Lofty Heights... 'Ohhh Bobby Zamooooora!!!'

A look at Queens Park Rangers F.C. through the eyes of the fans - follow us on twitter @loftyheights70, @LoftyQPR and @qprleeroy

Sunday, November 30, 2008

QPR Draw Burnley in FA Cup...

QPR have been drawn at home against fellow Championship side, Burnley in the F.A. Cup Third Round.

I guess we all had our personal choices of who we wanted and where - personally I fancied Arsenal or Man City away. But, if I am honest and with respect of course, I am slightly disappointed with this one. However, we are at home so it can't be all bad.

The tie will be played during the weekend commencing Saturday 3rd January 2009.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Away Drought Continues, But R's Clip the Eagles Wings...

Crystal Palace 0-0 QPR

QPR continue to struggle in front of goal on their travels, but gained a creditable point with a battling performance at Selhurst Park.


Well, before I go on with the report and make my comments on what an encouraging, hard fought display this was from the R's, I am still wondering just how Heidar Helguson managed to miss an open goal from 16 yards out?!? I also am still finding it quite hard to accept, that I actually thought that referee Rob Styles had a very decent game!! - there, I have said it!

Despite being a London Derby, Palace away is one of my least favourite fixtures, mainly because despite being just across the river, we can get too and from a great deal more away games outside of London a lot quicker and I eventually arrived back at Lofty Towers just before 8pm. The over zealous stewarding outside the away end hardly made us feel welcome on our arrival either.

Anyway, onto the game and after an even first half, Heidar Helguson came off the bench in place of the yet again, inneffective Daniel Parejo, to make his R's debut and it was almost a dream start for the striker. With keeper Speroni advancing to clear, Agyemang managed to poke the ball into Helguson's path with the keeper stranded. But with his first touch of the ball since coming on, the Icelander somehow managed to sidefoot the ball wide with the goal gaping! Both sides had decent spells of possession, but Palace nearly broke Rangers hearts in stoppage time, but a superb save from Radek Cerny denied Craig Beattie.


QPR: Cerny, Delaney, Stewart, Mahon, Leigertwood, Parejo (Helguson 46), Blackstock (Rowlands 57), Agyemang (Di Carmine 90), Gorkss, Ramage, Ephraim Subs: Cole, Borrowdale.


Lofty's Man of the Match - Kaspers Gorkss - an awesome performance at the back for QPR!

In summary, this was a decent point and a decent hard working performance from the R's and a million miles away from the shambles at Vicarage Road last week. Some decent performances throught, namely Gorkss, Cerny, Liegertwood, Ephraim, Agyemang and despite the miss, Helguson. Once again, forgettable from Parejo, which brings me onto a comment heard from a young lad sitting behind me, about 6 years old I would think, saying to his Dad - 'why don't we send him back to Spain?' - The Wisdom of Children!

Rangers face runaway leaders Wolves at LR next week, live on Sky, but before that is the F.A.Cup Third Round Draw. A big away day or a decent cup run? Can't quite decide, we shall see...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Welcome Heidar Helguson Part II...

Following all the confusion and rumours last week, QPR have today announced the loan signing of Bolton striker, Heider Helguson on an initial one month deal.

The 31 year old will go into Paulo Sousa's squad to face Crystal Palace on Saturday.


Welcome Gary Borrowdale...

QPR have today confirmed the loan signing of Coventry City left back Gary Borrowdale.

The 23 year-old has signed a deal until the 31st December 2008, and is in strong contention to make his R's debut against former Club, Crystal Palace, on Saturday.


Blackstock and Two Smokin Barrels...

QPR 2-1 Charlton

QPR got back to winning ways as a brace from Dexter Blackstock secured a 2-1 win over Charlton at a very cold Loftus Road last night - The match was dedicated to the memory of Kiyan Prince and The Kiyan Prince Foundation - Kiyan would have been celebrating his 18th birthday. Prince, a former QPR player, was tragically stabbed to death at the age of 15 following an altercation with another student outside the gates of the London Academy in Edgware in May 2006.


Following the debacle at Watford at the weekend, the mood was somewhat downbeat and subdued around Loftus Road before kick off. There were only probably two positive people amongst the gang before kick off, one who was Glenn, a Spurs fan and guest for the night - why he would want to come and watch QPR with the upturn in fortunes at White Hart Lane, surprised everyone - and Corp, of who we met briefly before the game who had enjoyed more Corporate Hospitality. He had great pleasure in describing his excellent meal after we had just paid a visit to the fish shop. PK unfortunately, got home from work too late too attend and listened in the warmth of his home.

Onto the game and after the presentation of Paulo Sousa to the home supporters, it took a while to get going, but on 17 minutes, Damiano Tomassi fired in a low cross from the left which found Blackstock unmarked seven yards out, the striker made no mistake to claim his eighth goal of the season. If the Charlton defending was bad enough for the goal, the R's more than made up for it on 30 minutes when Therry Racon arrived unmarked to slide home Hameur Bouazza's fiercely driven cross.

The second half was a more lively affair and Sousa had introduced Patrick Agyemang in place of Di Carmine, but it was Charlton who made the more encouraging start. Rangers had decent 20 minutes spell but it was Charlton who were looking the more likely in front of goal and nearly snatched the lead with 15 minutes remaining when skipper Mark Hudson glanced debutant Keith Gillespie's cross narrowly wide.But this miss was to prove costly, as moments later QPR broke up the other end and Hogan Ephraim crossed for Blackstock, who steered a fantastic header into the top corner. Blackstock should have had his hat trick as minutes later, Ephraim's pin-point cross picked out Blackstock, but this time he could only head the ball agonisingly wide.

QPR: Cerny, Delaney, Stewart, Leigertwood, Parejo (Ledesma 73), Blackstock, Gorkss, Ramage, Tommasi (Mahon 61), Di Carmine (Agyemang 46), Ephraim. Subs: Cole, Oastler.

Lofty's Man of the Match - despite two good goals and an very hard working performance from Blackstock, the award goes to Patrick Agyemang who made a massive impact up front when he came on for the second half.

Well, in summary, this was not the best performance by any means but it was a massive improvement on the disgrace at Watford and you have to say, that a win is a win and it was three very welcome points. Let's not forget that we were also without Fitz Hall, Lee Cook, Martin Rowlands, Matt Connolly and long term absentees, Akos Buszaky and Rowan Vine. Personally, I was very disappointed AGAIN, with Daniel Parejo, who's theatrics were not only annoying last night, but extremely unconvincing. There is a great player in there somewhere, let's just hope we get to see it soon.

And finally, for those who sit in the Loftus Road Stand, I can highly recommend the soup sold at the bagel bar, which used to be the Ladbrokes booth in the Lower Loft - SUPERB!! - and definitely just the job on a very cold night!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

QPR Project Well and Truly Stung by Hornets...

Watford 3-0 QPR 'Project'

I am ashamed to say, that Watford easily brushed aside a disjointed and disinterested QPR at Vicarage Road in Paulo Sousa's first game in charge.


What with the developments at Loftus Road this week, the mood was extremely upbeat and the much mentioned, new manager syndrome, would surely come into effect with the players going all out to impress their new boss. Sadly, someone forgot to tell QPR this and after the much publicised Paulo Sousa interviews this week, where he has been demanding hard work, ambition and loyalty, else they have no part in this 'project' - there must be a good few QPR players who will be fearing for their jobs after this performance.

After reading the various reports since I have been home, the Official QPR site have obviously tried to sugar coat this defeat a bit by stating that Sousa watched from the stands today and left managerial duties to Gareth Ainsworth, seeing as though he has only been here for 2 days. What it doesn't do is make this any better as today's performance was totally unnacceptable and our worst of the season by a long way.

Tommy Smith set the home side on their way from the penalty spot in the 26th minute after he was adjudged to have been barged in the back by Mikele Liegertwood. It looked a soft penalty, it was a soft penalty and extremely harsh of the referee to award. In fairness, the Watford players didn't appeal for it and everyone in the stadium seemed genuinely stunned when it was awarded.


If that wasn't bad enough, the Rangers backline were at fault for Watford's second eight minutes later. Lee Williamson's fine 25-yard free-kick rebounded off the post, but their failure to react to the loose ball allowed Jon Harley to cross the ball back in for Darren Ward to score. On the stroke of half time, the game was over, as Smith robbed Leigertwood in the left back area and pulled the ball back for Williamson to fire a shot that creot under Radek Cerny.

At this point, I nearly went home and I certainly would not have been alone as many disgusted R's fans made for the exit. But I was talked into staying by PK and also, the hope that Rangers would come out and give it a real go as there was nothing to lose. This would be the case, surely...

It didn't happen and I have to be honest, if I were a Watford fan, I would be very disappointed that my team didn't get 5 or 6 today. To make matters worse, Fitz Hall was given a straight red card with 10 minutes to go. I am afraid I cannot offer any comment regarding this as I had long left the stadium by this time. I cannot remember the last time I had left before the end of a QPR game and also, when I had readily joined in with a chorus of 'what a load of rubbish', but that I did and I don't regret doing so.

QPR: Cerny, Delaney, Stewart, Mahon (Tommasi 46), Hall, Leigertwood, Blackstock (Di Carmine 63), Agyemang, Ramage, Ledesma (Parejo 53), Ephraim. Subs: Cole, Gorkss.

Lofty's Man of the Match - you are seriously, having a laugh!! N/A

I must admit, that when I first heard this midweek, it went over my head somewhat. But to continually hear Queens Park Rangers referred to as a 'project' rather than a Football Club by the owners and now, the Management, is great cause for concern - as was vented loudly by the R's following at Vicarage Road today. But what concerns me more, is that this performance 'could' be the players protesting at an absolute joke that Flavio Briatore is turning our Club into...

That folks, is all for now...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Welcome Heidar Helguson...

QPR have today announced the loan signing of Bolton striker, Heider Helguson on an initial two month deal.

The 31 year old will go straight into Paulo Sousa's first squad to face one of his former clubs, Watford on Saturday. Helguson, who has made over 40 International appearances for Iceland, scored the only goal of the game for his country against Malta last night.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Welcome Paulo Sousa...

QPR have today named former Portugal midfielder Paulo Sousa as their new first-team coach.

Sousa, who was assistant coach to Luis Felipe Scolari with the Portuguese national team, has signed a two-and-a-half-year contract. The 38-year-old played 51 times for his country and had spells with Benfica, Sporting Lisbon, Juventus, Inter Milan, Parma and Borussia Dortmund.

Sousa told QPR's website:
"It is an honour to be part of this project.

"I have always wanted to work for a big club and I am very excited about the opportunity to work for Queens Park Rangers.

"I have great belief in my ideas and my coaching ability and I firmly believe I can achieve the objectives set by the management.

"I believe in playing positive, attacking football and am looking forward to the challenge that lies ahead."

Gareth Ainsworth, who had been in caretaker charge, will stay on as part of Sousa's backroom team.

Sousa has never managed a senior team at any level, let alone in England, and his appointment while high profile represents a significant risk for QPR. Let's hope the owners will at the very least, give him a chance...


Saturday, November 15, 2008

No Cup Hangover for the Clarets as QPR Crash and Burn...

QPR 1-2 Burnley

Burnley came from behind to win 2-1 at Loftus Road, Dexter Blackstock had opened the scoring for the R's on 14 minutes. Both sides were fresh from their midweek Carling Cup expolits, but there was no cup hangover for the Clarets who in truth, deserved their victory.


Maybe people were still recovering from their trips to Old Trafford midweek, but it all seemed a bit subdued around the ground before kick off. The news also that Akos Buzsaky will miss the rest of the season would have also contributed to that somewhat, I'm sure.

Onto the game and Rangers started superbly and went ahead on 13 minutes, when Dexter Blackstock collected Lee Cook's pass and fired into the bottom corner of the net from ten yards. Blackstock then had a header from Hogan Ephraim's corner tipped over by keeperJensen, who also saved a long-range shot from Martin Rowlands. Cook fired over with a sweet volley as the R's continued to dominate, but Burnley equalised against the run of play on 34 minutes - Gudjonsson's pass found Robbie Blake unmarked and was given time and space to shoot into the top corner past Radek Cerny and from there on in, Rangers lost their way.

Burnley continued to put Rangers under pressure in the second half but Rangers responded and had strong appeals for a penalty waved away after Blackstock was brought down by former QPR defender Clarke Carlisle. But on 59 minutes, Burnley were ahead as Mahon smashed home from the edge of the penalty area when Blake's cross was poorly cleared by Fitz Hall.

You could tell it just wasn't going to be Rangers day, when referee, waved away what looked like another stonewall penalty as Blackstock was again brought down, this one looked even more convincing than the first.

QPR: Cerny, Stewart, Hall, Blackstock, Rowlands, Ramage, Connolly (Delaney 46), Cook, Tommasi (Mahon 52), Di Carmine, Ephraim (Agyemang 62). Subs: Cole, Agyemang, Ledesma.

Lofty's Man of the Match - Radek Cerny

Well, another disappointing result and dare I say, performance, but take nothing away from Burnley who are on a great run and in my opinion, are the best side I have seen at Loftus Road this season. But as the weeks go by, Rangers lack of firepower becomes more and more of an issue and the decision this week to let Angelo Balanta and Romone Rose go out on loan, is just baffling? I only hope that there is something in the pipeline to back these decisions up?

I will finish today with yet again, referees being in the news in the past week for various reasons and the 'respect' campaign that is being forced down our throats more and more. But how on earth, are you supposed to respect officials like Stuart Attwell and the complete fool we had today??? I ask you?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

United We Fall as QPR Pay the Penalty...

Manchester United 1-0 QPR

Despite a battling performance, QPR went out of the Carling Cup as a 73rd minute penalty from Carlos Tevez was enough to see United through.


Before I go on, may I just apologise for the lateness of this report. But those who travelled by road to and from Manchester, will know that someone, somewhere, in their wisdom, decided to close a great chunk of the M6 for roadworks! Did they not realise there was a football match on and the majority of fans will be heading back south after the game - sorry, couldn't resist that one! Anyway, it meant that I didn't arrive back here at Lofty Towers until almost 5am. But in saying that, myself, PK and then Henley contingent had great fun in the car, assisted by a wonderful ipod playlist of 'cheese' compiled by Lee. But the tiredness was already creeping in at this time, with PK spotting former R's Chairman, Gino Paladooni also sitting in the traffic ;o) - a thought also goes out to our illustrious driver, after the late finish, PK more or less got home, got changed and went straight out to work, sleepless!


Previously, the journey up wasn't at all bad and we arrived in plenty of time to park, have something to eat and then take it what is an awesome, Old Trafford - a ground that I have always loved coming too as it is just full of history. But, seeing as I had taken a day off, I had a brief visit to the gym in the morning, but really needn't have bothered, as the umpteen flights of stairs leading up to our seats in the away section, would have tested even the most fittest of people!

Onto the game and I really didn't think for one minute I would be sitting here at any point, disappointed in defeat at the home of the Premier League and European Champions. But to go out to what some say was a dubious penalty, was harsh. I have seen the replay and in truth, am still undecided, but Man United are always going to get these decisions, especially in front of the Stretford End.


The other disappointment being, was that we really had a go at United after that, looked dangerous and with any luck, could have got something out of the game. Rangers substitute Samuel Di Carmine did have the ball in the net and sent the 7,000 R's fans into raptures with minutes remaining, but sadly, it was chalked off for offside.


Rangers could and perhaps, should have equalised deep into injury time - Emmanuel Ledesma shooting narrowly wide from 12 yards when well placed to leave United breathing a sigh of relief.


QPR: Cerny, Stewart, Mahon, Hall, Parejo (Ledesma 46), Blackstock, Buzsaky (Agyemang 37), Rowlands, Ramage, Connolly, Cook (Di Carmine 78). Subs: Cole, Delaney, Gorkss, Ephraim.

Lofty's Man of the Match - awesome performances from Hall, Stewart, Mahon and Rowlands, but there is no doubt this award goes to R's keeper, Radek Cerny for an almost perfect display of goalkeeping.

In summary, despite dominating, a penalty was probably the only way United were going to score. Defensively, QPR were outstanding, with, as mentioned, superb performances from Hall and Stewart and likewise, Rowlands and Mahon in midfield. Sadly, it was what is becoming the same old story at the other end and until the last ten minutes, we offered very little threat.

However, there was plenty to be proud off and on other day, the Ledesma shot sneaks into the corner and we would go into extra time. With the game Cerny had, United certainly would not have fancied the penalties!

Finally, we couldn't leave Old Trafford without having a look around the Manchester United Megastore and much fun was had by all, before we set off on our unexpected marathon journey...

Come on You R'sssss!!!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Gavin The Main Ma'ho'n as QPR Beat Cardiff...

QPR 1-0 Cardiff

A goal from substitute, Gavin Mahon ten minutes from time, gave the R's victory over previosly undeafeted on their travels, Cardiff, who ended the game with just nine men.


Sadly, as always when Cardiff come to town, the police were out in force which may have made it uncomfortable for some outside the stadium, but the pre match entertainment today came at the Springbok pub where a certain purchase of mine at Ipswich last week, was yet again a topic of conversation. With that,also came some, let's just say, healthy banter exhanged between supporters as an escorted group of Cardiff fans were marched past the pub at about 2.30.

Moving onto the game and during an easily forgettable first half, Darren Purse was given a straight red card for a quite awful challenge on Lee Cook. Before then, in truth, Cardiff were having slightly the better of things and Rangers rarely threatened, as was the case for the remainder of the half.

Onto the second, Rangers were still struggling to make the extra man count, until some inspired substitutions from Gareth Ainsworth, swung the game in Rangers favour with Buzsaky, Mahon and Agyemang all joining the game. Buzsaky had a 30-yard drive pushed away by Cardiff keeper Tom Heaton and Cardiff looked like securing a deserved draw when Agyemang, although offside, fired the rebound wide.

But on 80 minutes, the R's finally made the breakthrough when Peter Ramage delivered a superb cross from the right for Gavin Mahon, who rose to head home superbly.Things got worse for Cardiff three minutes from time, when the annoying Comminges received his second booking in as many minutes for dissent, and was given his marching orders. But despite being down to nine men, Cerny produced a last-gasp save to keep out Roger Johnson's header in stoppage time.

QPR: Cerny, Stewart, Hall, Blackstock, Rowlands, Ramage, Connolly, Cook, Tommasi (Mahon 67), Ledesma (Buzsaky 55), Di Carmine (Agyemang 71). Subs: Cole, Delaney.

Lofty's Man of the Match - Matthew Connolly. Credit also to Peter Ramage who had his best game in a QPR shirt to date.

In summary, this was by no means the best game in the world, but a great result for QPR and indeed, Gareth Ainsworth. As mentioned, Cardiff were unbeaten away from home until today and next week, we have another home game against another top six side, as Burnley visit Loftus Road. But in between, we have the small matter of Manchester United away in the Carling Cup on Tuesday night!

Come on You R'sssssssssss!!!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

R's Halted By Tractors...

Ipswich 2-0 QPR

An inspired second half substitution saw Ipswich end QPR's 4 match unbeaten run, with Jon Stead coming off the bench to score twice in three minutes to give the home side victory.

Technical issues at Lofty Towers have meant yet again that it has been tricky getting this report on line and apologies also for no pictures just yet, but the situation will be resolved very soon and normal service will be resumed in good time for next Saturday's clash with Cardiff.

Following the excellent result over Birmingham, myself, PK, Sam and Justin were all in confident and upbeat mood during the easy journey to Portman Road, despite, yet again, quite diabolical weather conditions and on arrival, managed to successfully sneak past four burley bouncers to get into a home fans only pub where the Everton/Fulham game, Madness on the dukebox and a fruit machine kept us entertained before we left to brave the elements once again.

Onto the game and with changes aplenty yet again, Rangers dominated the first half and hit the bar through Lee Cook's free-kick before Town keeper Richard Wright superbly denied Martin Rowlands and later in the half Daniel Parejo. Despite a half time interval dominated by the heavy handed behaviour of the Ispwich stewards (of which I will not go into), the feeling was still good and that Ipswich were definitely there for the taking.

But disappointingly, it was Ipswich improved after the break and to be fair to them, they had a real go. Rangers had to good chances to take the lead before Stead came off the bench and made an instant impact - heading home Gareth McAuley's cross at the second attempt, before nodding in his second from Owen Garvan's corner.

QPR: Cerny, Delaney, Stewart, Hall, Parejo, Buzsaky (Ledesma 68), Rowlands, Connolly, Cook, Tommasi, Di Carmine (Blackstock 58). Subs: Cole, Mahon, Gorkss

Lofty's Man of the Match - Damion Stewart

In summary, yes, it was a disappointing result after the previous two games but you couldn't fault the commitment and effort from the team and after all, Ispwich arw a team that are very much in good form. Perhaps we could have gone 4-4-2 after the break and had a real go at Ipswich, but I'm hardly going to have a go at the tactics or indeed, Gareth Ainsworth in what is a difficult time for the club. It was just one of those games.

But to finish, we managed to catch a brief chat, albeit across cars with one of the R's players, who with respect to him, will remain unnamed - but his reaction when asked about why he wasn't playing and inevitably, who is picking the team at the moment(or words to that effect), spoke absolute volumes and it would NOT surprise me at all, to see a certain someone driving one of his Renault's himself in the Brazilian Grand Prix later...