'Which way do we go from here
Rangers welcomed Ipswich to West London tonight in the first six pointer of the R's season in their newly found relegation battle. The Lofty Heights crew were there as always to witness the proceeedings.
An accident on the A40 delayed the arrival of a few of us this evening. My dad, Sam and I didnt arrive at the ground until 20 minutes before kick off and therefore had to miss out on a pre match pint, PK got caught in the worst of it and arrived 30minutes into the game. Corp and California Hoop were already in the ground when we got there. Lofty missed out on the game due to it being his lady friends birthday and Jenson was pre booked to see a comedy show, obvious the performances by Rangers haven't been funny enough for him.
With Mikele Leigertwood and Peter Ramage missing through suspension and Tamas Priskin unable to play due to the terms of his loan agreement there were three changes made. Damion Stewart, Hogan Ephraim and Jay Simpson returned to the starting eleven and Lee Cook was named captain in Leigertwoods absence.
Before the match a minutes silence was held as QPR's Honorary Life President Harold Winton passed away after a five year battle with cancer. Winton helped fund the purchases of players like Danny Shittu, Marc Bircham and Doudou in the early 2000's and was a true Rangers fan. Harold will be sorely missed by us all. RIP.
The less said about the first half the better really, so I'll keep it brief.
I'll sum it up in three words....... Rangers were woeful (if I could use stronger language I would).
The team lacked passion, desire, battle and the will to win. Lee Cook tried all he could to help spur the team on and along with Hogan Ephraim they looked like they were the only two that really had the will to win when their backs were against the wall.
After 7 minutes the first blow was struck. Norris' shot from outside the 18 yard box hit Gorkss' leg and looped high and over CarL Ikeme into the left hand corner. A tad fortunate but the warning signs were already there.
Marcus Bent was taken off shortly after the first goal. Apparently it was because Bent felt his hamstring tweak but he stormed straight down the tunnel once he left the field. Rowan Vine was his replacement.
Ipswich soon had an opportunity to go two up. A cross from the Ipswich right found Norris unmarked at the far post, his header was fantastically saved by Ikeme but he couldn't guide the ball to safety. The follow up by Darryl Murphy looked to be destined for the back of the net but Ikeme tipped his effort around the post.
Just before half time Ipswich grabbed a deserved second goal. Colback's low cross was met by Darryl Murphy and he made no mistake, firing past Ikeme.
The first song that come on at half time was Robert Tepper's hit from Rocky 4 "No easy way out", a song that simply sums up the next few months ahead for the long suffering R's faithful.
The first half performance was by and large the worst I have seen at Loftus Road in many years. I thought Saturday was bad but this was simply awful. Mick Harford described it as "inept" and I totally agree. Quashie for all his battle and heart just looks 2-3yards off the pace and was rightfully taken off and was replaced by Akos Buzsaky. Adel Taarabt also came on for the second half in the place of Hogan Ephraim.
The second half had already started as we were making our way back to our seats but we finally got to see something positive. A through ball found Simpson closing down on goal and he smashed in an effort towards the near post and Ipswich 'keeper Lee-Barrett beat the ball away for a Rangers' corner.
Obviously the R's got a rollocking at half time and the introduction of Taarabt gave Rangers more of a positive attacking flair that we have lacked over the last few weeks.
On 66minutes the pressure finally paid off. Buzsaky's free kick was half cleared to the edge of the area to Lee Cook. His shot was deflected high into the air but the ball fell nicely for Simpson and he fired home from 8 yards out and gave us something to cheer about.
Rangers continued to battle and actually looked to be growing in confidence as the game got older.
Ipswich fans were clearly having fun during the second half and were applauded by R's fans as they sung "sack the board" as well as then drawing some laughter as they also sung "you're grounds to big for u". Fair play to them!
Unfortunately the elusive second goal just didnt come for us but if that second half performance is replicated in our following game then hopefully our first win since boxing day will finally arrive.
Taarabt was impressive yet still frustrating but he did give the R's that little bit of the unknown that we have been lacking. Lee Cook played his heart out once again and definately looks to be wearing the shirt with pride, lets hope some of our other players follow his example. It was also nice to see Simpson back in the side and playing up front in a position that he has looked impressive in throughout the season, he's not our top goalscorer for no reason after all.
If the second half team is picked, with the exception of Vine (who I thought lacked in commitment tonight), then I will feel more confident about Saturday's game against Coventry.
All that is left is tonights Man of the Match award. After an impressive second half performance I will name Adel Taarabt as tonights man of the match. Lee Cook was only just edged to it by Adel tonight after a really good, committed and passionate showing from the Rangers' captain.
QPR: Ikeme, Stewart, Bent (Vine 10), Gorkss, Quashie (Taarabt 46), Connolly, Cook, Faurlin, Hill, Simpson, Ephraim (Buzsaky 46).
Subs not used: Balanta, Cerny, Borrowdale, German.
Goals: Simpson (66)
Bookings: Connolly (35)
Ipswich Town: Lee-Barrett, Delaney, McAuley, Peters, Garvan (Rosenior 65), Walters, Leadbitter, Norris, Colback, Murphy (Stead 85), Counago (Healy 65).
Subs not used: Murphy, Balkestein, Edwards, Quinn.
Goals: Norris (8), Murphy (38)
Bookings: Norris (64), Walters (72)
Referee: Mr F Graham
Attendance: 10, 940 (1409 Ipswich)