Credit where credits due........
In the second televised game of the week Rangers this time played host to Leicester in the attempt to complete a memorable month of results for the team.
It was the turn of the Sky cameras to come down and witness the impressive flowing football that has been on display and even graced our screens on the BBC only last Saturday, usually when we are in good form and Sky come sniffing the form goes out the window and the run down the drain. Would tonight be any different?
The Lofty Heights crew had a night out planned after the game so we all arrived looking a little smarter than usual and congregated at the Springbok before the game for the usual pre-match pint and keenly look forward to the 90 minutes ahead and the night’s activities after the game.
One change was made to the team that won at Derby last Saturday. Gavin Mahon picked up an injury in training on Thursday so Mikele Leigertwood took over in centre midfield and also took the captains armband.
With the TV cameras in attendance all the stops were pulled out of the bag. As the team entered the pitch we were treated to some fireworks and big flames. They coupled with some free plastic rattles that were handed out in the pre-match build up were what the 17,000 plus crowd that made the most of the excellent ticket promotion by the club for a Friday night fixture live on TV.
The game started off really lively with both teams creating chances from the offset. After some good passing from Ramage, Buzsaky and Simpson it left Simpson in a promising position and he fired in a shot from a tight angle which was smothered by Leicester ‘keeper Weale.
Leicester didn’t come to W12 to become another victim of the Rangers free scoring bandwagon. They too were creating chances, but not only that they looked to have a game plan that involved pressuring the home side deep in the R’s midfield and defence that would effectively stop the crisp play that we have been used to seeing over the last month or so.
The ball soon found its way into the net.
Livewire Danny N’Guessan left Ramage for pace and slipped a delightful ball between the defence and Cerny and Matty Fryatt slid in to neatly turn the ball past the R’s ‘keeper. Luckily for Rangers Fryatt was adjudged to of been in an offside position, even though from where I was sitting it looked onside to me.
Shortly after this Faurlin nearly took full advantage of the let off by curling a free kick towards the top left hand corner but saw his effort superbly saved by Weale, much to the Argentinean’s frustration.
We soon had our opening goal of the evening.
Taarabt tried threading in Simpson with a through ball but the ball bounced back off a Leicester defender and fell invitingly to Taarabt near the penalty spot and he slotted home into the bottom left hand corner.
Shortly after the first goal it could’ve been 2-0. It was Taarabt once again with a driven effort but it went just wide of the right hand post.
Four minutes after the opening goal we had our second goal of the evening.
Danny N’Guessan once again provided the threat down the Rangers right hand side and his cross was met by Fryatt, who had the easy job of nodding home from three yards out.
The Rangers defending was poor to say the very least and made it far too easy.
Half time descended on us we for once paid attention to the pitch and the penalty shoot out. The reason we done this was because one of our friends, Jill, was taking a penalty in the half time competition. Having seen a very good penalty being saved previously it was Jill’s turn to step up and have a blast. Her effort was straight at the ‘keeper but was a good effort from someone that was as nervous as she was.
The half time talk with the gang constituted of us just admitting that we were up against an extremely good, well organised side and we really were up against it. Nothing else could be said, criticizing wouldn’t achieve anything we were just playing a team that had done their homework on us.
The second half showed us more of the same, a Leicester side that pressured us high up and that suffocated the supply to our lethal four at the business end of the pitch. It was also evident to see that we were missing Gavin ‘The Goal Machine’ Mahon in the centre of midfield with his hustling technique and bulldog sprit.
The second half was very much Leicester’s for the taking and unfortunately the chance to take the game was handed to them on a plate. From a goal kick Cerny opted to play a short pass to a Ramage that was running away from goal which made it easy for Fryatt to intercept the pass and advance 1 on 1 with Cerny. With still a lot to do to score Fryatt did put away his effort very neatly. It was far from easy to score from the angle he was at but he did do it well.
From there it was an increasing uphill battle for Rangers and the chances to grab an all important equalizer were few and far between but when one did fall, what a chance it was!
Routledge done exceptionally well down the right hand side and centred the ball for Buzsaky. Buz usually hits the target from 10 yards out but this time his effort went high and wide. It was at this point you could just sense it wasn’t going to be our night.
Leicester played the game out to secure themselves a very well earned three points. They had done their homework and executed a perfect game plan, my hat goes off to them.
(Thanks to Sophie McEvoy for the photo)
QPR: Cerny, Ramage (Vine 67), Stewart (Hall 55), Leigertwood, Routledge, Buzsaky, Gorkss, Faurlin, Simpson, Borrowdale, Taarabt (Agyemang 86).
Subs not used: Heaton, Alberti, Ainsworth, Parker.
Goals: Taarabt (33)
Leicester City: Weale, Neilson, Brown, Oakley, King, Fryatt (Gallagher 75), Berner, N'Guessan, Waghorn (McGivern 90), Wellens, Hobbs.
Subs not used: Logan, Morrison, Howard, Dyer, Kermorgant.
Goals: Fryatt (37 & 64)
Bookings: Neilson (73), N'Guessan (81), Oakley (88)
Attendance: 17, 082
Walking away from Loftus Road I can’t say I was disappointed, Leicester were just better prepared and had the hunger to chase for the whole 90 minutes and test our team for the duration of the game.
To criticize individuals would be harsh, although it was evident one or two were not at the races today and they were substituted during the course of the game, with the exception of Taarabt. The run we have been on has been fantastic and had to come to an end at some point, to be fair I’m glad it was against a team like Leicester that fully deserved the victory and not against a team that got lucky.
We move onto Man of the Match. It has once again been pretty hard to pick. Wayne Routledge took a while to get into the game but once he did he proved to be a threat. Gary Borrowdale hardly put a foot wrong compared to the rest of the defence and despite the mix up leading to the winning goal Radek Cerny done well. But for the first half performance put in by this man and his efforts and eventual goal the Man of the Match, as selected by Lofty, has to go to Adel Taarabt.
We then headed into the Bush after the game to enjoy a few beers, except me as I was driving. After enjoying a few pints in The Green we decided to move on to a different pub and despite the time only being midnight we found ourselves without any options as every pub was closing up. It was very strange for every pub in the area to close up at 12-12.30 so we had no choice but to call it a night and head for home. A disappointing end to the evening but nothing always goes the way you expect it to sometimes.