Blades blunt Rangers sharp start under Warnock.
Neil Warnock took his unbeaten run as Rangers’ manager to boyhood idols Sheffield United, who haven’t lost in their last 11 games at Bramall Lane. Will the run continue?? All will be revealed over the course of the afternoon.
No Lofty Heights representation was present at the game today due to a number of reasons, work being the main cause, so I am once again writing this at home (for only the fourth time this season) as the game is being played. I’m pleased to say that the group will once again be back on the road for the short trip to Reading on Tuesday night, so hopefully I’ll have a few stories to tell there.
Neil Warnock named an unchanged side for the third game on the spin. Once again there was just one change on the bench, Angelo Balanta returning with Antonio German dropping out.
In the opening minutes Rangers’ won a corner on the far side, in the sunshine. Unfortunately Faurlin’s corner went to the back post and was cleared to safety.
Rangers’ were enjoying a nice little spell of possession and soon won yet another corner. Faurlin’s centre was momentarily cleared but once the ball was swung back in the box Jay Simpson looked destined to at least put an effort on target but unfortunately the ball was just taken off his foot and put out for a throw in.
Once again Rangers’ broke away and Priskin beat the offside trip but his first time shot was saved by Sheffield United ‘keeper Bunn.
Rangers’ really were on top in the opening ten minutes but the next chance fell to Sheffield United. Yeates beat the offside trap, much to the disgust of the Rangers’ back line, and his ball across goal was met by Henri Camara but the former Wigan hitman failed to hit the target.
Sheffield United slowly came back into the game over the next 5-10 minutes but it was Rangers’ who conjured the closest effort to date on 20 minutes when Jay Simpson’s cross eluded everyone and hit the post before being cleared to safety.
I must say the commentator for this game wasn’t exactly being very informative and on a number of occasions he couldn’t even recognise who was who, making his dialect pretty vague and definitely isn’t helping me whilst I’m writing this now. Mind you it must be said, despite his vagueness, it was still better than listening to Jim Beglin’s woeful attempts to be a co-commentator on ITV.
I must admit the next 25 minutes went by with me in a daydream and I only caught glimpses but just on the stroke of half time we had something to get excited about. After passes between Faurlin, Taarabt and Ephraim, it was the latter that had a great chance to score when he was one on one with ‘keeper Bunn but he slid the bal comfortably into the arms of the Sheffield United custodian.
Then disaster struck. Sheffield United won a corner on the stroke of half time. The corner was cleared to Mark Yeates out on the far side and his centre was found by Richard Cresswell, who has scored against us on each occasion the teams have played this season, his header found the back of the net. Terrible defending by the R’s!!
Rangers’ looked to strike back and won a number of corners before the interval but couldn’t make the most of them and it was Sheffield United, who despite being pretty much out played by Rangers’, that went in with a one goal margin.
The half time interval gave me the chance to sit back and enjoy a late lunch and also try to get opinions of R’s fans that had made the trip and managed to get hold of Michael Whelan who said “Thought we had a good first half but still can’t put the ball away. For the United goal Hogan should have stopped the cross plus there was bad marking. Simpson and Hogan should’ve scored for us with easy chances.”
Before I knew it our commentator was back online and we are back in business.
Five minutes into the game we had our second goal of the game.
Taarabt dispossessed Marcel Seip in the Sheffield United defence and took the ball on before calmly slotting the ball past Bunn and levelling the game, deservedly too!
That goal seemed to wake up the Moroccan and his box of tricks were soon to be bought on show and he regularly got fouled throughout the half from here.
The game was fiercely contested for the next 15-20 minutes as Rangers’ continued to sound like they were the better side.
The commentator’s fascination with the substitutes warming up continued, we were told about them four times during the first half, and for the second time in the half we were told about them during the second period.
A substitution then came and I quote “not for QPR but for Sheffield Wednesday” I’m sure that would’ve pleased the Blades supporters! Darius Henderson came on for James Harper.
This gave The Blades a big target to aim for which would help compliment their direct style and Henderson’s presence was soon to be felt from the following set piece but Carl Ikeme claimed the ball from the corner.
The first Rangers’ substitution came on 85 minutes. Adel Taarabt made way as Akos Buzsaky took his place.
Just after the sub it was United that broke away. Richard Cresswell attacked the left hand side and put in a delightful ball for Henderson but somehow the big striker failed to find the back of net when it seemed harder to miss the target.
A second R’s sub came just as 3 minutes added time was shown. Lee Cook came on for Hogan Ephraim.
The final whistle was blown and for the third time this season the final result was 1-1.
Once again as the game finished I managed to catch up with Michael and Gobi who were at the game and they gave the following opinions.
Michael said "Another good team performance in Warnock's first away game with the same team thats played the last three games. First half was a little scrappy with QPR shading it. Before they scored Hogan missed a very easy chance when he shot straight at Bunn. Second half was dominated by QPR and deserved the goal when Taarabt cooly shot past the impressive United 'keeper who kept them in the game. No gripes about any player except maybe Priskin, who still hasn't impressed since joining us. I would've been happy with a point before the game but feel we missed out on the chance of three."
Gobi said "I thought the result was a fair fair one. First half was pretty poor from both sides but Rangers' improved a lot in the second half and could've snatched the win. We were well worth the point that we gained." I must admit thats that short version from our phone call but Gobi did reserve praise for most of the team with the except of Matt Hill and Priskin.
Todays Man of the Match has been selected by Michael and Gobi. After close analysis by the two the final vote has been split and is shared between Alejandro Faurlin and Adel Taarabt.
Sheffield United: Bunn, Montgomery, Morgan, Nosworthy, Yeates (Little 84), Harper (Henderson 68), Cresswell, Stewart, Seip, Quinn, Camara.
Subs: Bennett, Taylor, Fortune, Lowton.
Goals: Cresswell (44)
QPR: Ikeme, Stewart, Leigertwood, Gorkss, Connolly, Faurlin, Hill, Simpson, Ephraim (Cook 90), Priskin, Taarabt (Buzsaky 87).
Subs: Ramage, Vine, Balanta, Cerny, Borrowdale.
Goals: Taarabt (49)
Referee: Mr A Bates
Attendance: 23, 456