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, November 26, 2011

Can Holt be any more annoying?

Today the R's travelled to Norwich in search of a second away win on the spin. Could we beat our fellow promoted side or would we carry on our terrible record at Carrow Road.
The Lofty Heights gang were there as always.

The journey started at 10.40 in a cold Henley as we took to the road and had the three hour journey ahead of us.
The most exciting part of the drive, apart from the three pitstops we made, was as we approached Snetterton Race Track and a pheasant run out into the middle of the road, upon realising that it would not reach the other side it decided to run back but before it could make it back there I was going at 80mph to make the tackle and create a mass pile of feathers and a lovely dinner for any roadkill lovers. In my defence I had no-where else to go as a car was alongside me, the pheasant had to go.
Also on our journey, Sam sent all of us a picture of her beautiful newborn twins Noah and Louie. Congratulations Sam and we can't wait to have you back on the road with us asap.
We arrived in Norwich just before two and made our way on the ten minute walk down the Carrow Road.
We met Lofty, Jenson and Trevor at 2.30 and promptly made our way into the ground, grabbing a quick word with Michael and also Matt before we went on the uphill trek to the back of the Jarrold Stand.

Rangers' were rocked with the news that Paddy Kenny is now going to be missing for eight weeks due to a calf injury. Radek Cerny, the R's third choice goalkeeper, made his first start of the season.
Joey Barton missed out through suspension, his replacement was Shaun Derry.
These were the only two changes from last weeks starting eleven.


One word can sum up the first half, rubbish.
The game had 0-0 written all over it until Russell Marton popped up to put the ball home after the R's failed to clear Norwich's corner from the left side.
The R's lacked movement and urgency throughout the half but in all fairness Norwich really did not do anything to take advantage of that.

At half time the group gathered downstairs and all shared the same views that Rangers' were poor and we needed a creative touch to link up the midfield and front line because it just wasn't happening for us.

The R's took to the field in the second half with an air of authority and started the half the more positive of the two teams.
Rangers had a stonewall penalty turned away when Shaun Wright-Phillips was pulled down in the area not once but twice as he attempted to turn and get away his shot, which eventually dribbled a mile wide of the target. How this was not given I do not know! Maybe pay back for getting away with a definite penalty that should have been given for Stoke last week?
On 57 minutes Jay Bothroyd entered the fray, replacing Clint Hill.
This meant Armand Traore returned to his usual position of left back, Wright-Phillips went to the left wing and Bothroyd joined Helguson up front.
Within two minutes the change produced a goal.
Bothroyd flicked the ball onto Mackie and the Scottish International charged at the Norwich defence before unleashing a low drive that evaded the outstretched Ruddy, only to see the ball cannon off the inside of the post and back into play where Luke Young was on hand to coolly stroke the ball home. Such a composed finish by the right back for his second goal in two games.
Rangers' were in the ascendancy and there only looked like one side where going to get the next goal, however that was not to be!
Grant Holt and Wes Hoolahan were introduced to spice things up for Norwich and within a minute there was an earthquake in Norwich............Grant Holt hit the deck when he wasn't even touched.
Seconds later Morison somehow danced through the R's defence with incredible ease and lofted a cross to the unmarked Grant Holt and he thought he'd put the hosts in front, however Luke Young was on hand to clear off the line and keep the scores level.
Just a minute later and Norwich once again found so much space on the right hand side and Hoolahan's cross was met by Grant Holt, who bundled the ball in off his belly. Having said that Holt did sneak inbetween Ferdinand and Gabbidon to put the ball away. Cerny could've quite easily claimed the ball on his six yard line, all round poor marking by our defence.
Rangers' went on to make two further changes with Buzsaky and Smith coming on for Derry and Wright-Phillips.
The R's continued to be the more dominant side and had a whole host of chances to draw level with Buzsaky and Faurlin skying their efforts and Helguson missed the best chance of the lot when he headed wide from a few yards out at the back post.


This is a game we could easily of won had we played better in the first half and defended better for both the Norwich goals.
Bothroyd made a great difference when he came on and linked up the midfield and front line superbly. This enabled Mackie to have more of an influence on the game and we created our best chances when that substitution was made.
Luke Young has to be singled out once again for a great goal when he found himself in a position you really would not expect him to be in. He attacked the right wing with Mackie and created all sorts of trouble for Norwich. Not only that, he defensively played well and cleared one off the line when it seems a certainty that Holt would make it 2-1.

We move onto Man of the Match. Jay Bothroyd received one vote from myself for his contribution and movement that gave us added impetus throughout the second half when he was on the pitch. One vote went to Luke Young, Jess nominated him for all of the reasons given above and also for the second week in a row she won £18 for placing an each way bet on Young to score, is this the way forwards?
However with four votes this weeks Man of the Match award goes to Jamie Mackie. His work rate and the way he constantly harassed the Norwich defence just epitomised what he is all about. He was unlucky not to score but can claim the assist to our equaliser today.

Norwich City: Ruddy, R. Martin, Johnson, Morison, Crofts, Jackson (Holt 70), Surman, Pilkington (Hoolahan 70), Barnett, Tierney, De Laet (Naughton 58).

Subs: Rudd, Fox, Bennett, Wilbraham.

Goals: Martin (15), Holt (73)

Bookings: Naughton (87)

QPR: Cerny, Hill (Bothroyd 57), Derry (Buzsaky 78), Gabbidon, Faurlin, Mackie, Traore, Young, Helguson, Wright-Phillips, Ferdinand.

Subs: Putnins, Orr, Hall, Puncheon.

Goals: Young (59)

Referee: Mr M Clattenburg

Attendance: 26,781

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Helguson Drives Stoke Potty.

Today the R's got back on the road after the International break and faced a tricky trip to Stoke. Stoke were coming back after a heavy 5-0 defeat at Bolton last time around, whereas Rangers' were returning after a fantastic couple of performances against Chelsea, Spurs and Man City. A fantastic game was in prospect and the Lofty Heights gang took to the road in full force.

Jenson, along with Lofty and Smithy took to the road at roughly the same time as Jess, PK, Luke and myself as we headed north to the Potteries.
Just 35 minutes into the journey up the M40, Jenson's unmistakable Black car was whizzing up behind my car at about 130mph, I took evasive action and promptly got out of his way before taking my place in the following car as Jenson lead the way on what was a smooth journey for the remainder of the M40, M42 and M6 before arriving at the Britannia Stadium just before 2pm.
On the short walk to the ground we all checked on the progress on Lofty's Movember 'handlebar'tache, its all for a good cause and he has raised over £500 for charity, great work by Lofty!
After a quick burger outside the ground we made our way in and picked up a few more refreshments, it was a rare occasion that no-one from the gang enjoyed a light alcoholic refreshment. A few cheeky bets were placed as we all shared views with Michael and Debbie before Iceman made his entrance in the Britannia and enlightened us with his usual light humour. Richard and Sophie were the last of the gang to arrive before we all took our seats ahead of kick off.

When we received the team news there were a few shocks that arose, both of which were unexpected.
Jay Bothroyd missed out through injury, Clint Hill was his replacement. Due to this change Armand Traore took his place at left wing and Shaun Wright-Phillips supported Heidar Helguson up front.
Also, in the warm up the R's were rocked as Brian Murphy picked up an ankle injury and was stretched off the field, leaving the R's with no substitute goalkeeper for this fixture.


As the game started the Britannia erupted into their usual rendition of 'Delilah'. I must say it was very impressive and the atmosphere on the back of this made for what could've been an intimidating day in Stoke.
After eight minutes the R's found themselves a goal behind after a nervy start to the game.
Joey Barton was dispossessed in midfield by former R's striker Peter Crouch. Crouch then played a perfect through ball to Jonathan Walters and the former Ipswich striker placed his shot beautifully into the opposite bottom corner, with Paddy Kenny having no chance of reaching the shot.
Walters run off to the far corner to celebrate with the Stoke fans with his rather impressive Movemeber 'handlebar' tache that he has grown.
Stoke were having the better of the exchanges but the R's were slowly beginning to get a hold of the game and on the 22nd minute the balance of power evened out.
Armand Traore put in a perfectly flighted ball into the penalty area and the giant 5ft 10 Heidar Helguson expertly rose and put a bullet header into the top corner of the net! You wont see a better header for quite some time!
This settled Rangers' and the smart pass and move flowing football that we are becoming used to under Neil Warnock.
the R's kept pushing and probing Stoke's defence and got their just rewards a minute before the break.
Mackie and Wright-Phillips played a great one-two with each other which let Mackie free and he drove into the Stoke penalty area with a seemingly great opportunity to shoot and force a save out of Sorensen in the Stoke goal, instead Mackie unselfishly cut the ball back to the advancing Luke Young and his shot hit the roof of the net!
Cue the mad celebration from all the R's fans, especially Jess! Jess placed an each way bet on Young to score first at 50/1, hence why she was ecstatic to see her favourite player, marginally behind Paddy Kenny, score his first goal for the R's.


Rangers' entered the half time interval worthy of their 2-1 lead and the 1,300 travelling support went into the break extremely with how the half went and looking forward to a second half of a similar kind of outcome.
Just before we returned to our seats we had a quick catch up with Jo(who had missed the R's second goal) and Matt and then got to our seats two minutes into the half.

Rangers' started the half just as they finished the first and within nine minutes of the restart a third goal arrived.
Barton's corner was cleared but only as far as the R's captain and Barton's left wing cross was gratefully received by Helguson, who in turn poked home his second goal of the game.
Four minutes later Helguson thought he had grabbed a hat-trick. Young's shot was blocked and fell into the path of Wright-Phillips and his shot hit the post before Helguson tapped home the rebound. Unfortunately for the Iceland International he was adjudged to be offside.
By now the Stoke fans were extremely riled by a refereeing performance that in all fairness was very poor but this was clearly affecting the team, Tony Pulis was moaning about everything including time wasting, despite at one point his own player taking an extended amount of time over a free kick.
Stoke grabbed a second goal on 64 minutes.
Etherington's corner was met by Crouch and Shawcross was on hand to apply the finishing touch from a yard out.
From that moment on Stoke huffed and puffed, moaned and groaned but just could not break the R's defence despite creating some good chances in what was a nail biting final ten minutes.


The final result was well deserved as the R's controlled two thirds of the match, with Stoke enjoying a good 20 minute spell at the start and the end of this fixture.
The concentration and quality of the R's play was a joy to watch at times and you can really see this team gelling and maturing with every game. Paddy Kenny only had one save to make all game and the only other contributions from Kenny were clearances and picking the ball out of the net twice.
Helguson was immense up front, with Traore unplayable down the left wing and causing all sorts of trouble for the Stoke defence. Mackie's work rate was also second to none and it will only be a matter of time before he returns to the scoresheet for the R's.

We make our way onto Man of the Match now. We have several nominations for this one today. Jess has put forward Luke Young for a great display and goal before being off due to injury. Mackie and Barton were superb, they worked and battled throughout the whole ninety minutes.
Heidar Helguson was superb once again and was deserving of his two goals, the header was an absolute peach!
However our Man of the Match today is a unanimous decision in the camp with Alejandro Faurlin claiming the title with an fantastic controlling performance in the R's midfield. Faurlin has really matured and is enjoying life in the Premier League and is controlling the R's midfield in a Xavi like way, Faurlin rarely gives the ball away and is always at the heart out most of the R's play. What a brilliant player!

After queuing for about half an hour to get out of the car park, we finally got on the road and had a really easy drive home. Both cars arrived home safely at their destinations at 7.45 this evening.

Bring on the next trip to Norwich next Saturday!!

U R'SSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Rangers and City Light The Fuse for Fireworks at Loftus Road...

QPR 2-3 Man City

League Leaders, Man City's unbeaten start to the season continued, but they were pushed all the way by a superb performance, full of heart, passion and desire from QPR and edged a thrilling encounter at Loftus Road this evening.

I have to be honest, out of our last 3 games, this was the one I dreaded the most. Make no mistake, Multi Million Pound Man City are an awesome team and formidable opposition as many teams have found out already this season with City also, averaging 4 goals per game. I think even the most optimistic of R's fans could see nothing but a heavy defeat this evening. The views were also shared by the gang that assembled at the Springbok, including friends of Jenson, Mark and Greg. At this point, may I just thank everyone who generously sponsored me in my efforts to grow a moustache for the very worthy, 'Movember' Charity. As you could see, there was not much on display today after just 5 days growth, but I am fully expecting some mickey taking come the Stoke away game in 2 weeks time.

Onto the game and Rangers started superbly. Playing in the same 4-4-2 formation that gave Spurs so many problems in the second half last week, Rangers attacked from the off and showed no fear of their high flying opponents. There were half chances for Helguson, before Anton Ferdinand perhaps should have done better from Helguson's superb header across the face of goal.

Rangers were deservedly ahead on 28 minutes, after a dubious free kick decision went our way, Joey Barton delivered a pin point cross onto the head of Jay Bothroyd that gave Hart no chance in the City goal - cue massive celebrations in 3 sides of the ground and also led to a moment I will never forget at football. After the initial goal celebrations, myself, Jenson, Mark, PK, Corp and Lee all turned around to face the other way, put our arms around eachothers shoulders and bounced up and down -doing the Poznan - a celebration that Man City fans have adopted following their Europa League tie with Lech Poznan a couple of seasons ago. Great fun and a light hearted dig at the Man City fans after taking the lead. Minutes later, thousands of others in had joined us and was a great sight to see.

Everyone thought this would prompt a response from City but it was Rangers that continued to attack - Joe Hart saved Jamie Mackie's long range shot and Helguson's headed follow up - although the latter was offside - before Bothroyd hit the post with another header.

But these missed chances proved costly as City drew level 2 minutes before the break - Milner found Dzeko, who cut inside, remained patient, before firing a low drive into the corner of the net. Unfortunately, we now were seeing the Poznan in full effect from City's fans. But during the interval, R's fans were buzzing about the game as a whole and just how well the team were playing.

Rangers started the second half brightly with Barton forcing a decent save from Joe Hart. But it was City that made the second half breakthrough - City broke like lightning and Dzeko's low ball into the centre, found Silva who's superb first touch took him past two R's defenders, before lashing the ball home.

Dzeko and Aguero both had great chances as City looked to put the game to bed. But on 69 minutes, it was the R's fans that were celebrating once more - Traore's low cross was miscued by Savic into the path of Bothroyd, who's goalbound bullet header was helped on it's way by Helguson on the goal line, as the ball hit the back of his head and flew in.

Sadly, just 5 minutes later, Yaya Toure put City back in front, beating Anton Ferdinand to Kolarov's dangerous ball in.

Despite the setback, Rangers still refused to lie down and were almost level again on 82 minutes - Barton's free kick was met by a great leap from Helguson, who saw his header come back of the bar and cleared to safety. Rangers continued to press in the final stages and it was a great compliment, that Mancini sacrificed a striker for a defender as Toure came on to help City stand firm and hold on for the 3 points.

QPR: Kenny, Gabbidon, Bothroyd (Puncheon 77), Faurlin, Mackie (Smith 84), Traore (Hill 90), Barton, Young, Helguson, Wright-Phillips, Ferdinand. Subs: Murphy, Orr, Derry, Andrade.

Man of the Match - Unanimous in the end but not without plenty of contenders. I opted for Anton Ferdinand, Mark chose Joey Barton with Jenson going for Shaun Wright-Phillips. Jess's choice was Heidar Helguson and to be honest, you couldn't argue with any of the above. But with 3 votes from Lee, PK and Corp,this weeks award goes to Ali Faurlin, who absolutely bossed the midfield!!

I could try and summarise this game in depth but would still be writing at this time tomorrow. It was a sensational game of football, the best I have seen this season and despite defeat, Rangers best performance of the season and dare I say, we look so much more like a team when Adel Taarabt doesn't play. That of course is open for discussion. As already mentioned, Man City are an awesome side but we more than matched them, their extensive firepower the only difference between the sides.

This performance led to Rangers gaining some much deserved credit. Man City striker, Edin Dzeko stated after the game on ESPN :

"I must say, they are the best team we have played against this season and I want to pay compliments to Queens Park Rangers."

Also, on tonight's Match of the Day, Alan Hansen said in his summary of the game:

'I feel sorry for QPR, because they were brilliant!!'

Finally, due to the lack of TV camera action today, Jenson turned his attention to radio and had a brief chat with Stan Collymore on Talksport after the game.

Lee will return in 2 weeks time as we travel to Stoke but in the mean time...


And Come on You R'sssssssssssssssssss!!!!