QPR in Northampton Win Shock...
Northampton 0-1 QPR
A goal midway through the first half from Dexter Blackstock, was enough for the R's to clinch their second pre season win and bury the Northampton hoodoo at the Sixfields Stadium.
It was a bit of a case of what time I would be able to get away from work, if I was able to make the game. Clive from Loft for Words had asked me to let him know as he was looking for a match reporter and at around a quarter past five last evening, I had officially got the job as a text message confirmed my attendance at Sixfields. With none of the gang present this evening, I happily joined the Henley QPR contingent for this one. In fact, we very didn't make the game at all as on the A43, my car's fuel injection seemed to cut out, which meant we virtually rolled into Northampton at around 7.15. Thankfully, it was only a temporary blip and much fun was had by all on the journey back...
From the short walk from the car park, we were then greeted by 3 large queues outside the away end, so like anyone would, joined the shortest. Only to find on arrival at the turnstile, to be turned away to purchase my match ticket from the portakabin and following that, return to the original queue to get in. Why the many stewards saw fit to just stand there and say nothing until you were literally getting your cash out at the turnstile, is beyond me?
The players were already on the pitch when many disgruntled R's fans got into the ground and another healthy following meant that one of the two closed stands was opened up to accomodate the latecomers and indeed, those who had been ridiculously held up outside the stadium.
Onto the game and Iain Dowie had named a strong starting line up. As per the Stevenage encounter, both sides started nervously and following half chances for both sides, Rangers got into their stride with Ledesma at the heart of nearly everything. The Argentinian midfielder almost opened the scoring on 21 minutes, firing wide from 25 yards. But the goal the R's were threatening came just four minutes later, when Ledesma picked up the ball from the impressive Alberti on the right hand side, before curling in a perfect cross for Blackstock to glance a header home from close range.
Rangers were now in complete control, but the score remained at 1-0 at half time as two chances from Agyemang went begging, as well as a strong penalty appeal after Ledesma was shoved firmly off the ball.
Following a decent first half, came a pretty drab second, due mainly to the several stoppages for substitutions for both sides. Chances were few at either end but the best came to the home side. Just after the restart, Northampton broke down the left and Giles Coke somehow miscued from 6 yards out when he really should have levelled. In amongst the many changes of personel and formations, Leon Constantine missed another great chance for the Cobblers when his delicate chip over Lee Camp went just over.
With time creeping on, Rangers finished the game the brighter and really should have had more than one goal to show for their efforts, with Bolder and Balanta both having decent chances to put the game to bed.
QPR: Lee Camp, Matthew Connolly, Damien Delaney (Zesh Rehman, 76), Damion Stewart, Fitz Hall (Simon Walton, 71), Marrtin Rowlands (Adam Bolder, 71), Matteo Alberti (Gareth Ainsworth, 65), Gavin Mahon, Dexter Blackstock (Samuel Di Carmine, 75) Patrick Agyemang (Angelo Balanta, 75), Emmanuel Ledesma (Hogan Ephraim, 76).
Subs: Reece Crowther, Romone Rose
Although it wasn't the best game in the world, it was enjoyable none the less with Ledesma and Alberti again catching the eye. Di Carmine and Balanta looked a good pairing up front when they came on. It was shame however, that after an impressive half at Stevenage, that we didn't get to see Romone Rose come off the bench.
Also, and rather unfortunately, the side of Ledesma seen at Stevenage was evident again in the second half when the slightest touch sent him falling theatrically to the floor, didn't hear any screaming this time though! Let's hope Dowie and co will put a stop to this and soon!