Nor-t Our Day
The R's had home comforts in the early kick off of the day as they took on Norwich City in front of the SKY cameras.
With it being an early alarm call Jess and myself made our way up to Loftus Road in good time to grab a pre-match nandos to warm us up ahead of the cold 90 minutes we were about to endure.
After a mad rush to munch through our food, we got to the ground with twenty minutes to spare, however with the queue I had to wait in to get into the Loft to meet the gang, I just about managed to get to my seat as the team was being announced.
I met Lofty in our seats, but we were missing Jenson as he is away in America for his annual holiday and PK was absent through work duties.
Two of our transfer deadline signings Christopher Samba and Andros Townsend made their debuts in the place of Nedum Onuoha (injured) and Ryan Nelsen (departed). Mackie and SWP also returned to the starting line up in the place of Loic Remy and Esteban Granero.
The first half a very tight affair with very little to choose between the sides but the R's had the better of the chances.
Grant Holt was up to his old tricks very early on as he took an easy tumble and left a divot in the ground where the fat b@stard landed.
Taarabt was very lively as we would expect him to be and made his own chances that were lacking in quality to test Norwich 'keeper Mark Bunn.
It was proving to be tough to break down the Norwich backline and it was easy to see why. Mackie, who was playing as the lone striker, was drifting wide too often and when Townsend and SWP were getting in good positions out wide but had no-one to aim at when the opportunity to cross came along.
SWP had the best chance of the half when Townsend's ball found SWP on the edge of the penalty area and managed to wriggle free but his shot ended up going wide when he really could've taken another touch before taking aim.
At half time the gang were fully assembled at the bottom of the concourse, with Sam, Luke, Lorna, Perry, Michael and Stedders all sharing the same opinion that Mackie offered us very little and a change needed to be made in order to make us a more attacking threat.
Five minutes into the second half that change to make us more of a threat was made as Bobby Zamora replaced SWP. This was a bit harsh on SWP as he did not do anything wrong in his 50 minutes.
Zamora instantly made an impact as his physical presence gave the R's someone to aim at and use him as a target man for everyone to feed off.
Five minutes after Zamora's introduction the R's were given a glorious chance to score.
Zamora's flick on was chased by Mackie and the R's striker took the ball beyond Bunn and was brought down by the Norwich 'keeper and the referee pointed to the spot!!! Our second penalty of the season, ironically the last one was against Norwich at Carrow Road at the start of the season.
Adel Taarabt picked the ball up, placed on the spot and placed his effort in the bottom right corner...... only to find Bunn pull off a fantastic save to deny the R's of a deserved lead.
The R's created further chances with Clint Hill, Zamora and Samba all placing headers wide of the target.
At the other end Cesar was not the busiest 'keeper but when he was called upon he was in superb form.
Firstly he saved from point blank range from Wes Hoolahan and then pulled off a fantastic save from Snodgrass' long range effort and managed to just push it around the post. From our angle it looked like it had just crept in but when we saw the ball roll onto the back of the net.
Rangers' had the final chance of the game as the superb and exciting Andros Townsend let fly from 25 yards and it looked as if it was going to hit the top corner of the net but once again Bunn threw himself and somehow managed to pull off another fantastic save.
This was very much so a case of a missed opportunity for the R's to claw back some ground on the teams above us and get some momentum going as we look to drag ourselves out of the relegation dogfight.
The news of Loic Remy pulling his groin is a massive blow to the R's attacking options as we now have Mackie who tries his heart out but lacks ability, Zamora and Bothroyd are very similar players that can hold the ball up and get other players involved and then we have DJ Campbell that is a livewire and offers a lot of threat to defenders, unfortunately it looks as if he's on his way to Blackburn on loan.
Our Man of the Match today was a very easy decision for the gang to make. Andros Townsend was superb from the first whistle until the last and was a threat every time he was in possession of the ball. He is going to be a very exciting player for us to watch over the next couple of months and I cannot wait to see more next weekend. A very worthy LH Man of the Match this week!
Queens Park Rangers
- 33 Julio Cesar
- 03 Traore
- 05 Samba
- 06 Hill Booked
- 20 Fabio (Ben-Haim - 74' )
- 04 Derry
- 10 Taarabt
- 11 Wright-Phillips (Zamora - 54' )
- 29 Townsend
- 40 M'bia Booked (Jenas - 69' )
- 12 Mackie
- 01 Green
- 21 Ben-Haim
- 07 Park Ji-sung
- 14 Granero
- 16 Jenas
- 25 Zamora
- 37 Bothroyd
- 28 Bunn Booked
- 02 R Martin
- 05 Bassong Booked
- 06 Turner Booked
- 18 Garrido Booked
- 04 Johnson
- 07 Snodgrass
- 12 Pilkington (E Bennett - 24' )
- 14 Hoolahan (Becchio - 88' )
- 27 Tettey Booked
- 09 Holt
- 42 Camp
- 03 Whittaker
- 24 R Bennett
- 08 Howson
- 17 E Bennett
- 10 Jackson
- 19 Becchio
Next week we travel to Swansea and will report what we see in Sunny Wales.
Keep the faith!!