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, March 31, 2012

It's Samba Time as Hope is Restored...

QPR 2-1 Arsenal

QPR denied in form Arsenal their eight consecutive Premier League victory, as goals from Adel Taarabt and Samba Diakete, gave the R's a vital victory in what was one of their best performances of the season so far...

With Jenson extending his stay in Cyprus, I first met with PK and Corp before the game and enjoyed a pint or two in the Blue and White bar. Lee, Jess and Sam had arrived early and had, what could be now, a lucky pre match Nandos. They did so before the Liverpool game and it turned into a lucky omen. Guys, I have booked you a table at 6pm ahead of the Swansea game on the 11th ;)

California Hoop and Luke arrived at last knockings and we made our way to our seats in good time to see the teams take the field. When they did, the normal Premier League precession and handshakes took place, before what I have never seen before at a QPR home game. From the handshake, the Arsenal team proceeded to line up in the centre circle and wave at the crowd?? What on earth is all that about?? I mean, how arrogant and smug could a team be??

Onto the game and from the start, Rangers were straight into Arsenal's faces, a tactic that has proved their undoing in the past and we certainly were not overwhelmed by our in form opponents. The first R's chance of note came from Taarabt's free kick, which was headed over by Bobby Zamora. The positive start had certainly fired up the home crowd and Loftus Road was rocking!

On 22 minutes, Rangers good start was rewarded with a goal and a fine goal it was too - Adel Taarabt picked up Hill's pass, beat Vermaelen with some fancy footwork and wrapped a low curling shot round Szczesny for what was surpirsingly, his first goal of the season.

The goal seemed to liven up the Gunners, who had lots of possession, but Rangers were holding firm at the back. But on 37 minutes and almost out of nowhere, came an equaliser - Walcott's initial effort beat Paddy Kenny, rebounded off the post and at his second attempt, the player who PK amusingly referred to as an 'overated tart', smashed the rebound home. Despite the setback, the team left the field at half time to a standing ovation from the home crowd.

Onto the second half and Arsenal had the first chance, but Kieran Gibbs headed tamely wide. Jamie Mackie was denied a penalty, when chasing a long ball, was bundled over by Laurent Koscielny, but Mike Dean wasn't at all interested. Robin Van Persie then went through on goal but was denied by a superb save from Paddy Kenny.

Just as Arsenal were starting to get on top, Rangers again made the breakthrough on 66 minutes - Barton clipped a ball forward and Jamie Mackie was rewarded for his perseverance, when Koscielny lost his footing, he cut the ball back for Samba Diakete to smash the ball into the top corner and Loftus Road again, went absolutely beserk.

Arsenal then threw on Chamakh and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, but Rangers continued to hold firm and could well have extended the lead, had Joey Barton's effort not been superbly saved by Szczesny. The Arsenal stopper also came forward for a late corner as the Gunners tried to throw everything at us in stoppage time, but the final whistle soon followed to bring the R's another fantastic home win and three crucial points.

QPR: Kenny, Diakite, Hill, Derry, Taarabt, Mackie, Barton, Taiwo, Ferdinand, Onuoha, Zamora (Wright-Phillips 90) Subs not used: Cerny, Gabbidon, Campbell, Bothroyd, Buzsaky, Young.

Man of the Match - as you could imagine, lots of contenders for this and they all could have been well justified. But here at LH, we do a simple vote system and it went with myself going for Samba Diakete, Jess voting for Taye Taiwo, Lee opting for the impressive Adel Taarabt and Corp going for Jamie Mackie. Luke had to dash off to a Charity function soon after the game so didn't vote this time, but votes from Sam, PK, Jointy and California Hoop, today's award goes to SHAUN DERRY!! Other mentions must go to Clint Hill once more for another solid display with Anton Ferdinand at the back, and Captain, Joey Barton, who from being dropped last week, came back to produce his finest performance to date in an R's shirt, long may it continue. Bobby Zamora(which incidentally, was a late vote from Luke who texted in) also, led the line superbly up front on his own.

In summary, I personally thought that was Rangers best performance of the season and after the doom and gloom of the Sunderland outing, hopes have been lifted once more. As mentioned on more than one occasion, the run in looks horrendous, but as already proved, the big teams certainly bring the best out of the Rangers. It certainly isn't over yet...

Lee will return next Sunday as we travel North to outplay and secure a vital victory against the current Champions and League Leaders, Manchester United. Carlberg don't do match reports...

Come on You R'sssssssssss!!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Silly Cisse puts the first nail in the R's coffin

Today the R's travelled to Sunderland in great spirits after the superb comeback against Liverpool in midweek.
A depleted Lofty Heights gang hit the road hoping for a decent away day.

In my car today were Jess, Sam, Luke and PK and we had an early wake up call ahead of the four hour journey ahead of us. Unfortunately Lofty missed out due to family commitment, his first absence of the season. Jenson did not make the trip as he did not have enough company to take with him.
We left a bright and sunny Henley at 8.30 and made our way towards Sunderland. It didn't take long for Luke to do his usual passing out act and was asleep within twenty minutes and was soon followed by PK and then Sam as I continued to bop along to my music as Jess sat quietly enjoying a DVD in the back.
We reached the services just north of Nottingham nearly two hours into the journey and enjoyed a quick tea/coffee/hot chocolate and slowly woke up as we made the second half of the journey.
As we approached the final hour of the journey the gang chose to challenge ourselves to a geography test and see if Sam and Luke could locate football teams in the country correctly. A lot was learnt from this, Sam thought the sea was only abroad and that seasides are only down south....... Sam was very much in form on the entertainment front!
We arrived in Sunderland at 1.30 and made our way to the Colliers pub right by the ground. The pub was really friendly and we were talking to a few really friendly Sunderland supporters as we enjoyed a few cheap beers.
As the teams were announced the Sunderland fans were dismayed at the team selection as we saw their reaction to everything our optimism grew as we looked forward to kick off.
A Joey Barton tweet "All time low.........2 ways out. 1.Work hard 2.Worker harder" gave us all the clues that he was dropped.

With Barton being dropped it made way for Jamie Mackie to come in and take his place as the team that finished the game on Wednesday started the game today.

The game started slowly and it was clear that Sunderland were there for the taking if we had the heart and desire to succeed in this fixture today.
In a lacklustre first half the R's rarely troubled the Black Cats defence as we looked shaky.
Our weakest areas looked to be out wide with our full backs being good in an attacking sense but not defensively as they were massively exposed due to Mackie and Taarabt cutting inside and leaving their wide positions free and often a two on one situation for Young and Taiwo to deal with.
Anyway enough of my dribbling on, Sunderland took a deserved lead on 41 minutes when Bendtner headed home a McClean cross from the left hand side when he should've been closed down a lot quicker by Luke Young.

We went into half time feeling slightly deflated as the performance out there was not inspiring at all. After having seen that both Bolton and Wigan were winning, it was even more vital that we took the second half by the scruff of the neck.

We slowly looked as if we could force our way back into the game but a moment of madness saw the R's reduced to 10 men, once again! Cisse threw himself into a challenge two footed and rightly saw red for the tackle. That will mean that Cisse will now miss the next FOUR games! That is also Cisse's second red card in 5 games, our most important player just cannot seem to keep his head when we need him the most!
From this moment there was only going to be one winner.
In the 70th minute McClean made it 2-0 when his initial shot was blocked but his second shot deflected past a helpless Paddy Kenny and dribbled into the bottom corner.
Six minutes later Sessegnon made it three as some truly woeful defending allowed McClean to slide in Sessegnon who was completely unmarked and tapped home to really put the shine on Sunderland's victory.
On the 79th minute the travelling fans had a little to celebrate as Taiwo expertly curled in a free kick into the top right hand corner, consolation goal and that was all she wrote.

Rangers' were extremely poor today and really lacked any urgency and desire to chase and win the game. I hate to say it but it was a performance of a side that looked destined for relegation. Defensively we are awful and look incapable of keeping clean sheets, with the upcoming fixtures we need to keep clean sheets in order to stand a chance of getting anything out of the game. Now we have to contend with Cisse being out for another four games due to him being an idiot and making such a dangerous challenge at a time when we were looking to chase a game that we had every chance of taking something from.
Fair play to Sunderland however, despite missing key players like Wes Brown, Seb Larsson, Lee Cattermole and Kieron Richardson and then having to dealt with the blow of losing John O'Shea just 20minutes into the game, this makeshift Sunderland side really did make us look awful. In Martin O'Neill Sunderland have a fantastic manager that has the character to drive Sunderland to bigger and better things next season, personally I'd love to have a manager like him in and around our club, the enthusiasm just captures everyone.

On to Man of the Match. We had three nominations for this today. The first one goes to Sam, her entertainment levels were unparallel to anything else today and with her arguing with a fan in the stand over Cisse's indiscipline meant that Jointy and Perry had to be alert to Sam leaping into action after being told to shut up.
The second vote has gone to beer, beer before the game made everyone feel happy and everything seemed so good with it, when the football got in the way we hit reality with a fierce bump.
Our actual Man of the Match has been awarded to Shaun Derry. Derry was solid and looked like he wanted it the most out of all the R's players.

We are currently on the way home as PK is behind the wheel as we leave Leeds and nearly three hours from home.

Well will keep the faith going into next weeks home fixture with Arsenal as Lofty returns with another of his legendary reports.

U R'SSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

They Thought It Was All Over....

QPR 3-2 Liverpool

Well, it's nearly 24 hours after the event and I still haven't got my breath back. If you don't already know, QPR staged an sensational comeback - coming back from 2 down to win 3-2 in what was an amazing evening at Loftus Road.

To be honest, I still really don't know where to begin with this report, but I will endeavour to start from the beginning, of which I was caught up in so much traffic, I was considering giving up and turning the car around. But I arrived with ten minutes to spare so couldn't catch up with the gang until inside the ground.

Even later than me, were PK and Corp, who like myself, were stuck in traffic, so we filled them in on what they had missed in the 12 minutes and that if we were 3 down, no one could complain. Liverpool were bombarding the Rangers goal, playing some superb passing football along the way and we were certainly riding our luck. But as time went on, the R's were slowly getting back into the game and we thought we had taken the lead when a Cisse thunderbolt rippled the back of the net, only for us to find it went slightly wide, hit the hoardings and back onto the goal. Before this, Paddy Kenny had to be in great form to stop the impressive Luis Suarez.

Onto the second half and Rangers were creating little and Liverpool continued to press and it wasn't log before they took the lead - Stewart Downing's shot was cleared off the line by Bobby Zamora and, as the ball fell in the QPR box, substitute, Coates produced an superb scissors kick to finally beat Paddy Kenny.

On 62 minutes, came a moment I will remember for a long time as Jamie Mackie prepared to enter the field of play and California Hoop stated, this could be the defining moment of the season so far - so Captain, Joey Barton left the field amidst some booing from some of the home crowd. But it was the strangest feeling, the home crowd and the players all seemed to get a lift as Mackie did everything but run through a brick wall for the cause.

But it looked game over on 72 minutes - a Luis Suarez shot hit the post and Kenny saved from Downing before Kuyt stole in to pounce on the rebound and put the visitors 2-0 up, which had a few R's fans heading for the exit's. But there was a glimmer of hope just 5 minutes later, when Taarabt's corner, saw Shaun Derry head home his first Rangers goal and no one was more deserving.

From there, everything, finally just seemed to click. Rangers were going for it, which was so refreshing to see and were level on 86 minutes when Taiwo's cross was met by Cisse who's thumping header sent Loftus Road into raptures. I would say after being 2 down, Rangers fans everywhere would be more than happy with this outcome, but it was not finished yet...

In stoppage time, Luke Young's header forward was not dealt with by Enrique and the ball found Jamie Mackie through on goal, who finished superbly past Reina and saw scenes of celebration reminiscent of Derby away last season - it literally went beserk and people were jumping, and grabbing and hugging just about anyone they could find and manlove was certainly aplenty. I took a whack on the head, a whack in the mouth, bashed my knee and was literally strangled by Pete and another chap who sit behind me. Was it worth it??

Of course it f*cking was!!!

QPR: Kenny, Diakite, Derry, Taarabt, Traore (Taiwo 46), Barton (Mackie 62), Young, Cisse (Buzsaky 88), Ferdinand, Onuoha, Zamora. Subs: Cerny, Gabbidon, Bothroyd, Wright-Phillips.

Man of the Match - we had Cisse from Sam, Diakete from Luke and California Hoop. Must also mention Paddy Kenny who showed some of last seasons form with some crucial saves. Shaun Derry got the nod from Corp, Jess and PK, with myself, Jenson and Lee going for Adel. I had first nominated Mark Hughes for the vital substitution, but with three votes each, it is effectively a tie, but using Editor's privelages, the award goes to Adel Taarabt.

In summary, it was just one of the games that made everything else worthwhile and it certainly will be an 'I was there' game that will be remembered for years to come. Much has been said of the Barton booing, which helps absolutely nothing, but in fairness, he has come out publically and said he was sh*t. But as much as I have my opinions, I just cannot be negative about a fantastic night at Loftus Road. A night that has lifted everyone and given us hope that we may just be able to survive and remain in the Premier League. Oh, and Jess, you owe me a frothy coffee!! ;)


Come on you R'sssssssssssssssss!!!!!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

We Thought It Was All Over....... The Line

This lunchtime the R's took on Bolton at the Reebok Stadium in what was a 'must not lose' game for the R's if they were to start to climb away from the danger zone at the bottom of the Premier League.
The Lofty Heights gang travelled in hope of a decent performance.

With the game being moved to a lunchtime kick-off by our good friends at SKY, it was an early 6.30am alarm for myself, Jess, Sam and Luke as we set away from Henley at 8.
Lofty had an equally early start as he travelled from Hemel down to Wycombe to pick up PK and Smithy, we then communicated to meet whilst travelling up the M40 and we finally caught up with Lofty's car at Banbury and then proceeded to convoy our way up towards Bolton. Jenson was missing today so Lofty stepped in to take his previous ego on the road that was 'Lewis'. After a swift pit stop in the services as Jess' bladder finally gave away after two hours on the road, we took to the remaining hour of the journey and arrived at the Reebok Stadium in very good time and avoided any hold ups that may of been on the road.

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The initial impression of the Reebok was impressive, the whole concept of stadium location and facilities had obviously been well thought of when it was built as you have everything you possibly need within a short walk of the stadium, the only thing that was missing was a pub that allowed the away fans in, however that is me being picky.
As there was no where to drink we made our way in and order a 'cheeky' beer and pie before sharing our optimism with each other. We met Lorna and Michael on the concourse before we then made our way to our seats as the players came out of the tunnels.

Mark Hughes made two changes to the team that drew against Everton last weekend.
Djibril Cisse and Samba Diakite returned after their suspensions and dropping to the bench was Akos Buzsaky. Adel Taarabt missed out with a hamstring injury.

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The first half started off as a very scrappy affair with Bolton probably shading the first twenty minutes without really troubling the R's defence.
The closest the R's got to opening the scoring in that period was when Zamora hit the bar before seeing the ball bounce to safety after Cisse had cleverly played him in.
On twenty minutes we witnessed our first 'goal'.
Barton's corner was unusually good and Clint Hill met the cross and headed past the outstretched Bogdan who clawed the ball back from over the line as Rangers' went 1-0 up............ however somehow both the referee and his assistant/linesman/blind idiot failed to see that the ball was clearly over the line. Once again we have been at the brunt of a poor refereeing decision, maybe there was more to come? You bet there was more to come!
In the 37th minute Bolton took the lead.
David Ngog tussled with Clint Hill and had a full handful of the R's defenders shirt as he proceeded to hit the deck and a foul was given......... in favour of Ngog despite it being him that committed the foul. The free kick was poorly dealt with and not cleared properly as the R's defence fell asleep, let Petrov have all the space of the right side of the R's penalty area and he crossed to Pratley who was unmarked, like two other Bolton attackers, and the former Swansea midfielder headed home from six yards out.
It was harsh on the R's to go into half time 1-0 down when we had a legitimate goal ruled out.

As you can imagine the half time talk on the concourse was one full of anger as we saw photos of the disallowed goal and that really got to some of us. You make your mind up if this is a goal or not................


We also received texts that the free kick leading to the Bolton goal was also a foul to us. I will kind of look forward to the analysis of the events when I re-watch the game at home because you can bet that Match of the Day will show 30 seconds of all that unfolded during the first half.
After a quick catch up with Kris, Kempy and Lewis on the concourse and sharing more frustration with them, it was time to make our way upstairs.

We took our seats just after the second half begun and within three minutes of the restart our frustrations turned to elation.
Wright-Phillips' through ball deflected off of a Bolton defender and Cisse collected the ball in acres of space and expecting the offside flag to be raised, however it wasn't and Cisse coolly flicked the ball over Bogdan and set the R's fans into jubilant celebrations as all the R's players came and celebrated in front of us.
This spurred the R's on to further trouble Bolton as we went in search of a second.
After falling slightly flat, Hughes decided to throw the kitchen sink at Bolton and pushed Mackie, Buzsaky and Taiwo into the mix as they replaced the tired Wright-Phillips, Derry and Traore.
This had an almost immediate impact as Rangers' had five consecutive shots blocked before Buzsaky's shot was deflected over the bar for............ a goal kick!
Despite all the second half pressure Bolton managed to grab their second goal of the game. Miyaichi played a good ball that cut through the R's defence so easily and Ivan Klasnic showed how ruthless he is and placed a sidefooted effort past Paddy Kenny and into the bottom corner. A very good finish but it was a dagger in the Rangers' fans hearts.
Despite the goal the R's players heads did not drop and continued to press in search of a late equaliser.
There were two very clear penalty appeals turned away, one of which was stonewall and yet again we were left ruing an officials decision that has cost us at least a point that is so valuable at this stage of the season, especially in our position and the run of games upcoming.


All in all I don't think anyone can doubt the players efforts as the second half performance showed that we are by far a better team than Bolton and we really should of taken a point, if not three from a team that has as bad a home record as we do.
The referee really was not helped out by his assistants but with the crucial decisions in the game he did get them wrong. Even our goal was slightly offside and that decision was a wrong call by the officials. See, I'm not biased.

Onto Man of the Match. We had several contenders for this one. Samba Diakite put in a strong second half performance and he looks like a decent acquisition as he is very assured on the ball and despite looking tired in the final ten minutes he did put a real shift in today. Bobby Zamora also shone, his hold up play and aerial threat is a chink in the R's armour and he can lay the ball of to our on-running attacking players so that we can counter attack teams.
However our Man of the Match goes to Djibril Cisse. His movement off the ball is simply superb and he's a constant threat to defences. He can be a real difference between us winning and losing. Cisse's goals are going to play a vital part in our survival plans.


We all stuck around for a good 45minutes after the game waiting for the traffic to depart from the Reebok Stadium car parks and just try to relieve ourselves of all the frustration that we had after the game.
We spotted Gary Neville, who had just finished his shift in the SKY studio's and we managed to grab a few words with him as well as Smithy and Jess managing to get photos of themselves with the former Man United and England defender.
Neville's words were inspired, he asked if we were QPR fans, with us replying 'yes' and then said that we were unlucky with decisions going against us whilst lastly saying 'you're in deep trouble now aren't you?'. Yes thanks for reminding us Mr Neville!! He did seem to be a friendly approachable person in all fairness and was happy to pose for photos and sign autographs in the car park.

The journey down the M61, M62, M6, M6 Toll, M42 and M40 was again untroubled until we got to Leamington Spa on the M40 and got held up in traffic for half an hour due to an accident on the motorway, not really what you need when you just want to get home after a long day on the road and having decisions go the way that they did.
Just to top it all off, I tried placing a bet on Jelavic to score the first goal in the Everton v Spurs game whilst listening to it live on the radio. A minute after pressing the submit bet button, Jelavic scored and my bet had not been placed in time! Gutted!!! Just about sums our day up!!

Lofty will return a week on Wednesday to report on our next 'easy' fixture against Liverpool.

U R'SSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, March 03, 2012

Rangers Finally Find Their Nuts...

QPR 1-1 Everton

QPR came from a goal down to claim what could be a precious point against Everton, in what was a much improved performance and an enjoyable game at Loftus Road this afternoon.

Well the gang slowly assembled today at the wall near the Springbok and soaked up the afternoon sunshine, with the exception of PK due to a bout of man flu and Jenson who blagged his way back into the Apex Rental box. It was nice to see and catch up with Dan and also, welcome back our good luck charm, Little Jack. Cousin Lee had also sported a pink shirt to bring back the luck that was of the old PSPA days. It's hard to imagine now that just a few weeks ago, I was starting a trend of wearing soppy winter hats as we fought off the arctic conditions.

A lot was said on these pages last week of the lack of heart, passion and desire after the lacklustre defeat to Fulham, so we were all hoping the team would be well fired up for this one, especially in the presence of Tony Fernandes, who had also been quite vocal. I was personally pleased to hear Guns n Roses, 'Welcome to the Jungle' pumping out over the PA System before kick off. If any a song is to be played to fire people up, then that is it in my opinion, long may that continue...

Onto the game and it was almost the worst possible start from the home side when Cahill struck the R's crossbar after only 4 minutes. Rangers got back into the game quickly and on 13 minutes, Rangers really should have been ahead, when Buzsaky's free kick evaded everyone but Clint Hill, who headed over from close range - the shame was, that if Hill wasn't there, I am sure the ball would have flew in. Ten minutes later and Buzsaky himself went close with a free kick.

Rangers continued to create chances and SWP went close with a diving header. But like so many other times this season, the R's were behind against the run of play - Pienaar picked out the impressive Drenthe, who struck a beauty into the bottom corner from 30 yards.

But the R's refused to be downbeat and were level just 6 minutes later - Bobby Zamora on hand to head home Buzsaky's free kick from close range. Particularly pleasing for me as I had removed Zamora from my dream team as they always seem to score when I do that - the gang will testify that last season when I dropped Berbatov, he scored 5 goals in his next game!!

Rangers should really have been ahead at the break - on 44 minutes, Taarabt smacked the post from a free kick, the rebound fell to Zamora, who teed up Buzsaky who somehow hit the post from 6 yards out!!

As the half time whistle went, there was plenty of talk of a superb showing from the Loftus Road squirrel, who thoroughly entertained the crowd, especially when he run over Tim Howard's goal line. It seemed totally unphased with what was going on around him, but it was one of the best individual performances seen on the Loftus Road pitch this season, the fitness level was incredible. It was astounding that after 20 or so minutes on the pitch, that Jess revealed after the game that, she didn't see it!!

Onto the second half and Rangers continued to ask the questions - Shaun Derry fired a goal bound effort that was steered wide by Onuoha. The game was now going from end to end as both sides went looking for the all decisive second goal. Buzsaky twice fired over the bar and Taarabt went really close as his shot from the keft drifted just wide on 67 minutes. There was some superb work from Zamora leading up to that effort.

But as much as Rangers pressed for the winner, they were frustrated by a stubborn Everton backline and yet again, a dreadful referreeing performance from Kevin Friend. A friend to QPR he certainly isn't....

QPR: Kenny, Hill, Derry, Taarabt (Mackie 81), Traore, Buzsaky, Barton, Wright-Phillips, Ferdinand, Onuoha, Zamora. Subs: Cerny, Gabbidon, Bothroyd, Young, Smith, Taiwo.

Man on the Match - Apart from The Squirrel - so refreshing to have so much choice, with myself and California Hoop going for Bobby Zamora and Jess and Luke opting for Traore. But there was a clear winner with votes from Sam, Jenson, Lee and Corp - today's award goes to Clint Hill for another superb performance at centre back.

Well, it may not have been the result we all desperately wanted and needed, but the performance was so much better against a good side that are extremely difficult to beat under David Moyes. But I am sure that all the R's fans would have been so much more encouraged by a display that showed so much heart, desire and passion. A performance that showed to the fans that the Club means as much to the players as it does to us, the supporters.

With Cisse and Diakete returning from suspension, it could well be a very exciting game up at Bolton next Saturday - we will see you there!

Come on You R'ssssssssssss!!!