Norwich 3-0 QPR
Rangers last away game of the season ended in a comprehensive defeat, in a game where the strangest decisions, both by the referee and Luigi De Canio, led ultimately to the outcome. The win for the Canaries confirms their Championship status for next season.
With PK once again scouring the house market, it was a lone drive for me today, but I arrived in decent time to meet up with my friends from the north before the match. In fact, Norwich is one of my favourite away days of the season, so I am pleased that we will be returning next season. But after our 6th straight defeat at Carrow Road, I am struggling to think just why it's one of my faves?? It is also the home to one of my fictional comedy heroes, Alan Partridge.The signs that it could be a bad footballing day were evident before the kick off, with us watching Chelsea's win over Man United in the concourse. But all was forgotten soon after and Rangers started the game lively enough, with Blackstock and Balanta both having good chances. But soon after this, it all went wrong...
A long clearance saw Ched Evans chase through on goal, only to be caught by Lee Camp just outside the box. With Stewart chasing behind, it didn't look good for the R's keeper and the referee indeed, branded his red card - but confused everyone in the stadium by giving the marching orders, to Damion Stewart!! The fact that the R's bench had sub keeper Reece Crowther, stripped and ready to come on, spoke volumes. Following this, Rangers soon went behind - Evans fired home unmarked as the now makeshift R's defence failed to clear their lines. From here on in, there was only one team in it...
If the sending off was a strange enough decision, Gigi De Canio's decision to then remove Ainsworth and Ephraim to bring on Liegertwood and Rehman, was just baffling?!? The fans were confused and it seemed so were the players - and all this with just 8 minutes on the clock.
A wicked deflection from Fothringham's shot, wrong footed Camp and extended Norwich's lead on 56 minutes and this cruel piece of luck, probably summed up Rangers day. The fact that the travelling R's fans were joining in the celebrations by dancing away to Norwich's goal celebration song(can't remember the name of it, sorry), showed that the majority had resigned themselves to defeat and were there to enjoy the day, regardless.
It got worse for Rangers on 83 minutes, when the erratic Camp, for the second time went wandering when trying to clear, but this time got caught out by Russell who fired into an empty net from 35 yards.
QPR: Camp, Delaney, Mahon, Stewart, Mancienne, Blackstock, Ainsworth (Leigertwood 8), Rowlands, Connolly, Ephraim (Rehman 8), Balanta. Subs: Barker, Lee, Crowther.
Lofty's Man of the Match - Angelo Balanta
The footballing day got worse, with the news that Fulham had come back from 2 down to win 3-2 at Manchester City. The fact that I had one of Norwich's excellent pies knocked out of my hand and all down my shirt, just about took the biscuit. I then took comfort in a hot dog after the game, of which the brown sauce also made it's way onto my shirt front. I then gave up and headed for home...
To finish and to quote Norwich's finest, Alan Partridge on the game, it was a 'butter my arse' performance from the R's. But for Norwich, it was 'lovely stuff'! Not my words, but the words of Shakin Stevens...
QPR 1-0 Charlton
A Dexter Blackstock goal on 15 minutes, was enough for Rangers to complete their first double of the season, as well as ending Charlton's hopes of the play offs - in what was an extremely comfortable afternoon for the R's, despite the narrow scoreline.
With no PK in attendance again today, due to problems on the home front, quite literally, myself and Corp arrived at the ground in good time to see the Charlton team coach arrive and a rousing reception was given to former R's winger, Lee Cook as he stepped off. Cookie is hugely tipped for an emotional Loftus Road return in the Summer and the reception he got from the Rangers fans today, before the kick off and sadly, when he limped out of the game on the half hour, was definitely on par with the rousing reception Les Ferdinand received when he returned with Newcastle.
Onto the game and as already mentioned, this was an extremely comfortable afternoon for Rangers against, if I'm honest, a poor looking Charlton side who looked a million miles away from being play off contenders this afternoon. The only goal of the game came on 15 minutes - following early chances for Ephraim and Balanta, Dexter Blackstock managed to hassle Paddy McCarthy off the ball and then turned inside the defender before finishing cooly into the corner of the net for his 4th goal in five games.
Rangers continued to dominate and Charlton only had one real chance, but Iwelumo blasted over. But as the clock ticked on and the board went up for 4 added minutes, it got a little bit nervy. But Rangers stood firm and Mikele Leigertwood should have added a second goal for Rangers, only to fire wide in the dying seconds.
QPR: Camp, Delaney, Mahon, Stewart, Blackstock, Ainsworth (Buzsaky 51), Rowlands, Connolly, Ephraim (Leigertwood 79, Hall (Mancienne 34), Balanta. Subs: Crowther, Lee.
Lofty's Man of the Match - a few contenders this week. Martin Rowlands and Damion Stewart had outstanding games, but after another good performance and this week, the winning goal, it goes to Dexter Blackstock.
It's almost disappointing now that the season is coming to a close. This was another decent home performance and I can only hope for West Brom's sake, that their promotion/Championship is secured by the time they visit Loftus Road in two weeks time for the last game of the season.
Another Late Show...
Hull 1-1 QPR
Rangers gained a more than creditable point against a flying Hull side at the KC Stadium. But certainly not for the first time this season, the R's were denied victory with yet another late, late goal.This was always going to be a tough one for Rangers as Hull have been absolutely on fire recently and have not only stormed into the top six, but have a great chance for automatic promotion from the Championship - a league which is now known as the one that no one wants to win.
Rangers took the lead on 13 minutes in dubious circumstances, when Ephraim broke down the left, fizzed in a cross which deflected off a defender, then the keeper, then for Blackstock to bundle the ball over the line. The referee wasn't sure, along with the rado and Sky commentators - but the linesman ruled the ball over the line.
As the game went on, there were chances for both sides and it seemed that Rangers were going to hold on. But like so many times before this season, as the game ticked into injury time, the inevitable happened - Folan crossed from the right to fins an unmarked Turner, who smashed home.
QPR: Camp, Delaney, Mahon, Stewart, Mancienne, Ainsworth, Blackstock (Leigertwood 56), Rowlands, Agyemang (Balanta 81), Ephraim, Hall. Subs not used: Pickens, Lee, Connolly.
Man of the Match - Courtesy of Paul Dennison - Gavin Mahon
Well, as mentioned, it was a very creditable point for the R's against a very much in form Hull side and if you had offered me a point before the kick off, I would have bitten your hand off. But in saying that, these late goals are getting very, VERY hard to take now...
R's Leave it Late to Step on the Gaz...
QPR 2-2 Preston
Two goals in the last minute, rescued what was an unlikely point for Rangers in what was a stunning comeback, largely inspired by subsitute Gareth Ainsworth.As the season draws to a close, it all seemed a bit subdued before kick off at Loftus Road, but that could well be for the fact that on Friday, many were walking around in t-shirts, only to have to get the coats out again for a bitterly cold and damp afternoon at football.
Onto the game and the in form Preston had the better of the first half. Rangers had Lee Camp to thank yet again on a couple of occasions before Neil Mellor gave the visitors the lead on 36 minutes. Rangers were seeing plenty of the ball, but were struggling to create anything of note with the absence of Buzsaky and broken leg victim, Rowan Vine (get well soon Rowan!!) being a major factor.
Preston looked to have made the game safe on 65 minutes when when Camp failed to gather Chris Sedgwick's low cross and Priskin bundled the ball home. Although still having plenty of the play, Rangers didn't look at all like recovering and some fans started to drift away as early as the 80th minute. But in the last minute, substitute Gareth Ainsworth smashed a looping volley into the roof of the net in what was deemed to be a mere consolation for the R's.But as the board went up with 4 minutes remaining, Loftus Road roared Rangers forward and in the 3rd minute of injury time, that man again, Gareth Ainsworth, crossed from the right to find the head of the hard working Dexter Blackstock, who headed past Lonergan and Loftus Road simply went beserk!!!QPR: Camp, Mahon (Ainsworth 67), Stewart, Mancienne, Blackstock, Rowlands, Connolly, Agyemang, Ephraim (Balanta 62), Hall, Leigertwood. Subs: Barker, Pickens, Lee.
Lofty's Man of the Match - Martin Rowlands
In summary, well you have to go back a couple of weeks and when a last minute equaliser for Wolves gave us the feel of a defeat, this one certainly gave you a feeling of victory. I think even the most optimistic of R's fan would have given up on this one as the clock hit 90 minutes. In saying this, a defeat would have been harsh on Rangers so all in all, the draw was just about right on the day. But it was pleasing to see the R's character to comeback against an as mentioned, in form Preston side and the spirit and heart of Gareth Ainsworth is a credit to himself and QPR!