Positive in Defeat...
Man City 3-1 QPR
In what was a repeat of that memorable last day of the season, Rangers left the Etihad Stadium empty handed, depite an extremely emcoutaging display for the ESPN audience last evening.
The travelling gang were almost back to full strength, with only Jess missing, still in sunny Cyprus and the journey to Manchester started at about midday for the 2 car loads. With it being an evening kick off, we at least had the afternoons football to listen to in what was more or less, a trouble free and very quick trip. We hooked up for a catch up and refreshments on the M6 Toll services, where the main subject was the female QPR porn star that has appeared on twitter. I'm not entirely sure, but a few follows may well have been added as we left...
We arrived at the impressive Stadium at about 4pm and slowly made our way inside, where we sat down and relaxed with a beer and a pie. This week, myself, Jenson and Luke joined Lee and PK in sampling the delights for the Pie Ratings, with Lee and PK, obviously unsure of their first score, going for a second each. More on that later...
We took our seats in good time at the front of the upper tier and were joined by Iceman and Lorna. A good few less R's fans were in attendance this time around but hardly surprising with the kick off time and live TV coverage.
Onto the game and the R's started like rabbits caught in the headlights, with the Champions making all of the early running. Dzeko and Toure both went close and on 16 minutes, the opening goal finally came - a deep corner found Tevez who's effort deflected into the path of Toure who smashed the ball home from close range - a poor goal really and if you give anyone that sort of space, you are going to get punished.
As the half went on, Rangers started to grow in confidence bu the notable chances fell to City, with Rob Green saving superbly from Nasri from close range and a superb block from Fabio denied Silva. Rangers only notable effort on goal was a long range shot from Granero which was comfortably dealt with by Joe Hart.
The gang assembled on the concourse at half time pretty encouraged by what we had seen and not overly dissappointed with the half. As the second half began, it was City again making the early running and a lovely Zabaleta curling effort smashed off the R's crossbar.
On 57 minutes, Zamora headed Fabio's cross just over the bar, but the R's frontman wasn't to be denied 2 minutes later. Andy Johnson wriggled his way into the box before a firing a fierce shot at goal and Joe Hart made a smart save via a deflection, the ball bounced along the goal and the oncoming Zamora made no mistake, heading home from close range to bring the scores level and cause bedlam in the away end.
City had received a huge wake up call and sadly for us, restored their lead 2 minutes later - Tevez found the byline before crossing for the unmarked Dzeko to head home - another poor goal to concede.
The R's could well have crumbled at this point but it was hardly the case and were playing some superb football whilst hunting for the equaliser. Bosingwa went close before on 76 minutes, Ryan Nelsen should have done much better but blasted Onuoha's nod back well wide. Soon after, Granero's superb free kick was agonisingly missed by the outstretched Nelsen at the far post, there was only inches in it.
Sadly, City put the game to bed in stoppage time when Dzeko's effort was turned into the net, somewhat fortunately by the impressive Tevez. A goal his performance deserved but one that Rangers second half performance certainly didn't.
QPR: Green, Ferdinand (Onuoha 67), Park, Johnson, Wright-Phillips, Granero (Cisse 85), Nelsen, Bosingwa, Fabio, Zamora, Faurlin (Dyer 72). Subs: Murphy, Derry, Mackie, Hoilett.
Man of the Match - several contenders but an outright winner overall. PK and Jenson opting for Ryan Nelsen for another solid display at the back. The overseas vote from Jess in Cyprus went to Andy Johnson. But with votes from myself, Lee, Sam and Luke, today's winner is Esteban Granero for a superb debut. Special mention also for Kieron Dyer who has looked every bit the player he used to be in the last 2 games and you can certainly see why Mark Hughes has taken a punt on him. Long may it continue...
Away Day Pie Rating -
Lee - Chicken Balti - heavy on the crust and filling salty - 4/10 - surprisingly low mark really as 2 were consumed
Myself - Chicken Balti - Heavy Crust but good taste - 7/10
Jenson - Peppered Steak - enjoyed - 7/10
Luke - Meat and Potato - 4/10 as the filling was dry, if not so dry, would have been 8/10
PK - Peppered Steak x 2 - very nice but not as good as Norwich - 6.5/10
Overall Man City Pie Rating - 5.7/10
In summary, it was a fine gang day out much enjoyed by everyone and I think it is fair to say that despite the result, there wasn't much dissappointment on leaving the ground from the R's performance. The team started to click and when they did, played some superb football and it is so refreshing to see so much quality in the R's squad with plenty of options everywhere. Very exciting times indeed. Although you wouldn't have thought that reading some Twitter posts with some unbelievable negativity. I really don't know what some people expect or see, but in our opinion, we played away at the current Champions and ran them very, very close. Get real people, please!!
The journey home was pretty much trouble free and after a stop for dinner and Keele Services, we said our goodbyes and made our way home. Im pretty sure everyone was back at home by midnight or just before.
Lee will return in 2 weeks time, following the International break for the small matter of the home game versus Chelsea, which looks a very interesting game indeed and certainly one to savour...
Come on You R'sssssssssssssssssssss!!!!