A Corporate View of a R'Effing Disgrace...
QPR 1-2 Norwich
A much labelled, 'must win' game for QPR, ended in defeat as Norwich took all 3 points in a mixed game for R's skipper, Joey Barton.
It was a very different day of watching the R's for me today. Jenson, had won a competition from Apex Rentals, via Twitter, of 2 x VIP Box tickets for today's game and I was lucky enough to be chosen as his guest. So myself and Jenson met up at 1pm and took our place in Box Number 10 to meet the Apex staff and other guests, in what was just about the best Executive Box in the Stadium, right on the half way line. Unfortunately it meant we didn't see the rest of the gang today, although we were constantly in touch via text etc.
Former Rangers Centre Back, Steve Wicks then came into the box to say hello and I must say, what a lovely guy he is and very much, a Ranger! He discussed the old days and the new, along with his thoughts on future signings, more on that later. Also joining us for the game, was Marc Bircham who was accompanied by his two sons. I also must say, what a top, top guy he is too. We were then treated to a superb four course meal of butternut and apple soup, peppercorn steak, rhubarb crumble and cheese and biscuits. The mini half time pies served up were also, to die for!!
Putting all this excellent hospitality aside, there was also a very important game going on and after a shaky start, the R's were ahead on 11 minutes - Barton fired a low shot past Ruddy after some neat play between Alejandro Faurlin and Clint Hill down the left side and all was going to plan, until the 36th minute. As Rangers were moving forward after clearing a Norwich corner, Barton tangled with Whitbread on the half way line and the pair of them flung arms at eachother, then Bradley Johnson got involved by deliberately sticking out a leg to catch Barton with the intent to wind him up. Barton responded by going face to face with Johnson, who moved his head back implying he had been butted. By this time, Paul Lambert was throwing a proper hissy fit in the dugout as the play went on... Bennett then needlessly tripped Barton to stop the play. A melee followed, Neil Swarbrick discussed the issue with the Max Branning lookalike linesman, neither of whom had stopped the play or flagged leading up to Bennett's trip - the result, a red card for Joey Barton.
To me and no doubt QPR supporters as a whole, the fact that the referee nor linesman not flagging any initial incident at the time speaks volumes. If indeed it was a sending off offence that the referee saw, he would have stopped the game immediately surely, not give the team of the offending player the advantage to carry on attacking?? This in my opinion, was pure guess work and intimidation from the players and officials from Norwich - as referee's throughout the leagues keep stating, if they are not sure, they can't give it? Needless to say, Bennett's cynical trip on Barton went completely unpunished.
So Barton was dismissed and three minutes before the break, Norwich equalised - Pilkington's left-footed shot nestled in the corner with Paddy Kenny well beaten - a great finish it has to be said.
Onto the second half and Wright-Phillips replaced the unusually quiet, Jamie Mackie and it almost brought instant reward as he tested Ruddy with a low drive. Adel Taarabt then forced a fine save from the Norwich keeper, who pushed his free kick onto the post - just how unluicky has Taarabt been with the post this season?
With Rangers holding Norwich in midfield and slowly gaining the upper hand, Norwich threw on 3 subs, Fox, Hoolahan and Morison and went 3-4-3 as they went for the win. Rangers responded by throwing on new signing, Macheda for the last ten minutes, replacing Helguson and had we had a bit more luck, he could well have scored with his first touch as Ruddy only just beat him in the air to Wright-Phillips cross.
But on 83 minutes, disaster struck as substitute, Steve Morison smashed home from close range unchallenged.
QPR: Kenny, Hill, Derry, Gabbidon, Taarabt (Campbell 85), Faurlin, Mackie (Wright-Phillips 46), Barton, Young, Helguson (Macheda 80), Ferdinand. Subs: Cerny, Orr, Connolly, Hulse, Macheda.
Man of the Match - just 2 contenders tonight but a storming winner - myself and Jenson went for Anton Ferdinand, but Lee, Sam, Luke, Corp, Jess and PK, all went for Adel Taarabt who is today's winner!
Make no mistake, this was the worst possible result for us today and I am sure all R's fans, like me, are gutted. No one said the Premier League was going to be easy, but whoever plays for you and however good you are, you cannot beat the referee. Neil Swarbrick was diabolical today and his linesman no better. Heidar Helguson was kicked, pushed, had his shirt tugged, you name it, he received it and what did he get from Swarbrick? - Absolutely nothing!! I went into great detail with the Barton incident but he got just about every other decision wrong. It didn't help that the 4th official, Phil Dowd had Paul Lambert moaning and whineing in his earhole all afternoon, I know this as it was right under my own nose. It also doesn't help when you get players like Grant Holt, who has enough bulk on him to cope with most, hitting the floor with the slightest of touches.
In summary, it was a sour end to what was a great day out. After some interesting chats with the likes of, Steve Wicks, I can also reveal that 2 of Neil Warnock's targets are Darren Gibson and Christopher Samba... fingers crossed.
It's a break from the Premier League next weekend as R's, followed by 6,000 plus supporters, travel to MK Dons. Lofty Heights will be well represented and Lee will return with one of his entertaining awayday reports...
Thank you once again to Jenson and Apex Rentals for a superb day's hospitality!!
Finally, it seems a bit odd me saying this after today, but all of us here at Lofty Heights would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year!!
Come on you R'ssssssssssssssss!!!