Lofty Heights... 'Ohhh Bobby Zamooooora!!!'

A look at Queens Park Rangers F.C. through the eyes of the fans - follow us on twitter @loftyheights70, @LoftyQPR and @qprleeroy

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The 'Worldie' is Not Enough..

Palace 3-1 QPR

A 40 odd yard thunderbolt and possible goal of the season contender, from Matty Phillips, was sadly just scant consolation for QPR at Selhurst Park this lunchtime following yet another woeful awayday..

With it being a lunchtime kick off, it was an early start and I eventually met with PK, Jenson and Palace fans of Jenson's, Christian and Warren in Burnham just after 9.  Sam and Luke trained it in, as did Lee and Jess as this was Jess's local game, explaining her unconditional hatred of the home side.

As you may or may not remember, the visit to Palace always brings a visit to Tasty Jerk, which is an excellent Jerk Chicken shop right near the Sainsburys at the ground. Any away fans going to Palace, we highly recommend you pay this place a visit. Jenson, myself, PK and Sam all sampled the delights of the chicken and in PK's case, the goat. Accompanied with some lethal hot sauce, very nice it was too!! Sadly, this turned out to be the highlight of the day..

The line up when it was announced raised a good few eyebrows, for one inclusion in particular, I feel I need mention no names, but it comes to something when the said individual was getting a talking too from Lee Mason, the R's fans were backing it up by chanting 'off, off, off, off'...

Onto the game and just sitting here writing these notes at 9.15 Saturday evening, I am STILL annoyed. Even more annoyed when hearing Chris Ramsey's interview on Talksport this evening, when he stated that, overall, he was pleased with the performance?!?

Rangers did actually start quite well, but Palace were getting a lot of success on the left hand side and took full advantage on 21 minutes when Bolasie crossed to find Zaha at the far post who side footed home, clattering into the post at the same time.

Palace went onto make the game safe 5 minutes before the break when Bolasie again, crossed from the left for McArthur to fire home. From my viewpoint it looked like Yun got the final touch but I may be wrong on that one.

Rangers were now all over the place and just two minutes later, it was 3 - this time from the right side where Ward held off, what I must say were some half hearted challenges before curling home - just too easy and this led to myself finally snapping with a foul mouthed volley at what was going on in front of us.

As tempting as it was to go home at this point, we stuck it out and the 'win away' chant was slightly changed at half time by a high spirited group of the excellent travelling support, to 'we never win away'. It certainly raised a smile or two and we took our places for the second half.

The second half was a bit of a non event really as Palace had a feel of job done about them, and it certainly was as Rangers struggled to make any sort of foothold into the game at all. On 80 minutes, myself, Jenson and PK said enough was enough and thought we would make an early start on the traffic (happily the 2 very gracious Palace fans came with us). Lee, Jess, Sam and Luke's reward for staying on was witnessing as mentioned earlier, a goal of the season contender from Matty Phillips, who picked up the ball just inside the Palace half and unleashed a 40 yard, dipping, swerving drive that flew into the top corner. Of course we have all seen it since and it really was the most incredible goal, just a shame it wasn't under better circumstances..

Queens Park Rangers

  • 01 Green
  • 38 Furlong (Hill - 45' )
  • 15 Onuoha Booked
  • 04 Caulker
  • 13 Yun Suk-young
  • 11 Wright-Phillips (Grego-Cox - 85' )
  • 20 Henry Booked
  • 30 Sandro Booked (Kranjcar - 84' )
  • 07 Phillips
  • 27 Taarabt
  • 09 Austin


  • 06 Hill
  • 12 McCarthy
  • 19 Kranjcar
  • 23 Hoilett
  • 24 Vargas
  • 25 Zamora
  • 39 Grego-Cox
Man of the Match

At first there was a flat refusal from myself to accept any nominations, but thought I would pick out the man in the Jerk Chicken shop that was chopping the meat, it really was a first class performance. Sam's choice was the pillar on the left of the stand we were in for blocking a great deal of the shambles in front of us. PK singled out the Eagle that flies around the Stadium with some great control before the kick off and half time.. and Jess nominated her Subway sandwich for her personal highlight of the day. But a late one from Lee came in for 'that' goal and going close soon after and to be honest, I just cannot ignore it and today award goes to Matty Phillips.

I'm not going to dwell too much further on this one as I am still trying to calm down and enjoy the rest of my weekend. But will just add, as I did on the social networks earlier that I am not really convinced I am buying into this whole Chris Ramsey thing? There is no doubt at all he is an excellent coach but is taking the reigns of a Club in a dogfight a bit too much of an ask for the poor guy at the moment? As we see other teams namely Palace, Villa and WBA bearing the fruits of their latest appointments around us... something to think about I'm sure..

Keep the Faith and Come on you R'ssssssssss!!

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Spurs Get Their Paws On Vital Three Points.....

Rangers' hosted their second London Derby in four days as Spurs made the short trip to Loftus Road to attempt to do what their North London rivals Arsenal done on Wednesday and take the spoils back up the road. Could Rangers' turn their fortunes around and help us stop bemoaning the 'bad luck' we are having to endure??

With Lofty's birthday just around the corner we had all planned to meet early on to enjoy a pre-match pint to help him celebrate his 25th birthday once again. Lofty, Jenson and PK all arrived at the Springbok to enjoy these but unfortunately due to traffic issues Jess and I did not make it in time and missed the opening twenty minutes of the game! Sam and Luke also could not make it due to a pre arranged trip to the theatre.
We hope you enjoy your birthday when it arrives on Monday!!

Two changes were made from Wednesday nights defeat with Rio Ferdinand and Maurico Isla returning to the side as Junior Hoilett dropped to the bench as Darnell Furlong missed out through injury.

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As aforementioned I missed the opening twenty minutes so cannot report too much on this, however I am reliably informed by the gang that Zamora had a good header well saved by Lloris, which led to Spurs being awarded a goal kick somehow!
Kane forced a fantastic save from our hero Rob Green as continues in the form of his life and single handily tries to keep clean sheets himself!
Finally briefly before my arrival Austin intercepted a back pass but could not get the ball in enough control to steer past Lloris, instead the French International denied the R's number 9 with a close range save.
When I finally arrived on with twenty three minutes on the clock I received several jeers from the gang and took my seat and felt like a jinx as Spurs begun to take some control of the encounter but it was the R's that came the closest to opening the scoring on the half hour.
Phillips', who was operating on the left wing due to Isla's inclusion, fed Austin the ball as he maneuvered himself into a goal scoring position and took aim only to see his rasping drive hit the underside of the bar and somehow cleared to safety! It's these fine margins that we curse our luck over and today was to be no different as Spurs went up the other end and scored five minutes later.
Spurs were awarded an extremely soft free kick by referee Pawson roughly thirty yards from goal. Former R's loanee Andros Townsend swung in his free kick as Kane found himself in acres of space having leaving his marker behind and beat Rob Green to the ball, heading into the unguarded Rangers' net. Another dagger in the R's fans hearts after playing well and being unrewarded!
Just before half time Rangers' had definite reason to believe they should have been awarded a penalty when Lloris' trailing leg clattered into Isla as he was about to finish off Caulkers flick forward. It was as clear as day but as you usually tend to see with Pawson, he favoured the bigger side and awarded chuff all! Pawson has a history of bottling decisions again lower table teams and it looked like today was going to be no different!

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This led to the half time gathering being slightly frustrated by the lack of decisions going in our favour, especially with a free kick being awarded for winning the ball from Spurs leading to their goal and with the R's having a clear penalty waved away. We were certainly feeling that there was a sense of it wasn't going to be our day in the air and that the next forty five minutes being particularly difficult to digest!

Lofty's daughter Laura joined us for a bit of a catch up before we trundled back up the stairs to take our seats for the second half.

Spurs started the second half the better of the two sides and were a whisker away from doubling their lead when Eriksen managed to buy himself an inch when under pressure from Onuoha before taking aim and curling a superb effort past Green, only to see the inside of the post come to the R's rescue before being cleared. It would've been a contender for goal of the month that's for sure!
The visitors started to get more into the game and look the more superior side as they glided the ball around the midfield with ease and begun to stretch the R's with more ease.
Townsend was the next to come close for Spurs but luckily lost his composure in front of goal and sliced the ball well wide.
We were limited in terms of chances in the opening fifteen minutes but did manage to create something when Zamora's shot from an acute angle was parried behind via a combination of Lloris and the near post.
On the hour Spurs really should of been 2-0 up as a quick break away from Walker saw Eriksen certain to tap home having beaten Green but it was an unlikely source in Charlie Austin that was back on the goal line to slide and deny the little Dane from doubling the lead.
The visitors weren't to be denied and foudn themselves 2-0 up with just over twenty minutes to go.
A simple ball over the top by Mason saw both Chadli and Kane through on goal, with Chadli looking to be massively offside when the ball was played. Despite getting within a yard and clearly looking like he wanted to interfere with play, he left it for the in form Kane as he rounded Green before slotting home and giving Spurs what looked to be a certain three points.
Credit to the home side, there was some fight left in the locker and found themselves within a shout following some good wing play by Austin, who squared to Zamora who then found Sandro on the edge of the box and the former Spurs' player sidefooted his effort from the edge of the box just inside Lloris' goal to just give us a whiff of hope.
It was at this point that referee Pawson decided to take centre stage and award a host of soft free kicks to Spurs'. All that was needed was for a player in a black shirt to dive on the floor and that was enough for a free kick to be awarded against us, yet we had none of these decisions go in our favour!
What totally summed up his performance was with ten minutes to go the most blatant handball from Bentaleb, stopping Austin's header going goal bound was somehow missed by both the ref and the linesman! I think Hugo Lloris would've been proud of the save made to deny the R's of a grandstand finish and potentially clinch a point, if not all three! It wasn't to be and we are left to rue missed chances and poor refereeing once again!!

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How many times do we have to say it? We were unlucky once again and went down by the odd goal for the umpteenth time this season!
What makes this one hard to take is that we have had two clear penalty shouts waved away, a soft free kick leading to the opening goal and decisions clearly favouring the bigger side in the tie. Take Ryan Mason for example, he clearly threw the ball away in dissent in the opening ten minutes of the half and was not booked for it and when he finally received a card for a crunching tackle in the final ten minutes it should've been a second, leading to the R's having a numerical advantage. Yes it may seem slightly bitter but had Barton/Henry or Sandro done the same he'd of been booked so why not the other way?
One of the things that is really beginning to frustrate me is the fact we continue to be persistent in playing long balls to Zamora and Austin, yet most of our goals come when we play passing football along the floor or when we get Phillips into wide positions and find Austin on the end of his excellent balls from out wide. Are we trying to play to Zamora's 'strengths' too much and hindering the good work that Austin is doing in front of goal? I'm of the opinion that as much as Zamora can be a nuisance we have to start making Austin the main man and play to his strengths. Let's bolster that midfield guile of Sandro and Karlinho and have the pace on Phillips on the right(where he is more effective) and the only other natural wide player we can have on the left is Traore(he proved this last year) and then have a Vargas/Zarate playing just behind Austin that add more pace and attacking threat to the opposition and potentially add more goals to the team whilst we have Fer out injured. We need this support around Austin as he is the single biggest goal threat we possess, whilst Green is doing it at the other end for us! Without those two we could have found ourselves in an embarrassing position this season, let's hope the players around them start to get up to their levels sooner rather than later!

Onto our Man of the Match. With PK leaving early I have not received a vote from him, despite this we do have a clear winner despite this. Jess voted for Yun after a good performance and keeping Townsend as quiet as he could whilst also venturing forward and creating several opportunities. However, with the remaining three votes from Lofty, Jenson and I, our Man of the Match is Sandro. He battled away at the heart of the R's midfield and has shown us exactly what we have been missing whilst he's been out injured for so long. He and Karlinho are making it impossible for Barton to walk back into the team surely?

Image result for sandro qpr

Lofty will return next weekend as we play our third London Derby on the spin as we take the short trip to Selhurst Park in a vital game against Crystal Palace. Let's hope we can enjoy some of the magic that we witnessed on our last visit when Helguson sealed the points in our Championship winning season!

In the meantime......

Thursday, March 05, 2015

Arsenal Take Their Ch-Sanchez......

The R's came back from a break in the fixture list and a training get together in Dubai to take on the first of three London Derbies over the next ten days. On this occasion the visitors were an Arsenal side that traveled to Loftus Road after a morale boosting victory over Everton at the weekend.

Despite traffic causing havoc on the A40 last night, the gang(Lofty, Sam, Luke, Jenson, Michael and Zach) arrived in good time last night and gathered in the Loft before my late arrival for the first catch up in over a month, yes it has been that long since we were last at HQ! Unfortunately we were missing Jess through illness as PK was unable to attend due to working commitments.

The team news saw a surprise inclusion for the inconsistent Junior Hoilett, whilst Onuoha and Sandro returned to the starting eleven after injury. The trio replaced Kranjcar(bench), Ferdinand(signing books) and Barton(suspended for d!ck slapping).

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The game started tentatively with both sides looking very compact. Sandro and Henry were providing the bulldog spirit in the heart of the R's midfield, chasing down Cazola and Rosicky at every opportunity to ensure neither of them had an inch of space to get Sanchez and Ozil in between the defense and midfield and create all sorts of problems.
With the game plan being effective it was the R's that had the first shot in anger after Zamora laid the ball off to Austin and the Rangers' top scorer who sent his half volley directly at Ospina, who collected at the second attempt.
Green was called into action for the first time half way through the first period when Giroud's shot from the edge of the box was gathered comfortably.
The Gunners' were dealt with a blow  ten minutes before the break as Gabriel's 'Dreams' didn't come true as he limped off to be be replaced by Koscielny
This spurred on the home side and they continued to press aggressively at the Gunners midfield with good effect, ensuring the Ospina remained the busier of the two 'keepers in the first half.
The R's front two combined soon after, as Henry's long punt up field was knocked down once again by Zamora and that man Austin sent a fizzing volley just millimeters wide of a despairing Ospina, who would've had no chance had it been just the other side of the post.
The R's were then dealt with a defensive blow of their own when Onuoha collided with a combination of what looked like Caulker and Giroud and was forced to leave the field with what was apparently a nasty looking face injury.
Arsenal took advantage of the new found weakness of the R's and finished the half the better of the two sides, with Giroud once again testing Green, only to find the R's number one more than equal to the effort and pushed his push away to safety.

The gang assembled for the half time interval happy once again after seeing a positive and attacking performance that we probably would not of seen under the former manager and Ramsey clearly has has style of play that is bringing the best out of the players we have in our ranks and clearly fills them with confidence. Matty Phillips was one of the stars of the first half and under Ramsey he has flourished, looking like the player we spent £5 million on over 18months ago. He's running at players and crossing the ball from wide positions in a way that I can only describe as a David Bardsley type cross that is being whipped in from about 25-30 yards out, unfortunately because Zamora is acting as a target man we're seeing Austin operate slightly deeper and cannot get on the end of these, if he was in that more advanced position then he could and would easily score over 20-25 goals a season from the service Phillips can provide.

Arsenal started the second half as they finished the first and within the opening minute when Rosicky waltz down the touchline and squared to Ozil, who luckily for the R's could not dispatch ball into the back of the net.
It was at this point where our own entertainment was made for the next ten minutes by Pete sitting behind us. What I failed to mention earlier was that Lofty's good friend Laura joined us up at the back of the stands. Pete, with his tongue in cheek, referred to Laura as Lofty's daughter, much to the amusement to our row with us all knowing that Lofty is just days away from his birthday and saying that he's beginning to feel it (but not look it!) this could've been the icing on the game for him but instead he just used it to keep jesting with Pete for the next fifteen minutes and perk us all up during what was a testing spell for the R's.
With Sandro playing in his first match since returning from a lengthy injury, he departed on the hour mark after being replaced by Krancjar.
Rangers' continued with their positive vain and came close once again as Phillips' volley, just as Austin's did in the first half, went a whisker past the post!
Minutes after Sandro departed Arsenal asserted themselves for the first time in the game and tore apart the R's defense with ease in one simple breakaway.
The break started with the unusually quiet Sanchez before he released Gibbs down the Arsenal left and his cross was momentarily blocked before Giroud swept home on the angle to give the visitors what looked like an unlikely lead.
With Rangers' rocked and shocked by this the visitors smelt blood and swiftly went in for the kill and should've found themselves two nil up when Caulker was caught napping before he lost the ball to Sanchez, leaving the Chilean one on one with Green but the man in the form of his life managed to narrow the angle and smother the ball before Sanchez could punish the R's.
That let off was short lived and Sanchez made it two nil shortly after.
The midfield was now wide open after Sandro's departure and this led to young right back Darnell Furlong being heavily exposed to Sanchez's pace and the pacy winger made his way in from the sideline unchallenged to then cheekily poke home at Rob Green's near post. An excellent goal from a fantastic player.
This killed the atmosphere around the ground as the Arsenal fans finally found their voices.
Cazorla and Ozil took control of the game and we were left wondering what could've been had Sandro been fully fit. Krancjar is not an ideal replacement, especially in a game where we needed to maintain the high intensity. I'm not sure if Doughty is injured or not but it would've been great to see him in the battle as you know he would've been able to handle himself and gain some more vital experience.
The R's handed themselves a lifeline when they finally got back on the ball when Phillips' left wing centre was collected by Austin and when it seemed easier to lay the ball off to Furlong, Austin settled himself before unleashing an unstoppable drive past Ospina.
Despite a late flurry the R's were left frustrated by the lack of decisions that went against them by a very bias refereeing performance by Kevin Friend, he's always been an enemy of ours!!

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Well it's another defeat but one that we would've expected to lost anyway. There are plenty of positives to take from the game with the performances of Green, Phillips and Austin standing out from the rest. It's a breath of fresh air to see youngsters like Darnell Furlong get a chance at Hull and not lose his place as soon as Isla is fit again.
The big question is, where would we be without Rob Green and Charlie Austin? These two are the reason we are within a whisker of safety. Green plays out of his skin week after week with little reward, whilst up the other end our one potent threat is Charlie Austin bagging vital goals for us.

Onto our Man of the Match. Jess, after catching a stream at home, voted for another fantastic game from Rob Green. Luke and Lofty both opted for the goalscorer Charlie Austin after another hard working performance. The winner on this occasion with three votes from Jenson, Sam and myself for another fantastic display of wing play by Matty Phillips.

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Another London Derby is on the horizon as we host Spurs in our game in hand over the teams just above us, not quite a must win but it is vital confidence wise to get something from the game.

I will return on Saturday evening/Sunday morning with what I'm hoping to be a positive report!

Until then.....