at all the inept refereeing on show.

The second half continued as the first one finished as Barnsley kept the pressure on the R's.
An absolutely awful refereeing performance kept the R's fans on the edge of their seats and just praying that a decision from this poor excuse of a ref.
With no decisions going Rangers' way it was only going to be hard work and a solid defence that was going to win us this game. With Routledge running his little legs off, Helguson tirelessly working hard up front on his own, Derry battling away at the heart of midfield and Gorkss winning every header going. Add on the fact Paddy Kenny picked up some type of injury that meant he couldn't kick for the duration of the second half, meaning Bradley Orr was on goal kick duty, this was the type of gritty 1-0 wins that we have rarely seen this year and really went a way to proving that we have the kind of stuff champions are made of.

As I said earlier this really was a battling performance and had to overcome a lot of dodgy refereeing decisions as well as a well oiled Barnsley side that on a different night may of beaten us had they created more clear cut chances.

Tonight's Man of the Match for me was between two people. Kaspars Gorkss was immense in the back four and really did show how much we missed him on Saturday, however that is not enough to grab the award tonight as with the unanimous vote is Wayne Routledge. He worked until the very end and considering he is playing with an ankle injury and playing through the pain barrier, his performance was truely superb.

After the game there were plenty of hugs and manlove about the group as its more than likely that if we win on Monday night in front of the Sky cameras we will be promoted to the Premier League.

Barnsley: Steele, Butterfield, Foster, McShane, Trippier, Hill (McEveley 77), Harewood, Haynes, Gray (Noble-Lazarus 82), Shackell, Mellis (Clark 77).

Subs: Preece, Arismendi, Foster, O'Brien.

Bookings: Butterfield (19)

QPR: Kenny, Orr, Hill, Derry, Taarabt (Ephraim 69), Helguson, Faurlin, Gorkss, Routledge, Connolly, Smith.

Subs: Cerny, Buzsaky, Hulse, Miller, Shittu.

Goals: Taarabt (1)

Bookings: Taarabt (35)

Referee: Mr A Bates

Attendance: 11, 381

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Four-kin awful!

Today the R's faithful traveled to Scunthorpe in the first of two long trips up north in four days. The R's, looking for another win that would send them closer to the promised land, had a challenge in front of them as Scunthorpe introduced new manager Alan Knill to the home fans for the first time and you can be sure he was out to impress.

The Lofty Heights gang traveled in two cars for this game as Sam, Jess, Luke and Nik jumped into my car and in Jenson's car was Lofty. Iceman, Callun and Smithy took the train to sunny Scunny.
In my car we were entertained by some old cd's that me and Jess had unearthed during the week as the trio in the back drifted to sleep within half an hour of us leaving for our northern destination. Having enjoyed an extremely smooth drive and having plenty of discussion about bets on the game and on the Grand National, we arrived at quarter past one and made our way to the pub which was hiding away just behind McDonalds.
Iceman joined us 20 minutes later having walked from the station and then Lofty and Jenson soon followed before finally Callun and Lorna made their entrance to complete the group as we enjoyed a pre-match pint in the sun as we looked ahead of what we all thought would be another three points for the R's.

Just as we left the pub the team news was announced and there was a shock in the news.
Adel Taarabt missed out with a stomach strain as Heidar Helguson and Kaspars Gorkss surprisingly dropped to the bench. Hogan Ephraim, Rob Hulse and Danny Shittu were their replacements.

The R's came steaming out of the blocks and took control of the opening exchanges and created two great chances early on only for Hulse to fire over when under pressure and Ephraim dragging a shot wide after good work by the R's down the left hand side.
However on seven minutes the R's got the goal that was coming from the opening minute.
Routledge was released down the right hand side by Shaun Derry and Routledge's teasing cross was met and tucked into the near post by Rob Hulse. Great header although we needed to see the celebrations of the players to be certain that his header had gone in the back of the net.
The goal only encouraged the R's as they searched for more.
Rangers' nearly got a second goal a minute after the first. Ephraim crossed over to Routledge and in one movement the little winger attempted to lob Joe Murphy in the Scunny goal but he clawed the effort away from goal before being cleared to safety.
Soon after the R's broke away after a Scunthorpe corner was cleared and Faurlin played Routledge clear on goal with only Joe Murphy to beat but the keeper was more than up to the challenge as he superbly blocked Routledge's effort from close range.
Rangers' were soon cursing not taking their chances as Scunthorpe levelled.
O'Connor took a free kick from the left side of the Rangers' penalty area and he floated it in and Joe Garner was there unmarked and powered his header past Paddy Kenny at full stretch. Poor marking for the goal and it led to a few heated words in the camp.
The goal gave Scunthorpe the belief they have been lacking and a minute later they had the opportunity to make it 2-1. O'Connor took the free kick just outside the penalty area but failed to make the most of the opportunity.
The Iron continued to enjoy the majority of the creative play and the R's must've been glad for half time to come when it did.

At half time the gang all gathered behind the goal to discuss the proceedings of the first half. We expected there to be a bit of an arse kicking to be delivered to wake the troops up but we were highly expectant of the team to come out firing in the second half.

As the team took to the field for the second half there was one R's change.
Pascal Chimbonda replaced Danny Shittu and went to left back as Clint Hill moved in to the centre back position alongside Fitz Hall.
Scunthorpe begun the half as they finished and were in control, within two minutes they were in front.
Paddy Kenny failed to deal with a high and hopeful ball into the box and the ball fell to Joe Garner and his scuffed shot rolled into the back of the net and gave Scunthorpe a deserved lead.
Just before the hour mark things got even worse for the R's.
Rangers' failed to clear their lines and the ball fell to O'Connor and he volleyed from about 20 yards out into the top corner, leaving Paddy Kenny no chance! A fine goal and was well worthy of the applause that a few of the 1855 travelling fans gave to the strike.
With the R's in desperate need of goals a double change was made on 62 minutes. Patrick Agyemang and Ishmael Miller came on for Rob Hulse and Shaun Derry.
It looked as if the R's went 4-2-4 as Faurlin and Ephraim played centre midfield and the front four from right to left were Miller, Smith, Agyemang and Routledge.
The changes failed to inspire Rangers' as the frustration grew and the final nail in the coffin was delivered ten minutes from time.
Clint Hill tried to shepherd a ball into touch but Chris Dagnall stole the ball off him before squaring to Duffy and his shot was part blocked by Chimbonda but the ball trickled into the back of the net.
Game over.

It has to be said that for the opening 28 minutes there only looked like one winner but after conceding a sloppy equalizer Rangers' just couldn't seem to get going again.
There were a few shocking performances out there but you can't bemoan the players who did as they have been outstanding all season and to belittle them after one bad game would be extremely harsh. They know who they are and I'm sure they will go out on Tuesday at Barnsley full well knowing that they need to make up for it, lets just hope it happens.
It was nice to see Rob Hulse get himself on the score sheet again but the team are guilty of only playing long balls to him and this doesn't give the man much of a chance.
Hopefully on Tuesday we will see Gorkss return to the starting eleven with Heidar Helguson and lets hope Mr Taarabt is fit also.

Today's Man of the Match was a unanimous decision as Tommy Smith was pipped to the award by the lively Wayne Routledge.

Scunthorpe United: Murphy, Gordon, Togwell (Raynes 90), Nunez, O'Connor (Wright 84), Dagnall, Hughes, Nelson, Mirfin, Duffy, Garner (Miller 90).

Subs: Lillis, Collins, Nolan, Godden.

Goals: Garner (28 & 48), O'Connor (58), Duffy (79)

Bookings: O'Connor (77)

QPR: Kenny, Orr, Hill, Derry (Agyemang 62), Hall, Faurlin, Routledge, Hulse (Miller 61), Smith, Ephraim, Shittu (Chimbonda 46).

Subs: Cerny, Buzsaky, Gorkss, Vaagan Moen, Miller.

Goals: Hulse (7)

Bookings: Miller (75), Orr (82)

Attendance: 6, 061 (1855 QPR fans)

I will be back with a preview of the trip to Barnsley (providing I remember to post it) and the Barnsley report will be available from Wedsnesday next week.


Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Blades Cut by Rangers Rout...

QPR 3-0 Sheffield United

QPR maintained their nine point lead at the top of the Championship and moved ever closer to a deserved promotion, with a crushing 3-0 win over Sheffield United at Loftus Road last night.

For once, I had my sensible head on last night and chose not to write this report on arrival home last night, but perhaps I should have done, as the R's performance had me buzzing until the early hours. Due to the Sky Monday Night Coverage, the gang arrived in full strength, but in fits and starts. I was actually first to arrive and met Lee, who soon had to dash to meet Jess at the station, so I made my way inside, the rest of the gang soon followed, including Jenson who had made a late journey from Beaconsfield to Shepherds Bush in around 20 minutes!!

I suppose there is good and bad about writing the report a day late, as many of you by now would have read the papers, internet reports and seen the goals again on the TV, but in saying that, writing a report after a performance such as last night's would always be a pleasure, the R's, simply, played like Champions...

After a cagey opening, the R's began to get into their stride and Tommy Smith went close to getting his 100th career goal. A Faurlin effort flew just over the bar before Hill miscued his execution from a quite superb Taarabt low cross. 'We're gonna score in a minute' came from the Loft and on 29 minutes, the breakthrough was made - Faurlin found Helguson on the right, who's looping cross was met by Wayne Routledge who made no mistake from 12 yards out.

Bradley Orr then got in on the action and struck a cracker from 30 yards that flew just inches wide. The R's survived a weak penalty shout just before the break - Stephen Quinn went down under the challenge of Fitz Hall when tearing towards the goal, but the well placed referee waved away the half hearted appeal.

Into the second half and Bogdanovic fired well over when perhaps he should have done better. The Blades were made to pay on 52 minutes when Taarabt's corner was deflected into the path of the once again outstanding, Faurlin, who let rip with an 18 yard drive that flew into the bottom right hand corner - the party was then in full swing!

It was all Rangers now and true exhibition stuff. And on 66 minutes, goal number three arrived - a superb passing move from Faurlin, Smith and Helguson, who found Routledge free on the right to drill a fine low shot past Simonsen. As well as the Sky Sports Champagne, Routledge could have taken home the match ball but for a fine save low down from the Blades keeper. Another delightful team move, ended with Patrick Agyemang blazing his effort over the bar when every R's fan in the ground was willing him to score. There was a further chance when Ishmael Miller hit the side netting, before a late rally from Sheffield United ended fruitless for the visitors.

QPR: Kenny, Orr, Hill, Derry (Buzsaky 86), Hall, Taarabt (Agyemang 71), Helguson, Faurlin, Gorkss, Routledge, Smith (Miller 81). Subs: Cerny, Ephraim, Chimbonda, Shittu.

Man of the Match - this is seriously getting to the point, where there could easily be a QPR Man of the Match, apart from Ajejandro Faurlin - another superb display from the Argentinian Midfielder!!!

I don't think I have seen so many smiles on exiting Loftus Road for some time now and I really don't know how best to summarise the result and performance apart from one word - CHAMPION!!

On a slightly sour note, the F.A. today announced that hearing relating to the transfer of Alejandro Faurlin, will take place on May 3rd with a decision coming on the 6th May. The day before the home match versus Leeds United. In order not to spoil the report of a glorious night of football, I will refrain from making any comments at this time...

Lofty Heights will be at Scunthorpe this coming Saturday and Lee will return with another legendary awayday report, no doubt. But in the meantime, COME ON YOU R'sssssssssssssss!!!!!!