Singing The Blues...
Rangers left Portman Road with a more than decent point against the best home record in the Championship, in what was an entertaining, albeit goalless affair.
I probably have mentioned this before, but Ipswich away is always one that I look for on the fixture list as it is one of my favourite away days of the season. Yet again, the journey was a breeze for myself and PK and we arrived in good time, to drive past the somewhat shocked stewards (who were blocking off the road) to the large car park right next to the away enclosure. But from there, we took a walk into town and after a few minor clothing adjustments, went to the 'home fans only' weatherspoons pub for a pre match pint or two and a somewhat unsuccessful attempt of trying to win some money from the pubs quiz machine.
So from there and in good spirits, we joined the exceptional away end, not only in numbers, but in vocals too and although prompted initially by the Ipswich pre match music, 'singing the blues' was belted out from the R's fans for most of the first half.Onto the game and apart from the goals and like last week, the game had just about everything. The game went from end to end in the first half, but Ipswich were carving out the better chances, some of which forced Lee Camp into three world class saves. But Rangers had chances of there own, with Hogan Empraim firing a free kick just wide and Ephraim again, will be wondering how he didn't score, firing wide with the goal at his mercy. The R's also had a penalty turned down after Agyemang was brought down as he powered through the Ipswich defence.
The second half was much the same as the first, again going from end to end, but Rangers were dealing with the lively Ipswich attack far more comfortably. Agyemang was causing all sorts of problems as Rangers continued to threaten. But 5 minutes before the end, it looked as though Rangers efforts would be in vein as a crossed was flicked towards the goal and although impossible for R's fans to see from where we were sitting, Ipswich were claiming not only the ball had gone in, but failing that, that Matthew Connolly had also handled the ball. Fortunately for Rangers and to the anger of the Ipswich players and supporters, the ref waved play on and the late heartbreak that was Molinuex last week, was spared, thankfully...
QPR: Camp, Mahon, Stewart, Mancienne, Blackstock, Connolly, Agyemang, Ephraim (Balanta 92), Vine (Lee 65), Hall, Leigertwood (Rowlands 57). Subs: Barker, Pickens.
Lofty's Man of the Match; 2 main contenders this week and a tough one to call. Patrick Agyemang worked hard and his pace and power caused Ipswich problems all afternoon. But for a clean sheet and at least four excellent saves, it goes this time to Lee Camp.
In summary, well as already mentioned, Ipswich have the best home record in the Championship by far, so which ever way you look at it, this was a very decent point and it was pleasing to see the R's go there and give them a game. Following a stop at the badge seller, a more than decent burger van and a chat some of the, as always, friendly Ipswich fans, we ventured off on another breeze of a journey home, both happy with the result and indeed, the performance from the R's.
100 Up !!!
Away from QPR and I must just say a MASSIVE CONGRATULATIONS to David Beckham, who tonight won his 100th England cap in the friendly defeat against France.
Beckham becomes only the 5th England player to win 100 caps and now joins fellow centurions, Billy Wright, Sir Bobby Charlton, Bobby Moore and Peter Shilton.
CONGRATULATIONS, DAVID BECKHAM!!
the least said about the game, the better...
Wolves 3-3 QPR
A 95th minute goal from Andy Keogh gave Wolves a point and gave it the feeling of a defeat for the travelling Rangers supporters, who had seen their side lead three times in a game that had just about everything.
Following a breeze of a journey for myself and PK, we had arrived in plenty of time to sample the excellent £1 hot dogs and unfortunately, the not so excellent 'Legends' bar before the game. Corp and California Hoop were also in attendance, but enjoyed a 3 course meal rather than a £1 hot dog in corporate hospitality - leaving myself and PK to brave the elements in the exposed Steve Bull stand which today, included sun, sleet, rain and snow!! I think it may well be time to mention again, several free lifts and tickets this season to a certain individual...Onto the game and I don't even know where to begin to start summing this one up! After a shaky opening, Rangers came well into the game and after creating a few chances, took the lead on 27 minutes as Akos Buzsaky let fly with a rocket from the edge of the box.Wolves were level on the stroke of half time - after the referee missed a foul on Connolly, Gray crossed for Keough to head home. Referee, Oliver then took over proceedings somewhat and on 49 minutes, Rangers fans were looking bewildered as he pointed to the penalty spot after Buzsaky floated a free kick into a crowded box - on arriving home, it seems it was given for a handball against Neil Collins. Following Rowlands departure from the field with an injury, Dexter Blackstock confidentally stepped up to send Hennessy the wrong way.
The game then flowed from end to end with chances for both sides, but on 66 minutes, referee Oliver levelled things up by awarding Wolves a dubious penalty. Mancienne tangled with Jarvis outside the box, who then stumbled for a few yards before finally falling in the area. Ebanks-Blake sent the today, very jittery Camp the wrong way to level the scores.
As Wolves started to get on top, Rangers broke away and on 79 minutes, substitute Ainsworth crossed from the right which was half cleared into the path of Liegertwood who drove the ball home from 20 yards out. As you would expect, Wolves through everything forward but the R's were coping admirably with what was thrown at them. But in the 6th minute of the 5 added on and after a massive goalmouth scramble, Keogh fired home from close range to break Rangers hearts everywhere.
QPR: Camp, Delaney, Mancienne, Blackstock, Buzsaky (Ainsworth, 74), Connolly (Rehman, 59), Agyemang, Vine, Hall, Leigertwood, Rowlands (Mahon, 31). Subs: Pickens, Balanta.
Lofty's Man of the Match - Akos Buzsaky
In summary and as mentioned at the start, a good point away from home, certainly had the feel of a defeat about it. In saying that, in a game where the physio was only on the pitch once in the first half, where on earth did that 5 minutes of added time come from?? As soon as the board went up, you just knew it was a play until you score moment and sadly, they did. But in fairness, I would have taken a draw at the start of the game and on the balance of play, it was a fair enough result. Doesn't make it any easier to take though...
Onwards and Upwards...
QPR 3-1 Scunthorpe
Rangers came from behind to return to the top half of the table, in what was a slightly stuttering performance against a hard working and somewhat annoying Scunthorpe side. All this along with an absolute diabolical refereeing display at Loftus Road.In fact, at one point this afternoon, I was determined I was going to award todays man of the match award to referee, Thorpe, as he had almost single handedly dominated this match.
The fun started on 8 minutes when a harsh free kick was given against Fitz Hall who supposedly fouled Geoff Horsfield. Grant McCann curled a superb free kick into the right corner to give the visitors the lead. Rangers should have been level just a minute later, as Rowlands shot, albeit deflected, was parried by the keeper and Agyemang tapped home, only to have been adjudged offside.
Rangers had further chances from Agyemang, Buzsaky and Delaney, as well as being almost kicked off the park and unpunished too, by Scunthorpe. But 2 minutes before the break came another bad decision, but surprisingly this time, in Rangers favour. Rowan Vine was sent tumbling in the box by Iriekpen and referee Thorpe pointed to the spot and duly, levelled things up. Despite all the protests and gamesmanship from the visitors, Rowlands stayed cool to send the keeper the wrong way.Well, second half performances, or lack of them in recent times, have been mentioned on more than one occasion on these pages. So perhaps going in at the break at 1-1 wasn't the worst thing in the world as we would have to come out and play. Surely we wouldn't play for the draw at home against a team in the bottom three? Or would we?
In fact, as the clocked ticked on, it was Scunthorpe who tried to shut up shop and hold on for the point, which let Rangers onto them and on 78 minutes, we took the lead. A fine move saw Buzsaky play a one two with Agyemang, who smashed the ball into the roof of the net.
By now, Scunthorpe had no answer and in stoppage time, Rowan Vine made the game safe and got the goal his performance deserved, by bursting into the box and delicately chipping the onrushing keeper.QPR: Camp, Delaney, Mancienne, Blackstock, Buzsaky (Mahon 81), Rowlands (Stewart 92), Connolly, Agyemang (Lee 93), Vine, Hall, Leigertwood. Subs: Pickens, Balanta.
Lofty's Man of the Match - Rowan Vine
As mentioned, it was perhaps better for Rangers this time out that we had to come from behind at home and all in all, it was another good home win, albeit scrappy at times. Although it wasn't helped by one of the worst referees and linesmen I have seen at Loftus Road for sometime... and that's saying something!
Finally, I must just mention that myself and Corp had the pleasure of having a brief chat with R's Chairman, Gianni Paladini after the game and as always, he was both welcoming and only to pleased to stop and spend some time with us. Sadly, the chat was interupted by a phone call from Flavio Briatore, obviously checking the result and such from the Australian Grand Prix. What a day to go househunting, eh PK? ;o)
QPR 3-2 Blackpool
Rangers moved into the top half of the table for the first time this season with another home win. But the R's certainly made life difficult for themselves against a spirited Blackpool side.
It was a very strange night as it happens. Naturally, I am delighted with the three points, but left the ground last night very disappointed and dare I say, angry, as Rangers seemed to do their level best to throw the game away.
All was well after 47 minutes, we were playing some good football and had scored three excellent goals to storm into what you would think, would be a comfortable 3-0 lead. Akos Buzsaky opened the scoring on 11 minutes - Agyemang crossed from the left and the R's number 10's first time strike, looped over the keeper and into the net. Initially, from where I was sitting, it looked like a fluke, less so on the TV though. Did he mean it? Who knows? But if he did, it was pure genius!
It was 2-0 on 40 minutes through a fine individual goal from Rowan Vine - who picked up a loose ball, took it 10 yards, then a burst of pace took him into the box before firing a left foot shot, hard, low and past keeper, Rachubka.
Half time then came and went and despite being 2-0 up, Rangers failure to even turn up in the second half of matches still had many fans nervous. But the nerves were temporarily put to bed on 47 minutes - Vine again cut in from the left and squared to Agyemang in the box, who with his back to goal, tapped the ball to the oncoming Rowlands to smash the ball home.
In truth, the R's could and should have gone on to score 4 or 5, but after a couple of 'nothing to lose' changes from Blackpool, De Canio went defensive, took off Agyemang and put on Mahon to make up a 5 man midfield. It invited, as mentioned, a spirited Blackpool side onto us and goals from Burgess and McPhee had reduced the deficit to 3-2 by 73 minutes. It then turned into a very stressful night for Rangers fans and it was all so unnecessary. Following a couple more defensive substitutions later and 4 minutes of stoppage time that seemed to last half an hour, the R's held on.
QPR: Camp, Delaney, Mancienne, Blackstock, Buzsaky (Lee 85), Rowlands (Rehman 91), Connolly, Agyemang (Mahon 66), Vine, Hall, Leigertwood. Subs: Pickens, Balanta.
Lofty's Man of the Match - Martin Rowlands
Okay, so a win is a win and after a negative-ish report, I will end it positively. We were well in control for the best part of an hour against a good Blackpool side, who were above us in the league at the start of play and came to Loftus Road 5 games unbeaten. Not to mention the fact, that the win has put us in the top half of the table, where we haven't actually been since August 2005.
Finally, credit must go to the 500 or so Blackpool fans who made the long midweek trip and were by far the noisiest away fans at Loftus Road this season, even when the were 3-0 down! The drum was a bit much in the end though I must say... ;o)
Rangers Tamed by the Owls...
Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 QPR
Sheffield Wednesday came from behind to clinch victory, in what was the proverbial game of two halves at Hillsborough. With it being my birthday this weekend, I was hoping the R's would give me an early present of three lovely points, but it was not to be...
The day started well enough and a breeze of a journey for myself and PK, saw us arrive in plenty of time. The first disappointment arrived inside the ground, which for some unknown reason, does not serve alcohol in the away end! - So the birthday boy was toasted with cups of tea, coffee and hot chocolate! Which ultimately led us to our seats in plenty of time, to pay our respects to Sheffield footballing Legend, Derek Dooley, who died last week, aged 78.Onto the game and the midweek bore draw at Coventry, was soon being forgotten as Rangers simply dominated in the first half and were ahead on 15 minutes, through Delaney - who cooly slotted home Vine's centre. Rangers went on to create more and more chances and a post was all that prevented Agyemang from making it two nil.
The game then changed on 40 minutes, when Owls boss Brian Laws, admitted he got things wrong by making a double subsitution, bringing on McAllister and Burton for the ineffective Showumni and Wallwork - and when Kavanagh headed the scores level in first half stoppage time, I couldn't help thinking that there would only be one winner from there on in. Sadly, I was right...
On 52 minutes, the home side were ahead through a slightly dubious looking penalty. Camp was adjudged to have dragged down McAllister after getting in a mix up with Connolly - Dion Burton sent Camp the wrong way to make the score 2-1. I know it won't change the result, but I am interested to have another look at this on TV tomorrow.
Referee Swarbrick then took over, albeit assisted by the home crowd at every opportunity. I really don't like baiting refrees on these pages, but this guy gave us absolutely nothing and when the Wednesday fans shouted, he duly obliged them. To make matters worse, he lost complete control of the melee that followed Hogan Ephraim's sending off(o which Rangers showed more fight there, than the entire second half!), to which, he just blew the final whistle.
QPR: Camp, Delaney, Stewart, Mancienne, Blackstock, Buzsaky (Balanta 75), Rowlands, Connolly, Agyemang, Vine (Ephraim 63), Leigertwood (Mahon 65). Subs: Pickens, Rehman.
Lofty's Man of the Match - Michael Mancienne.
In summary, there is yet more frustration for R's fans as not for the first time under the new regime, Rangers failed to appear for the second half. What adds to the frustration is that the R's were that dominant in the first half, it was almost embarrasing! Also, I must just mention that at the end of the game, ONLY Gavin Mahon, Martin Rowlands and Lee Camp saw fit to acknowledge the travelling support. I can fully understand how the players will be disappointed after clinching defeat from the claws of victory - but hey, so were we!!
The footballing treat against Stoke last Sunday, seems all but a distant memory now...
Finally - I didn't get the Birthday win I hoped for, but consolation came in the form of the result from the FA Cup Quarter Final at Oakwell - Barnsley 1-0 Chelsea!!
Congratulations Barnsley, and thanks :o)
Coventry 0-0 QPR
Rangers followed up their outstanding win over Stoke on Sunday, by clinching a point against struggling Coventry in a quite awful game at the Ricoh Arena.
Now, before I go on, I have been in many a discussion with friends about a new stadium for QPR and the general consensus amongst the gang is - sort the team out first,fill Loftus Road week in, week out and then, think about a new stadium. I think the photo below enhances the argument...Onto last night and apologies for the lateness of the report, but if I'm quite honest, when I got home from the Ricoh last night, I took the same attitude to that of the QPR team - I couldn't be arsed - a bit harsh maybe, but that was how it seemed at times.
Well like anything, there are positives and from the night was the performance of the R's defence and Lee Camp in particular, who was almost single handedly responsible for winning the point. A third clean sheet in a row speaks volumes.
As for other positives, well, the journey was a breeze for myself and PK and also, Coventry must be congratulated to serving the finest hot dogs in the Championship! As for the game itself, well, it ended 0-0.
QPR: Camp, Delaney, Mancienne, Buzsaky, Rowlands (Ainsworth 91), Connolly, Agyemang (Blackstock 86), Ephraim, Vine, Hall, Leigertwood. Subs: Barker, Stewart, Pickens.
Lofty's Man of the Match - Lee Camp! Outstanding!
In summary, this game was everything the Stoke game on Sunday wasn’t. Against the Potters we passed the ball superbly, keeping possession for long periods, probing the opposition, wearing them down and creating chances. Tonight we passed the ball once, for two minutes, midway through the first half. That was it. Against Stoke we looked like we wanted to win, tonight we looked like we wanted a draw.
The 'Italian Way' that De Canio is bringing to QPR is now beginning to be forming a pattern. At home we do everything we can to win, away we do everything possible not to lose - and tonight against(with respect) a poor Coventry side.
The Mothers Day Massacre...
QPR 3-0 Stoke City
Goals from Mikele Leigertwood(2) and Akos Buzsaky gave Rangers a convincing and thoroughly deserved win over second placed Stoke, in front of the Sky Sports cameras at Loftus Road.Due to Sky moving this for live TV coverage, I'm sure many a households Mothers Day celebrations were re arranged. But Rangers happily put on a decent performance for the watching audience and was one of the best performances of the season so far.
Well, with the game being televised, I've no doubt that most reading this will have seen the game and indeed, I am currently watching a recording as I am writing. So, I have relived Leigertwood's two stunning goals and the two major decisions that went our way. Namely, the sending off of Griffin for Stoke just before half time. Okay, so we were 2-0 up at this point and from where I was sitting, it looked a hell of a bad tackle. But the TV proved that not only did Griffin win the ball, it wasn't even a foul. Very harsh indeed...
As mentioned, Leigertwood's strikes, his first especially were of stunning quality. His first was a stunning 25 yard strike into the bottom left hand corner and his second was a thumping drive from close range following an excellent nod back from the excellent, Rowan Vine.
On 56 minutes, it was all over as Rangers broke from the back with Vine, who played the ball to Ephraim who in turn played in Agyemang(who the TV showed to be in an offide position), who fed Buzsaky who drove the ball low into the net.
The game then ticked on with various more chances for the R's as well as a more than decent penalty shout following Hogan Ephraim being clearly pushed in the box. Lee Camp was forced into a fine double save late on, but other than that, Stoke threatened little as Rangers cruised to a superb three points.
QPR: Camp, Delaney, Mancienne, Buzsaky, Rowlands (Ainsworth 81), Connolly, Agyemang, Ephraim, Vine (Blackstock 75), Hall (Stewart 78), Leigertwood. Subs: Pickens, Lee.
Lofty's Man of the Match - Mikele Leigertwood - two stunning goals cliched it for the R's midfielder in a game where QPR to a man, all had fine games.
In summary, there isn't much more to add than what a superb, footballing performance this was for the R's, it was a joy to watch at times. Okay, so Stoke fans may argue about the sending off etc, but as mentioned, Rangers were already 2 up at the time and nothing would have stopped Rangers today. A fine Sunday afternoon indeed...