Bolder Rocks Charlton...
Charlton 0-1 QPR
Rangers clinched their first away win of season and their first win at The Valley for 25 years to climb off the bottom of the table. A second half goal from Adam Bolder was enough, but in truth, it could have been so much more as Rangers impressed in front of the dreaded Sky Cameras.
With the game being televised, it was an early start for myself and PK, an earlier start for Corp and California Hoop who joined the Prawn Sandwich brigade for the day... and an even earlier start for the Leeds contingent. The journey was surprisingly good and the M25 surprisingly quiet as we heard reports from the box of champagne and steak being dished up from Charlton's corporate offerings. But it didn't bother us too much as the sat nav, making it's debut today, took us to the Woolwich Ferry for a very pleasant litte jaunt across the water. We arrived in plenty of time before kick off and was very impressed with the developments made to The Valley since my last visit. The same could not have been said for the away end though as many, not just someone who stands at 6ft 5, struggled to get both cheeks of their arse fully on the seat.
Onto the game, and Rangers more than held their own against their high flying opponents. On chances created, Charlton had slighlty the better of the first half, the best falling to Luke Varney who blazed over when put under pressure from Stewart. Rangers however, had a good shout for a penalty following what looked like a blatant handball from Chris Iwelumo. But our old friend, referee Lee Probert wasn't at all interested.
Onto the second half and it was all Rangers and we had a great chance to take the lead on 50 minutes. Rowan Vine was tripped by Fortune in the box and Probert pointed at the spot. Martin Rowlands confidently stepped up, oblivious to Danny Mills best attempts to distract him - and although the penalty was struck well enough, it smacked the post and rebounded to safety.
Despite the setback, the Rangers following got fully behind the team and Stewart, Vine and Liegertwood all had decent chances. But the lead was finally ours on 72 minutes - Ephraims shot was charged down to Barker, who crossed high into the box. Weaver and Nygaard both challenged and the ball fell loose to Bolder who stabbed the ball home to send the away end beserk.
As you would expect, the home side put us under some pressure in the final minutes, but were frustrated time and time again by the excellent QPR back four... did I just say that??
QPR: Camp, Barker, Stewart, Mancienne, Bolder, Rowlands, Ephraim, Vine, Nygaard, Leigertwood, Cranie. Subs: Cole, Bignot, Ainsworth, Sahar, Moore.
Lofty's Man of the Match - a good few contenders today with Sky giving it to the excellent Rowan Vine. Damion Stewart was immense for us at the back, Ephraim and Rowlands were a constant threat on the flanks and Nygaard was impressive again and was a headache for the Charlton defenders all afternoon. But my award today, goes to Martin Cranie for a performance that was a class above.
What more can be said after a performance and result such as this? It was in my opinion, our best of the season so far and I have no doubt that mine and PK's burger and onions after the game, tasted just as good as Corp and Al's steaks. But with all the talk in recent weeks of new managers, the on/off saga with Francesco Guidolin and the new name in the frame, being Luigi Di Canio, the question has to be asked as have Rangers already got just what we need right under our noses? He has settled the club down, tightened up the back four, has us playing decent football and is getting results - all in the space of just under 4 weeks in charge.
Anyone else think we shoud give the job to Mick Harford??