Lewis Grabbs the Points for Bournemouth..
Bournemouth 2-1 QPR
QPR missed yet another golden opportunity to close the gap on Burnley, with a disappointing defeat, albeit to a very much in form Bournemouth side at the Goldsands Stadium this afternoon..
With Jenson attending a friends wedding, I took the wheel for my first away drive this season and despite being held up on the M25 for a good hour, I picked up PK from Burnham at 11.30 before making the short trip to the seaside. We met up with Lee, Jess, Sam and 2 friends, Ryan and Shaun at the services to discuss our Grand National selections, before convoying into Bournemouth. Unfortunately, Luke was missing today, taking part in a Charity Football Tournament.
We arrived at the Stadium after a trouble free journey and we all got a very pleasant surprise - as myself and PK were rifling through our pockets for a car park fee, the attendant informed us that to park just a stones throw from the Stadium, would be a pound!! Yes, just one pound!! Great value indeed and really good of Bournemouth not to fleece fans like so many do up and down the country!!
With time creeping on, we made the short walk to the ground and straight in as the rain started to gain momentum. Food and drink were consumed as we all had a catch up before taking our place in the sold out away end.
Onto the game and Rangers did start very well and former R's keeper, Lee Camp was at his best saving well from Jenas's effort from outside the box. Camp was in action again moments later when Hoilett teed up Morrison, who's half volley looped off the ground and was dipping in before Camp tipped it over the bar.
It was then Rob Green's turn to perform heroics at the other end, with a great save from a Kermorgant effort from about 12 yards out. Lewis Grabban then should have done much better, finding himself free on the left before dragging his shot wide.
But in first half stoppage time, the R's went behind in all too familiar fashion, when Harte's corner saw Elphick easily get the better of Dunne before heading home. All to easy for Bournemouth..
It was safe to say that we were all extremely disappointed to be a goal down, especially after a good opening 20 minutes or so and of course, being caught out by the simplest of set pieces.
The despair soon turned to joy as Rangers drew level, just 60 seconds into the second half - Tom Carroll lofted a lovely ball into the path of Traore, who drove to the bye line before firing smartly past Camp before celebrating with the away end.
Bournemouth then went on the attack and Green was forced into action again, tipping over a fierce drive from Pugh. But on the hour, the home side regained their lead, Dunne was again found wanting as Kermorgant drifted past him, his effort was deflected across the face of the goal before the impressive, Lewis Grabban fired in from close range.
Rob Green again, prevented Bournemouth from extending their lead, turning Arter's effort over the bar. With 25 minutes to go, R's fans certainly had a sight for their sore eyes when Charlie Austin made his return from injury, replacing the hapless Maiga. It began to look even more positive for Rangers when 5 minutes later, Arter's two footed tackle on Hoilett saw the referee produce a straight red card.
But the numerical disadvantage only spurred the home side on and Grabban broke free on the left, only too see Green pull off yet another fine save, with his team mates threatening little at the other end.
But in stoppage time, the R's forced a corner. Rob Green joined the attack and this time, the R's didn't play a frustrating short corner and the ball found Dunne who saw his header cleared off the line. The referee brought the proceedings to a halt shortly after.
Thanks to Sam for some excellent photos!!
Queens Park Rangers
- 01 Green
- 02 Simpson
- 39 Assou-Ekotto
- 10 Carroll
- 05 Dunne Booked
- 06 Hill
- 23 Hoilett
- 16 Jenas (Benayoun - 72' )
- 40 Maiga (Austin - 65' )
- 04 Morrison Booked
- 03 Traore (Zamora - 80' )
- 09 Austin
- 13 Yun
- 20 Henry
- 21 Young
- 25 Zamora
- 26 Murphy
- 35 Benayoun
Man of the Match
A near clean sweep, with only Jess differing from the rest of us, but only after a controversial change of mind late on (hehe), picking out Armand Traore for an excellent performance on his return from injury. But for the rest of us, there was no hesitation in our votes for Rob Green.
Away Day Pie Rating
Myself, Lee and PK all went for the Steak and Ale, well, we had little choice with that being the only flavour on offer. We all agreed that the pastry was good, plenty of filling but a big let down with the lack of gravy, making it a very nice but very dry Pie. A unanimous 7/10 from all of us.
As already mentioned, this was another huge opportunity missed with Burnley being held at Watford. If we had taken maximum points in the last two weeks where Burnley have taken just one, it would be a mere 5 point gap instead of the 10 that it is now, which means it will more than likely be the play offs for us, and it looks as though the players have already long since settled for that.
Post match comments from Harry Redknapp have been baffling, in saying that Hoilett and Morrison didn't hurt the opposition enough. Now, for the first 25 minutes, Rangers channelled almost all of their attacking play through Hoilett. Once Bournemouth had sussed this out, they doubled up on him and that also led to a huge improvement in their play as their confidence grew. Morrison did actually seem the most negative he has during his time here, where he would lay the ball off when perhaps, having a real run and go at a firm Cherries backline may have had more success. Redknapp also stated we were too predictable?? Excuse me Mr Redknapp, you are the Manager, this is your job to change things if things aren't working. But I guess when things normally don't work for Harry, he buys or loans in another player, something you can't do during a game.
As much as I like both players, Hill and Dunne does not work in the middle of defence with Dunne being found wanting again several times today. A lively attack are going to have a field day and when fit again, Onouha must be the choice to partner Clint Hill.
In saying all this, I must credit Bournemouth, who are on a superb run and you can see why, they work their socks off!! Such heart, passion, hunger and desire is a pleasure to watch, even more so if it were to be shown by the players in Blue and White Hoops. Bournemouth thoroughly deserved their three points today.
As for the Play Offs, well, they are all about momentum, something Bournemouth are showing at the moment and it wouldn't surprise me at all if they sneaked into 6th place. But momentum is clearly something that is lacking at QPR and if indeed, we do make the dreaded play offs and stumbling across the line like we seem to be now, there will be no need for Mr Fernandes to order their Wembley suits just yet...
Our defeat, as well as Derby's, has ensured promotion with 6 games to go, for Leicester City and much deserved it is too. Our Congratulations go out to them and all involved!!
I will return in the week following another tricky away encounter at Blackburn on Tuesday night..
Come on you R'ssssssssss!!