German bombs Rovers
Following yesterdays fantastic news that Flavio Briatore had stepped down as chairman of QPR Holdings Ltd, renewed optimism around the club inspired the Rangers faithful to believe that a first win since Boxing Day was around the corner. The Lofty Heights crew were there to enjoy a special day in W12.
The gang gathered at the Springbok for the first time in a few games for a pre-match beer and to mark the occasion I decided it was my turn to buy the drinks (I'm surprised no-one fainted!)and actually enjoy the build up whilst having a laugh and look forward to watching our beloved R's rather than dread what we were about to witness.
Mark Harford, in probably his last game in charge, made one change from last Saturday's dull 1-0 defeat at Coventry. Antonio German replaced Tamas Priskin to make his first senior start at Loftus Road.
The opening 20 minutes of the contest were pretty even between the two sides, even tho Rangers had fashioned more of the chances. Matt Connolly, playing in centre midfield once again, had an effort blocked away for a corner and Akos Buzsaky had a shot fizz over the bar. Donny's best efforts from Brian Stock, who's shot was blocked away for a corner and Elliot Ward blasted over a glorious chance from close range.
Midway through the first half we had our first goal.
Buzsaky picked up the ball before passing to Faurlin and he laid the ball out to R's captain Lee Cook on the left wing. Cook's cross was met by Simpson from just six yards out, Neil Sullivan made a fantastic save from Simpson's header but Antonio German was on hand to tap home the loose ball from a few yards out. Just the kind of confidence boost you need when making your full debut in front of the home fans.
Buoyed by the goal Rangers went on the attack soon after the restart. Cook jinked between two Donny defenders and shot on sight of goal, unfortunately he dragged his effort wide of the right hand post.
Just before the close of the first half Rangers had one more effort on goal.
Cook took the corner on the left hand side and floated over to the back post. Kaspers Gorkss thumped his header on goal but once again Sullivan made a brilliant save and this time the ball was cleared to safety.
The half time whistle was greeted to cheers for the first time in many games as the Rangers fans enjoyed a first half lead at home for the first time since...... the last time we were winning at home, it's been such an absent feeling.
The half time chat downstairs between us all was one of confusion as we didn't really have anything to moan about. Rangers were far from playing at their best but we were winning and had a clean sheet. You could also see that the goal had boosted confidence within the players on the pitch and actually saw the ball move around on the floor a lot more, it was like our Rangers' were coming back.
Due to us eagerly anticipating the restart, Jenson, California Hoop and myself made it up to our seats in time to see the kick off and the first chance of the half.
Faurlin won the ball inside the Donny half, took the ball on before unleashing an effort from a full 25 yards out, the shot went just wide of Sullivan's right post.
Hot on the heels of that came a Rangers' corner from the R's left hand side. Cook's delightful centre was met from German six yards out but he somehow put his header over the bar. The rest of the gang were making their way up the stairs at this point, had the header gone in I think a few pasties would've landed in the laps of some unsuspecting Rangers' fans.
Just two minutes later the miss proved to be costly. Sharp collected a long ball inside the R's penalty area and his centre was met by James Hayter to tap home from close range and level the game just as it looked as Rangers' were going to pull away from the visitors.
Despite the goal the R's faithful rung out cheers of encouragement, rather than the usual silence that we've heard over the past few weeks.
The goal hadn't deterred the R's and they were soon attacking Rovers at the other end. More good work from Cook on the left hand side lead to him putting in a teasing cross that somehow eluded everyone as it run along the six yard box and out for a throw in on the other wing.
Rangers were definitely in the driving seat and had another German goal chalked off for offside, which was a really close call, after a delightful cross from Buzsaky's free kick. A similar set piece caused the same problems for the Donny defence but once again the offside flag spared their blushes. However it was only a matter of time until a second goal came, and it certainly did.
Buzsaky played a delightful little ball over the top of the Rovers defence in the path of the on rushing Simpson. He let the ball bounce once before crashing a volley into the bottom corner with aplomb.
Rangers continued to create but when five minutes of added on time were announced, not only did we wonder where it all come from but the nerves started to kick in. Despite a few nervous moments either side of Taarabt doing well in wasting some time in the corner, we actually hung on and won for the first time since Boxing Day!
The second half performance certainly showed the players growing in confidence with each other. You could also see throughout the whole of the game how Antonio German was growing, he was absolutely fantastic today. He battled in the air, was holding play up and creating space for his team mates. German played a big part in the second goal and you can only applaud him for proving himself in his substitute appearances over the past month or so and forcing Mick Harford to play him ahead of the two goal shy loanees that have been bought in and were seemingly ahead of him in the pecking order. A new star was born today and I hope he continues to impress because Antonio's future definitely looks bright.
Today's Man of the Match as selected by Lofty really is a no contest, it has to go to Antonio German. Matt Connolly in centre midfield also put in another sterling performance alongside Alejandro Faurlin. Lee Cook continued his run of good form as captain and long may it continue!
QPR: Ikeme, Ramage (Taarabt 77), Stewart, Buzsaky, Gorkss, Connolly (Borrowdale 85), Cook, Faurlin, Hill, Simpson, German (Vine 90).
Subs: Cerny, Quashie, Balanta, Oastler.
Goals: German (25), Simpson (77)
Doncaster Rovers: Sullivan, O'Connor, Sharp, Chambers, Stock (Mutch 85), Hayter, Wilson (Roberts 83), Oster, Hird, Coppinger (Shiels 83), Ward.
Subs: Smith, Guy, Spicer, Dumbuya.
Goals: Hayter (51)
Referee: Mr D Whitestone
Attendance: 10, 960