Norwich 1-0 QPR
So, Rangers last game of 2006 ended in what let's face it, has been an all too familiar situation over the last 12 months - in defeat. More worryingly, was the performance of which the fight and passion shown at Birmingham on Boxing Day was sadly lacking.
A slightly better gang turn out of three made the trip for what is personally, one of my favourite awaydays of the season. Which is suprising really as Rangers rarely seem to get a good result here. Everyone from the stewards to the catering staff are always so very friendly and with a Delia Smith connection, the food is always good. So much so that Norwich won the Lofty Heights 'Best Pie of the Season' last year. However, only PK was brave enough to try the Mince and Mushy Pea effort this time around.
So with the niceties over, it was time for the game and Rangers looked good for the first 15 minutes and Furlong had a great chance saved. But it then was a case of who wanted it more and I am sad to say, it was Norwich... and when Dublin got his customary goal against Rangers on 69 minutes, it was game over.QPR: Royce, Bignot, Milanese, Gallen (Blackstock 77), Rowlands (Ward 40), Lomas, Cook, Stewart, Furlong, Jones, Mancienne. Subs: Cole, Baidoo, Kanyuka.
Lofty's Man of the Match - Steve Lomas - an example to the rest!
Okay, well the report might seem a bit short after this one, but there really isn't much more I can say about a performance that lacked so much of anything. Ray Jones gave a couldn't be bothered type performance and quite frankly, if he does want away the please, just go. This sort of performance was unacceptable! More frustrating was the fact that a fellow striker that will work until he drops, Dexter Blackstock, was on the bench. It is amazing really that the teams below us results are just as bad, but this surely can't keep going on and if I am honest, I am getting very worried now!
And if things couldn't get any worse, the heavens opened so we got back to the car absolutely drenched! At this point I would like to credit PK for his driving in some horrendous conditions and for getting us home safe and sound. For this we can overlook not being able to slice any time at all off the Sat Navs arrival times and getting to Norwich later than planned ;)
Finally, I would like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year!! Let's hope Rangers make it a better year for us all - at least we are still unbeaten in 2007.
Boxing Day Blues...
Birmingham 2-1 QPR
I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas and had a great day?
The Boxing Day fixture is always one that I have looked forward to in the past. But over the past few seasons, those lovely people that compile the fixtures list have taken us away from home - two years ago, as far as Plymouth! This year, we had to travel to promotion favourites and very in form, Birmingham City.
Despite the relatively short and easy journey up the M40, it was somewhat suprising that only 2 of the gang(myself and PK) made the trip - although SB also appeared in the away fans concourse. It was also suprising that QPR had also drawn a full house for this festive fixture - okay, well I suppose it may have been something to do with the 100 year Anniversary of St Andrews!With the current form of both sides and the Birmingham celebrations, the odds were very much stacked against the R's today. But we made a good fight of it and were much the better side when Birmingham took the lead on 21 minutes through Matthew Upson. As the home fans were expecting the floodgates to open, it was Rangers that stole the show with a fantastic goal from Lee Cook. On the edge of the City box, he cut inside and curled a beauty into the top corner. A fine goal and I must say, a fine celebration too!
Rangers dealt with everything the leaders threw at them after that, but the game changed when Bircham was taken off on 59 minutes. Bailey replaced him and the midfield never quite got to terms with things. Another sustitute, Cameron Jerome put the Blues ahead just minutes later - tapping home a cross from the outstanding Gary McSheffrey.
If you could measure the level of the R's performance today, it was the sight of the Birmingham fans going absolutely mad with celebration when the second goal went in - showing just how much Rangers had rattled the League Leaders.
QPR: Royce, Bignot, Milanese (Rowlands 75), Rehman, Stewart, Mancienne, Cook, Smith, Bircham (Bailey 59), Furlong, Blackstock (Jones 81) Subs: Cole, Ward
Lofty's Man of the Match - outstanding performances again from Mancienne and Lee Cook. However, after seeing the difference in the side as a whole after his departure, Marc Bircham was the star man for me today.
Okay, so it was another defeat and maybe, not that unexpected from many R's fans. But there were so many positives to be taken from today's performance and if we continue to play with this sort of heart and passion, things will turn around for us pretty soon. Our last game of 2006 is away at Norwich and this is definitely a game of which we can get a good result from! Hopefully, a better turn out from the gang too...
Come on You R'ssssssssss!!
Three Points for Christmas...
QPR 1-0 Barnsley
Writing these reports with a slight hangover seems very much the norm these days. More or less straight after the game, the gang descended on the very welcoming Swan pub in Harefield for another great gig from Dog Chewed The Handle. A great night was had by all - thanks also to the landlord for helping us with the cabs home too!
Anyway, although it was easily forgettable, we had also been to a game beforehand...
Rangers kicked off their tough Christmas programme with a much needed and vital win over Barnsley. After 5 straight defeats, I dont think many Rangers fans cared too much about how the points came today? Well maybe with the exception of Alan who had travelled back from Los Angeles - welcome home and good to see you mate!Sadly, on a day where the performance didn't matter, we didn't really get one. Martin Rowlands gave the R's the lead on 15 minutes in a half which on chance for chance, Rangers dominated. Rowlands cut inside on the right and although his shot was weaker than hoped, it squirmed under Colgan and into the net.The game continued to be very cagey for both sides and although Barnsley came right back into the game, Rangers defended for their lives. At the other end, chances fell to Cook and Blackstock but the elusive second goal never materialised. But the relief around the stadium was fully evident when the final whistle blew.
QPR: Royce, Bignot, Milanese (Rehman 67), Rowlands, Lomas, Cook, Stewart, Jones (Furlong 79), Blackstock, Smith (Bircham 70), Mancienne. Subs: Cole, Baidoo.
Lofty's Man of the Match - yet again, Michael Mancienne who it now looks like we will be getting until the end of the season. Great news indeed! Special mention must also go to Marcus Bignot and Dexter Blackstock who were also outstanding today.
With tough away games against Birmingham and Norwich coming up, this was a massive win for Rangers and as I mentioned before, I don't think any Rangers fan would care too much about how we got this win today. Hopefully, this will give the team some much needed confidence which will certainly be needed as we visit the League Leaders on Boxing Day. And we all know what happened the last time we visited the League Leaders... well, here's hoping.
Happy Christmas to Everyone!!
I thought I had better do this before the Barnsley game... not that I am pessimistic or anything, but if the worst happens tomorrow, I will hardly be in the mood for festive cheer. Anyway, I am sure it won't happen, as I have put 3 points tomorrow on my Christmas list and Rangers never let us down do they....?!?!?!I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their continued support and to wish you all a VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS!
Our Warmest Congratulations go to Gareth Ainsworth and Donna on the birth of their son, Kane Presley Ainsworth.Kane was born on Wednesday 13th December at 3.15pm, weighing in at 7lb 9oz. It may be a good few years yet, but you never know, we could be looking at a future Rangers star.
I am delighted to be able to announce my mate Gaz's wonderful news on these pages and once again, and on behalf of all of the gang, our Warmest Congratulations go to the new Mum and Dad.
Thanks for the picture, Gaz! :)
Thrown To The Wolves...
QPR 0-1 Wolves
This one was always going to be a struggle for me personally after attending my work's Christmas do the night before. But a strangely 'muted' Loftus Road made it seem like plenty more parties had taken place the previous night. Sadly, it looked as though the team had too...
Despite 4 defeats on the trot, there have also been many positives to fall back on these pages. But I must admit to finding it almost impossible to find any after this game! Rangers had the better of a dull first half, but after Kightly gave Wolves the lead with their first real attack on 48 minutes, there was no going back. In fact, the game now belonged to Wolves who had several more chances to put the game to bed and I really hate to say this, but I was almost willing the second goal to go in so I could make an early departure - apologies, but I am just being honest.In fact, myself, Corp and PK were discussing the man of the match long before the final whistle in which PK nomimated Shabazz Baidoo as a contender - the fact that Baidoo was a non playing sub, just about sums things up.
QPR: Royce, Milanese, Rehman, Mancienne, Bignot, Rowlands, Smith, Gallen, Bircham (Furlong 65), Blackstock, Jones. Subs: Cole, Ward, Baidoo, Bailey.
Lofty's Man of the Match - Mauro Milanese
Five straight defeats and we are now in a dogfight. It is amazing really that the teams below us are also not picking up many points. But next weeks home game with Barnsley is massive!
This is the last game before Christmas and I am asking Rangers for 3 points as a present. I am really hoping I won't be disappointed because let's face it, we have given plenty of other teams 3 point presents just recently...
Stoke 1-0 QPR
I really do hate to complain about officials on these reports, but yet again, the refereeing decisions played a huge part in today's result in a tight game at a bitterly cold Brittania Stadium.
For many reasons, Stoke isn't the top of many R's fans lists of away games to go to and out of the gang, only myself and PK made the trip. The journey was an absolute breeze and we arrived in plenty of time to have a pre match pint - again, for many reasons, is better to have inside the ground.
Onto the game and as mentioned, some crucial decisions determined the outcome. If I am honest, Stoke just about edged the game overall, but a reshuffled Rangers line up more than held their own against high flying City. The home side took the lead after 16 minutes through a very dubious penalty. Fuller and Milanese tussled for the ball inside the box. It looked at first as though Milanese was fouled, but just as Fuller got the better of him, he threw himself to the floor and the ref pointed to the spot - Royce got a touch but Higginbotham's powerful penalty hit the back of the net.Rangers were much improved in the second half but neither side were creating much in front of goal. But Rangers will be left wondering what might have been as Duberry clumsily bundled Blackstock over in the box, only for it to be waved on. Then on 71 minutes, Jimmy Smith was clearly taken out just inside the box and the ref yet again, waved play on. Okay, Smith made a slight meal of it, but there was no doubt at all his legs were taken away from him.
QPR: Royce, Bignot, Mancienne, Stewart, Milanese, Bailey, Rowlands (Ward 87), Smith, Gallen, Nygaard (Baidoo 90), Blackstock (Furlong 70). Subs: Bircham, Cole.
Lofty's Man of the Match - for the 2nd week running and revelling in a more central position - Michael Mancienne.
With Stoke getting the result, it ultimately led to a calmer exit from the ground this year. This wasn't the worst performance in the world by any means, but our fourth defeat on the bounce nevertheless. Defensively, Rangers looked the most solid I have seen them all season but with Cook and Jones both absent, we looked short of ideas coming forward. Paul Furlong looked a class act when he came on (70) and as PK and I discussed, would Rangers benefit with him starting a game(even if it is just for an hour or so)instead of coming on trying to rescue it?
F.A. Cup Third Round...
It's that time again, and at 3.10pm today, it was the FA Cup Third Round draw and as you can see, Rangers have been drawn at home to Luton Town.
With all due respect to Luton, I have to admit I am a tad disappointed. It seemed an age before Ricky Hatton drew us out of the hat and I was cringing at the thought of a long trip away to Bury or something. What I really wanted was a really big team away and I was keeping my fingers tightly crossed for Arsenal and a trip to the Emirates Stadium.
But, it was not to be and Luton have a chance to avenge their 3-2 home defeat to us last month. Despite our poor home form, this is also a good chance to progress further and you never know, a Cup run??
Palace 3-0 QPR
Although a London derby, Palace is never one of my favourite away days as it takes just as long to get there as will do to Stoke next week. Also, Corporate went, well, Corporate for this one and PK's work called him out at the last minute, meaning I had to endure the events on my own. I deliberately didn't take my camera as the view from the away end is obscured by a huge pylon(although I did take one with my phone).
As for the game, well the title just about sums today up!
Firstly, the team selection was confusing - with Cook missing, JG started with 4 strikers. Was it a 4-3-3 with three strikers or 4-4-2 with strikers having to play out of position?
The result was confusing - people will see the result and think that it was nothing more than an easy win for Palace! Rangers simply dominated the 1st half, created lots of chances and missed two sitters! One from Rowlands and an incredible open goal miss from Marc Nygaard!!
The Rangers second half performance was confusing - although we were 2 down at half time, we were by far the better side. But the heads went down and we rarely threatened the Eagles defence at all! Morrison added to Freedman and Kuqi's first half goals three minutes from time.QPR: Royce, Bignot, Rehman, Stewart, Mancienne, Rowlands, Smith, Blackstock (Furlong 75), Gallen, Nygaard (Ward 75), Jones Subs: Cole, Bailey, Milanese
Lofty's Man of the Match - Michael Mancienne
There is nothing more I can really add to this report. As I sit here writing this, I am still confused. The defence will no doubt take all the flack again. But all three goals could have been prevented. Kuqi got the better of Stewart to pull the ball back for Freedman for 1-0. An uncharacteristic mistake from Simon Royce, saw Kuqi's effort squirm through his legs for 2-0. Morrison tapped home Soares's cross near the end. But as per the Sunderland game, the goal had a huge offside feel about it!
Like I said, confusing...