Charlie Inches R's To Victory.....
The R's were pushed to second in the table after Burnley secured a victory to go level on points but their better goal difference was the difference between the two top teams, with the R's having a game in hand. Rangers' had the chance to climb to the top of the tree once again as bottom of the table Barnsley made the trip down to Loftus Road.
Due to a few car issues it was Luke that was behind the wheel today as he chauffeured Sam, Jess and myself to West Ruislip station before we took the final journey via tube and arrived at White City at 2pm. After a quick stop for food we all made our way to the ground where we met up with Lofty and PK. Jenson was not in attendance today due to a family illness.
After last weeks fabulous performance against Middlesbrough it's no surprise that there were no changes to the starting eleven.
The R's started off at a very pedestrian pace and were not knocking the ball around with the usual fluid conviction and this made Barnsley even harder to break down than they would already of been.
Barnsley came the closest to breaking the deadlock as a cross from the left wing and the mis-direction of the cross took it dangerously close to the top right corner of Rob Green's goal, however the R's 'keeper was on full alert and tipped the ball over the bar for a corner.
Richard Dunne came the closest to putting the R's in front as his header from a Carroll corner was thumped towards goal but agonizingly saw it cleared off the line.
Just before half time Barnsley should have been awarded a clear penalty. Niko Krancjar blocked a goal bound shot, however there was a clear use of the arm, not intentional of course. The ref did not have a clear view of the ball to hand contact due to Niko having his back to the ref, but how the linesman did not see is beyond me. A real let off for us and the relief around the home crowd was evident as the ball got cleared to safety.
At half time we were still relieved to of had the crucial decision work in our favour and we were slightly frustrated by the R's lack of penetration despite the huge amount of possession that we were enjoying. A step up in gear was needed to ensure that we secured the three points and also keeping the clean sheet that would ensure a club record of 8 straight shut outs were completed.
The second half got better with Rangers' pressing hard and starting to move the ball around quicker and create more space in behind the Barnsley defence and get that crucial first goal.
The turning point came on 60 minutes when Junior Hoilett replaced Ali Faurlin.
This gave the R's the injection of pace, energy and urgency that they so badly needed and Hoilett's impact was almost immediate.
On 66 minutes the deadlock was finally broken.
Carroll took his corner short to Hoilett on the left hand side and he run inside the Barnsley defenders and pulled the ball back to Austin, who had made a magnificent piece of movement just outside the six yard box, and the R's top scorer slotted home with his left foot to seal his third goal in consecutive games.
The goal lifted the R's but by no means meant the visitors were about to lay down and take the defeat. Barnsley continued to try and play the ball around through their midfield and stuck to the clear plan they they arrived with but just lacked in the final third.
Rangers' sealed the victory in the final few minutes as Austin was fouled when threatening to pull the trigger after a terrific run from midway inside the visitors half.
Austin stepped up to take his third spot kick in as many games and made no mistake, sending Butland the wrong way.
Well I can honestly say that this wasn't an easy one and Barnsley deserve credit for making this one an extremely tough game and for sticking to their style of play. They will curse the decision in the first half and not getting that penalty, however they will get better and look like a side that could gel into a team that will steer them clear of the position they are in at the moment. There are three poorer teams in this division.
As for the R's, it was hard fought and Hoilett's introduction really helped us turn the corner. The assist within five minutes of coming on tells that story and now we have the international break it means he can stay healthy and nurse that hamstring to full strength ahead of a busy period towards the end of October.
Defensively we looked good again today and Richard Dunne continues to keep his impressive record of not conceding a goal in all of the games he has played in. This has coincided with Rob Green beating the club record of consecutive clean sheets and making it eight games, 720 minutes, without being beaten. Impressive!
Onto our Man of the Match. There were a number of good performances out there today and this shows as the voting was split by everyone, apart from one person that got two votes. I voted for Dunne, Jess went for Hoilett, Luke voted for Carroll, PK went for Barton but our winner with two votes from Sam and Lofty was Charlie Austin.
Once the voting had concluded a very interesting conversation regarding Austin broke out and proved what perverted women we have within the group. The girls spoke about how they noticed that a certain Mr Austin was well endowed when he was doing his business about the pitch and a photo came out to show us what they were talking about. I know that if we were talking about women that it would be us being chauvinistic, but women are allowed these conversations obviously..... Here is the picture for your viewing for you to make your mind up .............................
We now have an International break to curse but Lofty will return with another one of his entertaining away day reviews for the Millwall fixture in two weeks time ahead of three away days on the spin.