Charlie Plays An 'Udder Blinder......
The R's returned to Loftus Road following on from last weeks contender for Away Day of the season at Ipswich with another tough encounter ahead of them, the visit of Huddersfield Town.
The pre-match conversations revolved around our enjoyable experiences with the Huddersfield fans in Ibiza nearly 9 years ago when we toured over there, however the friendliness didn't seem to exist today as the Police surrounded the Green to eradicate any trouble that was starting to brew around Shepherds Bush Green at 2pm.
Myself and Jess then met up with Sam and Luke before Lofty and Jenson arrived for a good chinwag and catch up of the week that had passed us.
The team news arrived shortly afterwards and we were happy to see that a second striker was named in e starting eleven as Andy Johnson returned in place of Yossi Benayoun as the injured Joey Barton sat out with a thigh injury. His replacement was Karl Henry.
Huddersfield started the game the brightest and their speed of breaking away and running at the R's defence was causing all sorts of problems for our warhorses Clint Hill and Richard Dunne.
The visitors took control of proceedings and if it wasn't for poor finishing from Danny Ward and Nahki Wells then we could've easily found ourselves three or four behind by the break.
There was a distinct lack of atmosphere around Loftus Road and if it wasn't for the Huddersfield fans creating some noise you would've been excused for thinking that we were playing in a library this afternoon.
It was soon apparent that the new style narrow diamond formation that the R's midfield were playing was not very effective and left us lacking width, with only Simpson and BAE attacking the flanks to provide Austin and Johnson with the service they needed to trouble Smithies in the Terriers goal.
The closest the R's came to breaking the deadlock in the opening 45 minutes came from a corner as Austin crashed his header off the bar, the rebound from Hill was then saved before Karl Henry himself hit the bar!
A much needed change took place ahead of the second half, with Matty Phillips replacing Gary O'Neil. O'Neil looked to of taken a few knocks in the first half so this was probably a precautionary action.
Phillips' introduction gave Rangers' a much needed boost of energy and some of the unexpected that would provide us with the attacking threat that we so desperately needed.
It was that man Phillips that was at the heart of the action that led to the first goal.
He drove in from the right wing position, evading several tackles along the way before finally wriggling free and passing to BAE who was free on the left wing. From there BAE cut the ball back to Johnson, who in turn flicked the ball into Austin's direction, from here the R's number 9 took 3 touches, with the last seemingly being one touch too many, before he blasted the ball into the bottom right corner and lifted the tension around Loftus Road!
Rangers' did grow in confidence from here but just ten minutes later the visitors were level after some sloppy defending.
Carroll was caught napping on the edge of the R's penalty area before Hammill crossed for Wells to stoop in and head home.The R's fans nightmares had come true as we were all hoping for Wells to sign for us during this transfer window, however our loss is definitely Huddersfield's gain.
The continued to grow into the game as it progressed as they tend to do these days, with the last half an hour being where we look the most dangerous, with today being no exception.
With ten minutes left on the clock we were treated to a rarity........ a goal from a corner!!
Assou-Ekotto's delivery from the right was met by who else but Charlie Austin and he headed home from eight yards with aplomb.
On reflection of the game I can honestly say that the only difference between the two sides today was the finishing. Huddersfield spurned too many chances today and were punished for not making the most of their chances.
The R's have to be very thankful for the hard work and goals of Charlie Austin this year. He never stops running and has scored many vital goals over the course of this season and is looking like he will be the first striker since Andy Thomson to score over 20 goals in a season and that was in the 2001-02 season!!!
Our Man of the Match today saw a near clean sweep with only Jess voting differently and going for Assou-Ekotto. The remaining five votes from Lofty, Jenson, Sam, Luke and myself all went for the excellent Charlie Austin. Goals win games!
With next weekends fixture being cancelled I shall return a week on Tuesday with my report after the home game against Bolton.