Today saw the R's do battle with local rivals Fulham in a West London derby day that definitely did not share the joy of thanksgiving, it was more a need of taking three points away from your enemy.
Could Rangers' finally get the monkey off their back and record their first win of the season?? The Lofty Heights gang were in attendance in hope!
The day started early for Jess and myself as we got to W12 early for some final Christmas shopping and a cheeky Nandos before heading to the ground and meeting up with Sam, Luke and Lofty.
Unfortunately PK was not in the stands today as work once again denied him the chance of being at the game and Jenson could not make it due to spending time with family ahead of the festive period.
This meant that myself and Lofty had five chairs all to ourselves as Lorna also could not make the game.
Three changes was made to the side that drew against Wigan last week. Bosingwa, Derry and Diakite dropped to the bench and were replaced by Onuoha, Faurlin and Cisse.
Rangers' got of to a flying start with Taarabt and Cisse combining well to set Cisse free before he got pulled down by the last Fulham defender but somehow referee Martin Atkinson deemed it as no foul otherwise there would of been a sending off within the first two minutes of the game.
The R's continued to pile on the pressure and really should of been ahead on the 10 minute mark.
Jamie Mackie pounced on a back pass that fell short of Schwarzer and had enough time to pick out a sidefooted shot that dinked over the Fulham 'keeper but unfortunately for us, rolled just inches past the far post.
Schwarzer started the time wasting tactic very early in the game and it became very apparent that Fulham were quite content to play the game into a bore draw and were not even looking like threatening the R's goal.
Despite this there was one scare on the R's goal when Rob Green's clearance fell straight at Berbatov's feet but failed to control the ball and the R's defence were soon back in control.
There was a new found confidence that you could sense on the pitch and every player was playing for one another and we actually looked like a team rather than a bunch of individuals in a team failing to win.
The R's looked comfortable and now we were playing in our familiar 4-2-3-1 formation which gives a lot more flexibility when going forwards and today we had supporting players attacking Fulham, which has been a rarity this season.
The midfield of Faurlin and Mbia where doing a great job of keeping Berbatov quiet and he barely had any influence on the game at all. They were also feeding Taarabt, who in turn was creating havoc for the Fulham defence and enjoyed his best game in a Rangers' shirt this season.
At half time the gang assembled on the concourse extremely happy and positive that we could finally put away a poor Fulham side that were in unchartered territory, they actually had an away following of more than 4 people. It's amazing the effort some teams make for a local game, just goes to show how poor a club the muppets at Fulham are.
The R's started the second half as they did the first, on top and looking like the only side that would go on and win the game. On 52 minutes the deadlock was finally broken!
Taarabt run at the Fulham defence from the half way line and found himself 25 yards out with no real options in front of him and his shot looked to be tamely rolling into the arms of Schwarzer until a wicked deflection off Hangeland and ended up in the back of the net and lift the roof off of Loftus Road.
It was imperative that the R's held firm for the next five minutes after the goal to wipe away the bad memories at Wigan in the previous game and with Mbia and Faurlin battling away in the trenches they ensured that the defence held on and then the R's built on this and gained more confidence before taking control once again and started searching for the send goal to calm the nerves.
With 20 minutes to go that bit of magic that was needed arrived via our Marvellous Moroccan.
Taarabt managed to barge his way through Hangeland and another four Fulham defenders before rolling the ball forwards and then hit an effort with the outside of his foot and rolling into the bottom corner of Schwarzer's goal. Absolutely amazing goal that looked like it had no real pace on the ball but the skill involved to get the ball to nestle in the back of the net from that distance and technique was something else!
This set the R's up to see out the remaining 20 minutes of the game and really could of extended their lead if it wasn't for Schwarzer keeping the R's at bay, whilst Cisse was also very unlucky to not get himself on the scoresheet after his curled effort from 18 yards out evaded the hand of Schwarzer but somehow just crept past the post.
With just two minutes remaining Fulham gave themselves a lifeline and a consolation goal.
Petric was able to get himself a yard of space and hit his effort that took a deflection off of Faurlin and hit the back of the R's net. Game on and the nerves well and truely kicked in.
The R's survived a goal mouth scramble before having a great opportunity to seal the game.
Cisse's pinpoint header looked destined for the top corner but somehow Schwarzer managed to hand to it and keep the game alive from a Fulham perspective. Probably one of the best saves you will see for a very long time.
When Martin Atkinson's final whistle blew the elation and relief around Loftus Road was celebrated and we can finally say we have won a Premier League game this season! Despite all the disappointment of the start of this season and the idiot Welshman that was clueless and could not buy a win for us, we finally got the three points on the board and also climbed off the bottom of the table, with Reading now taking our place down there and they deserve it!!
To a man today the team were brilliant and worked together, encouraging each other along the way and really put their blood, sweat and tears into that performance today. The defence were solid, Ryan Nelsen and Clint Hill commanded the back line and were supported superbly by Faurlin and Mbia. Mbia was a tank today and really done a great job on keeping Berbatov quiet and also found himself in many attacking positions and could've got himself on the scoresheet on more than one occasion.
Man of the Match
really is a no contest, I have only received three of the five possible votes and I can safely say that we have a unanimous decision in giving Adel Taarabt
the award. He was completely unplayable today and really can be the person that drives us on and gets up higher in the table and to safety.
Queens Park Rangers
- 01 Green
- 03 Traore
- 06 Hill
- 15 Onuoha
- 17 Nelsen
- 10 Taarabt Booked
- 11 Wright-Phillips (Fabio - 85' )
- 32 Faurlin
- 40 M'bia
- 09 Cisse (Ferdinand - 90' )
- 12 Mackie
- 33 Julio Cesar
- 05 Ferdinand
- 20 Fabio
- 02 Diakite
- 04 Derry
- 14 Granero
- 23 Hoilett
- 01 Schwarzer
- 03 Riise
- 05 Hangeland
- 06 Baird
- 15 Richardson (Petric - 63' )
- 18 Hughes
- 27 Riether (Kelly - 46' )
- 07 Sidwell Booked
- 16 Duff
- 09 Berbatov
- 20 Rodallega (Dejagah - 72' Booked )
- 38 Etheridge
- 02 Kelly
- 04 Senderos
- 14 Karagounis
- 31 Kacaniklic
- 10 Petric
- 24 Dejagah
Well finally we have had a winning report to enjoy and I hope that next week Lofty can follow this up with our first away win at Newcastle!!
Keep the Faith!!!!!